From The Alpha and the Omega - Chapter Eight
by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved

    This file is attached to from “Beast That Came Out Of The Sea” - Chapter Eight by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved.
    This link will return you to King Of The West 2019 for February or continue to King Of The West 2019 April.



3/1/2019 Oil up $0.28 to $57.22, DOW down to 25,916.

3/1/2019 Bill to save infants after failed abortions advances by Deborah Yetter, Louisville Courier Journal USA TODAY NETWORK
    FRANKFORT – A bill that would require physicians and other health workers to do everything possible to save the life of an infant born alive after a failed abortion attempt passed the Senate Thursday on a vote of 32-0 and now moves to the House.
    Earlier Thursday, Senate Bill 227 won quick approval from the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee on a unanimous vote after it was presented by sponsor Sen. Whitney Westerfield, a Hopkinsville Republican.
    “Surely, there can be no debate that life exists at birth and we should do what we can to protect those children,” Westerfield said.
    No one spoke in opposition at the committee meeting.    The only woman on the panel, Sen. Denise Harper Angel, a Louisville Democrat who has questioned other abortion legislation before the committee, was absent.
    But in a statement, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood for Kentucky and Indiana called the measure “inflammatory political rhetoric” designed to address a problem that doesn’t exist.
    “There is no such thing as an abortion up until birth — this is inflammatory political rhetoric and simply untrue,” said Tamarra Wieder, public affairs and policy director for the organization.
    Westerfield said his bill is similar to the “Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” which failed in the U.S. Senate earlier this week.
    It was supported by Kentucky’s senior Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader, who called it a “straightforward piece of legislation to protect newborn babies.”
    But it drew fire from medical groups and abortion rights supporters who said such incidents are extremely rare and generally occur only in emergency situations where the mother’s life is at stake or a fetus is too severely deformed to survive.
    “This legislation is based on lies and a misinformation campaign, aimed at shaming women and criminalizing doctors for a practice that doesn’t exist in medicine or reality.”    Dr. Leana Wen, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement reported by the Washington Post.
    Westerfield said he isn’t aware of any such incidents of an infant born alive in Kentucky from a failed abortion.
State law bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and a fetus isn’t considered viable until about 24 weeks of gestation.     “I can’t say I’ve seen or heard of accounts of it happening in Kentucky,” he said.
    But Westerfield said he has heard anecdotal accounts of such occurrences around the country and believes Kentucky should have a law addressing potential situations.    Kentucky is one of 24 states without such a law, he said, SB 227 would make it a felony for any health provider not to do everything possible to save an infant born after a failed abortion.
    That would include doctors, nurses or anyone else involved in the procedure, Westerfield said.
    “It that child’s alive, they’ve got to provide care,” Westerfield said.
    Senate Bill 227 is among six bills pending in the current legislative session designed to restrict, eliminate, or otherwise regulate abortion.
    It now goes to the House.
    “I can’t say I’ve seen or heard of accounts of it happening in Kentucky.” Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, who sponsored the bill, on being unaware of any infant born alive in Kentucky from a failed abortion, though he says he has heard anecdotal accounts of such occurrences around the country and believes Kentucky should have a law addressing potential situations.

3/1/2019 House OKs longer period on gun checks by Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – For the second day in a row Thursday, the Democrat led House passed legislation toughening the background check system for gun purchases.
    The bill, approved on a largely party- line vote of 228 to 198, would increase from three days to at least 10 the number of days a seller has to wait for a response from the system before transferring a firearm.
    But like the bill the House passed Wednesday to extend background checks to private transactions at gun shows and over the internet, Thursday’s bill is unlikely to be voted on by the Republican-controlled Senate.    President Donald Trump has threatened to veto both bills.
    Nonetheless, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said before the vote that people want lawmakers to take action to try to reduce mass shootings.
    “I think the public is tired of moments of silence in times of mass murders and high-profile tragedies,” she said.
    The vote was held on the 25th anniversary of federal background checks going into effect to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.
[More attacks on our Second Amendment rights as this will lead that if you are criminal or mentally ill your spouse or family will not be able to have a gun in your household.].

    The U.S. economy last year matched its best performance since the Great Recession of 2007-09.    The nation’s gross domestic product increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.6 percent in the October to December period, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Economists had expected a 2.2 percent gain.

3/1/2019 President Trump: Cohen ‘love letter’ book is perjury on a scale not seen before by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump is back in Washington and he isn’t holding back criticism on his former attorney Michael Cohen, who publicly bashed the president during a hearing on Capitol Hill this week.
    In a series of tweets Friday morning, the president said Cohen was working on a manuscript for a book he was pushing.
    Trump tweet: “Wow, just revealed that Michael Cohen wrote a “love letter to Trump” manuscript for a new book that he was pushing. Written and submitted long after Charlottesville and Helsinki, his phony reasons for going rogue. Book is exact opposite of his fake testimony, which now is a lie!
    President Trump suggested Congress demand a transcript of the book.    He said it’s filled with contradictions to his recent testimony, and shows Cohen committed perjury on a scale not seen before.
    Trump tweet: “Michael Cohen’s book manuscript shows that he committed perjury on a scale not seen before. He must have forgotten about his book when he testified. What does Hillary Clinton’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, say about this one. Is he being paid by Crooked Hillary. Using her lawyer?
    Recent reports claimed Cohen had shopped a presumably pro-Trump book prior to his legal troubles titled "Trump Revolution: From the Tower to the White House.”
    Some industry experts believe Cohen could get around seven figures out of a possible future book deal.
FILE – President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen arrives at his hotel in New York City, May 9, 2018. (Photo/Reuters)

3/1/2019 Pompeo: North Korea not clear on scope of closing Yongbyon nuclear facility by OAN Newsroom
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is shedding even more light on the abrupt ending to the second summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
    During a conference in the Philippines Friday, Pompeo reaffirmed North Korea wanted full sanctions relief, but “lacked clarity” on what it was ready to do in order to dismantle the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center.
    The facility is the only known source of plutonium for the north’s nuclear weapons program, which Pyongyang has promised and failed to shut down several times in the past.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gestures while answering questions during their joint news conference with Philippine Foreign
Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. in suburban Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines Friday, March 1, 2019. Pompeo is
in the country for talks on the two countries’ relations as well as the mutual defense treaty. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
    “They were pretty expansive with respect to what they are prepared to do at Yongbyon, but there was still not complete clarity with respect to full scope of what it is they were prepared to offer,” explained Pompeo.    “It’s one of the reasons I hope we can get back, so we can put some definition around that.”     The U.S. secretary of state said the U.S. remains anxious to get back to the negotiating table to continue the next round of denuclearization talks.

3/1/2019 Rep. Ilhan Omar accuses pro-Israel Americans of allegiance to a foreign country by OAN Newsroom
Democrat Ilhan Omar speaks in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Hannah Foslien)
    Freshman U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar is finding herself at the end of even more political backlash after she accused pro-Israel Americans of having an allegiance to another country.
    According to reports Thursday, Omar spoke to an audience in a Washington, D.C. cafe, where .
    Omar then claimed her critiques on Israel are labeled anti-Semitic, because she is Muslim.
    However, accusing the Jewish community of having foreign ties has been used throughout history to deny their participation in the political system.
    This comes just weeks after she faced a wave of criticism for posting several anti-Semitic tweets.
[Israel is a friend to the U.S. who contends that we are both associated with faith in the same God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.    So that will never change because of you Omar, and your heritage use to be with the same God, until 600 A.D. when Mohammed told everybody to believe in another God.
    In Islam, God (Arabic: Allah) is the God, the absolute one, all-powerful and all-knowing ruler of the universe, and the creator of everything in existence, strictly singular, unique, inherently One, all-merciful and omnipotent, neither a material nor a spiritual being.    In Islam, there are 99 known names of God each of which evokes a distinct attribute of God.    Creation and ordering of the universe is seen as an act of prime mercy for which all creatures praise God's attributes and bear witness to God's unity.    Therefore we all had the same God from the beginning.
    It was the same until 600 A.D. that a creation of revelations given to a self-proclaimed prophet a man named Muhammad that created a new God, in the Hadith Qudsi, which Muslims and the Quran were changed as "direct words of God."    Can you even see that the first was spiritual but the second was man made.    My present belief has the son of God, which is Jesus Christ, and I think Mohammed created a violent, hateful Allah to guide your transgressions to compete with that, which is Christianity and anit-semitism

3/1/2019 Maduro takes 8 tons of gold from Central Bank without permission by OAN Newsroom
    As Venezuelan authorities harden roadblocks along the border between Venezuela and Colombia, several citizens are still determined to find a way to get humanitarian aid.    On Thursday, dozens of Venezuelans were seen crossing the river in an effort to look for goods to purchase in Colombia or to flee the crisis ridden country.
    For some living just across this blocked border, however, the crossing into the neighboring country is a lifeline for them.
    “It’s difficult because it affects us all, especially sick people, because I have two sick people at home and, just imagine, I have to go trough all of this to come over here just to bring them something to eat.” — Ana Maria Carrillo de Pena, Venezuelan citizen.
    As hundreds of Venezuelans struggle to find food and medicine, reports are saying it has become common to see people searching through trash bins outside Caracas restaurants.
    Roughly three million people have already emigrated from the country. With no end in sight to the crisis, the United Nations estimates another two million could go.
Venezuelans cross the Tachira river into Colombia, at a blindspot on the border near the Simon Bolivar
International Bridge in Cucuta, Colombia, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. T(AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
    Meanwhile, the Maduro regime is reportedly selling out Venezuela’s gold reserves to ease the pressure of international sanctions.
    One America’s Kristian Rouz looks into the matter.

3/1/2019 Warding off hunger, Venezuelans find meals in garbage bins by Shaylim Valderrama
A man sits on a rubbish container in Caracas, Venezuela February 26, 2019. Picture taken February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
    CARACAS (Reuters) – Tony, a 36-year old security guard, rummages through the garbage bins of a wealthy district in Caracas on his days off work, scavenging for food as Venezuela’s economic meltdown has left even the employed struggling to find enough to eat.
    “I smell it and if it smells good, then I take it home,” said Tony, who declined to disclose his last name because he does not want his wife and four children to know how he has been putting food on their table for more than a year.
    He said he typically finds scraps of meat, cheese and pieces of vegetables on his garbage runs.    “I wash it with vinegar, a lot of water, and I add onion and sauce."
    Scenes of Venezuelans picking through garbage in a search for something to eat has for years been a symbol of the nation’s economic meltdown, which has been marked by widespread shortages of food and medicine as well as hyperinflation.
    But the problem received renewed attention this week after the South American nation’s socialist government deported American journalist Jorge Ramos, who showed a video of people eating garbage while he interviewed President Nicolas Maduro.
    Maduro, who has been in power since 2013 and was re-elected last year in a vote widely viewed as fraudulent, has previously dismissed journalists’ questions about garbage consumption, saying they were part of a U.S.-backed propaganda campaign against his government.
    He denies there is a humanitarian crisis in his country and says foreign governments are seeking to undermine him. Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
    It is not uncommon for poor and indigent residents of the world’s wealthiest nations to root through dumpsters.    But it is rare in those nations for people with full-time jobs to rely on garbage to sustain their families.
    Prices in Venezuela are rising more than 2 million percent per year, and the country’s minimum wage, worth around $6 per month, buys little more than a tray of eggs.
    Many Venezuelans rely on remittances from relatives who have joined an exodus of an estimated 3.4 million people since 2015, according to the United Nations, while others depend on government food handouts.
    Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who in January declared himself to be Venezuela’s interim president, led an effort last week to bring humanitarian aid into the country, but troops blocked trucks from getting in.
    Most Western nations including the United States have recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate president.
    “I’ve had to teach my children to eat everything,” said Estefani Quintero, 35, a mother of seven who travels two hours to Caracas from a distant suburb to trawl garbage bags.    “Of course it’s the government that’s at fault for this.    We used to eat breakfast lunch and dinner, we even threw away food.”
(Reporting by Shaylim Valderrama; Writing by Sarah Marsh and Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Paul Simao)

3/1/219 Oil turns sharply lower as U.S. data stokes demand worries by Jessica Resnick-Ault
FILE PHOTO: A pump jack is seen at sunrise near Bakersfield, California October 14, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices reversed course on Friday, falling more than 2 percent as bearish U.S. manufacturing data stoked concerns over global energy demand growth.
    The ISM manufacturing activity index in February sank to the lowest since November 2016, and was below expectations.
    U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures fell $1.46 to $55.76 a barrel by 12:40 p.m. EST (1740 GMT). The contract had earlier hit a high of $57.88.
    Global benchmark Brent crude futures for May fell $1.58 to $64.73 a barrel, after earlier touching a session high of $67.14.
    U.S. crude is on track to end the week down 2.7 percent and Brent is set to lose 3.6 percent.
    “We have been the island of prosperity, globally, so if the economic slowdown is coming our way that is bad news for oil prices,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.    “We were up all morning until that data hit,” he said.
    The data sent a strong message to a market that has been looking for direction, said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
    “I think the market is nervous, and when they got the data, they reacted,” he said.
    The data compounded worries that demand is falling globally.
    A Reuters poll showed analysts expect global fuel consumption to dip this year in the face of a broad economic slowdown.
    China’s February factory activity fell for a third month as the world’s second-largest economy continued to struggle with weak export orders, a private survey showed on Friday.
    The weakness is also being felt across the wider region. South Korea’s exports contracted at their steepest pace in nearly three years in February as demand from China cooled further.
    Despite this, fuel consumption, especially in Asia’s developing economies which are key drivers of global oil demand, is so far holding up.
    India’s diesel consumption, for example, is expected to rise to a record this year amid economic growth of around 7 percent.
    Potential demand declines could offset producers’ efforts to curb a global supply glut.
    The 14-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped 30.68 million barrels per day (bpd) in February, a Reuters survey showed, down 300,000 bpd from January and the lowest OPEC total since 2015.
    In Venezuela, oil exports have plunged 40 percent to around 920,000 barrels per day (bpd) since the U.S. government slapped sanctions on its petroleum industry on Jan. 28.
    OPEC, of which Venezuela is a founding member, is leading efforts to withhold around 1.2 million bpd of supply from the market to prop up prices.    Venezuela is exempt from the cuts.
    The fall in OPEC production comes at a time when the United States is pumping oil at record rates.    The Baker Hughes U.S. oil rig count, a forward-looking production indicator, is due at 1 p.m. EDT.
    Canada’s main oil-producing province of Alberta on Thursday raised the amount of crude that companies can produce in April to 3.66 million bpd, an increase of 100,000 bpd from the limit imposed in January.
(Additional reporting by Henning Gloystein, Koustav Samanta and Roslan Khasawneh in SINGAPORE and Ahmad Gaddar in London; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Jan Harvey)

3/1/2019 Treasury Secretary Mnuchin details new sanctions against Venezuelan officials by OAN Newsroom
    The Treasury Department is rolling out new sanctions against Venezuela.    On Friday, department Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the latest sanctions are targeting Venezuelan officials, who are blocking humanitarian aid from entering the country.
    Those sanctioned include Venezuelan special forces commanders and members of the national police.    Mnuchin said his department is committed to targeting “Maduro loyalists, who are prolonging the humanitarian crisis.”
FILE – In this Feb. 27, 2019 file photo, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks during a news conference
with France’s Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire after a meeting in Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
    U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela — Elliott Abrams — also announced visa restrictions against Maduro’s supporters.
    “Maduro supporters that abuse or violate human rights, steal from the Venezuelan people, or undermine Venezuela’s democracy are not welcome in the United States,” he stated.    “Neither are their family members, who enjoy a privileged lifestyle at the expense of liberty and prosperity of millions of Venezuelans.”
    Abrams said the U.S. will continue to take appropriate action.
    Meanwhile, Russia is vowing to counter any attempts to meddle in Venezuelan domestic affairs as it pledges its support of the Maduro regime.
    While speaking Friday with Venezuela’s vice president in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reaffirmed the country’s cooperation with Venezuela and its backing of President Nicolas Maduro.    Venezuela’s vice president said his country is going through a challenging time, and is calling on countries which defend international legislation to come together.
    “We cooperate tightly and coordinate our actions on the international arena, and at the moment (our cooperation) is gaining special importance under the circumstances of Venezuela facing a frontal attack and a shameless intervention into its internal affairs,” said the Russia foreign minister.
    Lavrov said any possibility of military action in Venezuela will reveal the true aims of the U.S. policy in the region.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov listens to Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodriguez
during their talks in Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

3/1/2019 VP Pence slams Democrats for embracing of socialism in CPAC speech by OAN Newsroom
    Vice President Mike Pence recently called Democrats out of touch and, once again, accused the left of embracing socialism.
    During his speech at 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday morning, he railed against Democrats for their support of progressive policies like ‘Medicare for All’ and the ‘Green New Deal.’
    Pence drew parallels to socialism and the crisis in Venezuela.    He said, “today Democrats openly advocate an economic system that has impoverished millions of people around the world.”
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2019,
in Oxon Hill, Md., Friday, March 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
    The vice president also criticized a number of 2020 candidates, including Bernie Sanders, who have sounded off on their support for socialism.
    “Remarkably, a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination is an avowed socialist, but it’s not just him,” he explained.    “Bernie’s (Sanders) been joined by a chorus of candidates and newly elected officials, who have papered over the failed policies of socialism with bumper sticker slogans and slick social media campaigns.”
    Pence said America is facing a choice between freedom and socialism.    The vice president firmly said, “American people will choose freedom every single time.”

3/1/2019 WATCH: Rep. Devin Nunes to file criminal referrals to DOJ by OAN Newsroom
    GOP Congressman Devin Nunes plans to file criminal referrals to the Department of Justice for witnesses who have lied under oath to Congress.
    One America’s John Hines caught up with the California representative at CPAC and has this report.
[Its about time that the DOJ and FBI are being charged for criminal referrals by the man who brought this to life.].

3/2/2019 Oil down $1.50 to $55.75, DOW up 110 to 26,026.

3/2/2019 SpaceX launches unmanned U.S. space capsule to space station
A SpaceX Falcon 9 carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft sits on launch pad 39A prior to the uncrewed test flight to the
International Space Station from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) – A SpaceX rocket with a newly designed unmanned crew capsule blasted off on Saturday for the International Space Station, in a key milestone for Elon Musk’s space company and NASA’s long-delayed goal to resume human spaceflight from U.S. soil later this year.
    SpaceX’s 16-foot-tall (4.9 meter) Crew Dragon capsule, atop a Falcon 9 rocket, lifted off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center at TK 2:49 a.m. (0749 GMT), carrying a test dummy nicknamed Ripley.
    The space station’s three-member crew was expected to greet the capsule, carrying 400 pounds of supplies and test equipment, early     Sunday morning, NASA said.    During its five-day stay, U.S. astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques will run tests and inspect Crew Dragon’s cabin.
(Reporting by Joey Roulette at Cape Canaveral, Florida; Editing by David Gregorio and Kim Coghill)

3/2/2019 Judge orders Roger Stone to explain imminent release of book that may violate gag order by Spence Hu, The Washington Post.
    Republican operative and longtime Trump friend Roger Stone faced fresh legal trouble Friday after a federal judge ordered his attorneys to explain why they failed to tell her before now about the imminent publication of a book that could violate his gag order by potentially criticizing the judge or prosecutors with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
    The order by late Friday came barely eight days after Jackson barred Stone from speaking publicly about his case, prompted by a photo posted on Stone’s Instagram account that placed a crosshair next to a photo of Jackson’s head.
    Stone apologized for abusing the court’s trust, asking for a second chance.    Jackson said in imposing the gag order Feb. 21 that it would be “foolhardy” to wait for him to transgress again, that she had “serious doubts whether you’ve learned any lesson at all,” and warned she would order him to jail for future violations.
    Stone, 66, is accused of lying to Congress and obstructing justice to cover up his efforts to gather information concerning hacked Democratic Party emails during the 2016 campaign.     He has pleaded not guilty.    Prosecutors with Mueller and the U.S. attorney’s office of the District said separately Friday they expect a trial to take at least five to eight days.
    In the new controversy, Jackson, in a brief order posted on the court’s electronic docket after office hours Friday, said she was allowing Stone’s defense team to file under seal a motion apparently to clarify the court’s gag order and an unspecified accompanying exhibit, and ordered a court clerk to make public Stone’s request.
    But Jackson also ordered Stone’s attorneys to explain by Monday why they waited until now in making that request to disclose the “imminent general release” of a book, which Jackson said “was known to the defendant.”
    Jackson said Stone’s attorneys could have told the court about the unidentified book either in a February court filing or the Feb. 21 hearing on whether she should impose a gag order to limit prejudicial pretrial publicity and ensure Stone’s right to a fair trial.
    That was particularly so, she noted, because prosecutors specified their request for an order providing that Stone “should not be talking about this Court.    He should not be talking about the special prosecutor,” Jackson said.
    Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Kravis also argued in the hearing that an order should say, “This Court should not be criticized by Mr. Stone.    The government should not be impugned by Mr. Stone.    The integrity of this case should not be impugned by Mr. Stone,” Jackson noted.
    Stone attorney Bruce S. Rogow did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    In apologizing for his earlier post, Stone said he did not mean to pose a threat and “had no malicious intention,” and added, “It was improper for me to criticize at all, I recognize that.”
    The Instagram post solicited donations to Stone’s legal defense fund and said he faced a “show trial” in Jackson’s courtroom after his indictment stemming from the special counsel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.    The post referred to the special counsel as “Deep State hitman Mueller,” and the hashtag “#fixisin.”
    Prosecutors said the post and Stone’s subsequent public comments threatened to taint the pool of potential jurors.
    Under the gag order, Stone can continue to raise funds for his defense and speak on other matters.
    Stone has been released on an unsecured personal recognizance bond and allowed to travel between South Florida, Washington and New York City.    He was previously allowed to discuss the case publicly, just not in the immediate vicinity of the D.C. federal courthouse.
    He was indicted in January on charges of obstructing justice, lying and witness tampering in what prosecutors said was an effort to hide repeated attempts to get information about plans to release the hacked Democratic emails.    By itself, those actions may not constitute a crime, but authorities say Stone lied to Congress when asked about them.
    U.S. officials say the stolen emails were hacked by Russian intelligence officers and then shared with others, including the global anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, whose founder, Julian Assange, made them public.
    According to the indictment, Stone contacted the group through an intermediary for information on the hacked emails at the direction of an unidentified senior Trump campaign official.    He then allegedly lied to congressional staff investigators and encouraged another person to do the same, according to the court records.

3/2/2019 Washington cranks up Venezuela sanctions as Guaido tours South America by Lesley Wroughton and Daniela Desantis
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognized as the country's rightful
interim ruler, poses with Venezuelan citizens living in Argentina after giving a news conference at the
San Martin Palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian
    WASHINGTON/ASUNCION (Reuters) – The United States on Friday ramped up its attempt to dislodge Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from power, imposing new sanctions and revoking visas, while opposition leader Juan Guaido said Maduro’s support among the military was cracking.
    Venezuelan military officials last weekend blocked an opposition-backed effort to bring food into the country via its borders with Colombia and Brazil, leaving two aid trucks in flames and five people dead.
    Guaido, who is recognized by most Western nations as Venezuela’s rightful leader, visited Paraguay and Argentina on Friday to shore up Latin American support for a transition government for the crisis-stricken nation.
    But Maduro retains control of state institutions and the apparent loyalty of senior figures in the armed forces.
    Following a meeting with Argentine President Mauricio Macri in Buenos Aires, Guaido said, without providing evidence, that 80 percent of Venezuela’s military nonetheless supported a change in leadership and that he would continue to seek the support of officers.
    Earlier on Friday in Paraguay, he said 600 members of Venezuela’s armed forces had already abandoned Maduro’s government following the clashes over the aid.
    Foreign military intervention is seen as unlikely and Guaido’s international backers are instead using a mix of sanctions and diplomacy to try to put pressure to bear on Maduro.
    “We are sanctioning members of Maduro’s security forces in response to the reprehensible violence, tragic deaths, and unconscionable torching of food and medicine destined for sick and starving Venezuelans,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
    The United States “will continue to target Maduro loyalists prolonging the suffering of the victims of this man-made humanitarian crisis,” he said.
    U.S. sanctions block any assets the individuals control in the United States and bars U.S. entities from doing any business or financial transactions with them.
    The list includes National Guard Commander Richard Lopez and five other police and military officials based near the Colombian or Brazilian borders.
    The U.S. State Department later said it had revoked the travel visas of 49 people as it cracked down on “individuals responsible for undermining Venezuela’s democracy.”
    Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
    Guaido slipped out of Venezuela last week, in violation of a Supreme Court order not to leave the country, to join the aid convoys in Colombia.    There, he met with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and other regional leaders and later traveled to Brazil.
    He has promised to return to Venezuela by Monday, seen as a form of direct defiance to Maduro, who has said Guaido will eventually “face justice.”
    The Argentine foreign ministry said in a statement that it expects the peaceful and safe return of the opposition leader to Venezuela, without risk to him, his family or his supporters.
    “Any act of intimidation or violence against the acting president, his family and his inner circle will be considered the responsibility of the Maduro regime,” the ministry’s statement said.
    On Thursday, Guaido told reporters in Brazil that he had received threats against himself and his family, including prison.
    Paraguayan President Mario Abdo tweeted on Friday evening that he authorized expired Venezuelan passports to be valid in Paraguay, a gesture of support for Venezuelans who have fled their home country.
    Governments around the region have called on Maduro to let aid in as inflation above 2 million percent per year and chronic shortages of food have left some eating from garbage bins in order to ward off malnutrition.
    Maduro has called the U.S.-backed humanitarian aid effort a veiled invasion meant to push him from power, and has insisted that there is no crisis in the country.
    Russia has accused the United States of preparing to intervene militarily in Venezuela and, along with China, blocked a U.S. bid this week to get the United Nations Security Council to take action on Venezuela.
    Guaido is scheduled to travel to Ecuador on Saturday to meet with President Lenin Moreno.
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton and Daniela Desantis, additional reporting by Doina Chiacu and Lisa Lambert in Washington, Mayela Armas in Caracas, Alexandria Valencia in Quito, and Eliana Raszewski and Cassandra Garrison in Buenos Aires; writing by Brian Ellsworth and Hugh Bronstein; editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

3/2/2019 SpaceX rocket with unmanned U.S. capsule blasts off for space station by Joey Roulette
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard at Launch Complex 39A is seen in this DigitalGlobe Satellite
image at Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. on February 28, 2019. ©2019 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company/Handout via REUTERS
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) – A SpaceX rocket with an unmanned crew capsule blasted off on Saturday for the International Space Station, in a key milestone for Elon Musk’s space company and NASA’s long-delayed goal to resume human spaceflight from U.S. soil later this year.
    SpaceX’s 16-foot-tall (4.9 meter) Crew Dragon capsule, atop a Falcon 9 rocket, lifted off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center at 2:49 a.m. (0749 GMT), carrying a test dummy nicknamed Ripley.
    The capsule successfully separated from the rocket about 11 minutes later, sparking cheers in the control room, and began its journey to the space station.
    “I almost thought we would fail.    I thought maybe we’d have a 10 percent chance of reaching orbit starting out,” Silicon Valley billionaire Musk said of his feelings when he founded the space company in 2002.
    “I’m a little emotionally exhausted because that was super stressful, but it worked,” he told reporters after Saturday’s launch.
    The space station’s three-member crew was expected to greet the capsule, carrying 400 pounds (181 kg) of supplies and test equipment, early Sunday morning, NASA said.
    During its five-day stay, U.S. astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques will run tests and inspect Crew Dragon’s cabin.
    NASA has awarded SpaceX and Boeing Co $6.8 billion to build competing rocket and capsule systems to launch astronauts into orbit from American soil for the first time since the U.S. Space Shuttle was retired from service in 2011.
    Either SpaceX or Boeing will have bragging rights as the first private company to launch humans into space on its own rocket, although plans call for rockets built by both companies to carry astronauts into space.
    The launch systems are aimed at ending U.S. reliance on Russian rockets for rides to the $100 billion orbital research laboratory, which flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, at about $80 million per ticket.
    While Saturday’s SpaceX test mission is a crucial step in the oft-delayed project, there are questions about whether NASA can achieve its 2019 flight goal of manned flight.
    Reuters reported on Feb. 21 that SpaceX and Boeing both must address significant design and safety concerns before they can fly humans.
    Early on Friday, Musk, who is also chief executive officer of electric carmaker Tesla Inc, tweeted a photo of the inside of Crew Dragon capsule with Ripley strapped inside.
    SpaceX said the spacesuit for Ripley, apparently a reference to the protagonist in the science fiction movie “Alien,” has been embedded with sensors around its head, neck, and spine to monitor how a flight would feel for a human.
(Reporting by Joey Roulette in Cape Canaveral; Editing by David Gregorio, Kim Coghill and Ros Russell)
[So Trump has returned the U.S. to be dominate in Space again after Obama killed that to the Russians, and this will also enhance are future Space Force program.].

3/2/2019 Report: Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib Paid Herself $17,500 After Midterm Elections by OAN Newsroom
    An investigation reveals Democrat Representative Rashida Tlaib paid herself $17,500 as a salary from campaign funds after the 2018 midterm elections.
    Filings with the Federal Election Commission show Tlaib paid herself $2,000 in November, and a little more than $15,000 in December.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., pauses as she questions Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, as he testifies before
the House Oversight and Reform Committee, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    The money was reportedly paid weeks after the midterms, which violates FEC rules that allow candidates to pay themselves only until the election date.
    Experts say Tlaib may have lowered her monthly payments for political purposes, knowing she would make up the difference by giving herself a lump sum payment at the end.
[I am sure you are letting out some expletives now and your counterparts Omar and AOC see what happens when you file impeachment against President Donald J. Trump without any proof of wrong doing since all of you are in the dog house now.]

3/2/2019 President Trump Warns of the Growing Danger Socialism on the Left, CPAC 2019 by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump took the stage and spoke for more than two hours on the third day of CPAC, touching on the growing dangers of socialism and conservative censorship.
    On Saturday, the President said his administration is “winning against the swamp.”
President Donald Trump gestures to the cheering audience as he arrives to speak at Conservative Political Action
Conference, CPAC 2019, in Oxon Hill, Md., Saturday, March 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    In his speech, he also spoke out against the growing danger of socialism on the left, and claimed that freedom of speech and religious liberty are under attack by the Democrats.
    President Trump said he hoped Democrats would endorse policies like the Green New Deal, saying he would love to debate against it in the next election cycle.

3/2/2019 President Trump Asks China to Remove Tariffs on U.S. Imports Amid Trade Talks by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump is requesting the immediate removal of China’s tariffs on U.S. imports amid ongoing trade talks.
    The President confirmed the news in a tweet on Friday, which would impact agricultural goods such as beef and pork.
    Trump tweet: “I have asked China to immediately remove all Tariffs on our agricultural products (including beef, pork, etc.) based on the fact that we are moving along nicely with Trade discussions....
    Trump tweet: “....and I did not increase their second traunch of Tariffs to 25% on March 1st. This is very important for our great farmers - and me!
    Officials are reportedly preparing a deal for President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign within weeks, as well as a summit in March.
    President Trump extended the deadline for a deal at the end of those negotiations, saying he looks forward to meeting President Xi at Mar-a-Lago.

3/2/2019 France’s ‘yellow vests’ march largely without violence as tensions ease by Geert De Clercq
A protester wearing a yellow vest waves a French flag as he stands on the Champs Elysees near the Arc de Triomphe
during a demonstration by the "yellow vests" movement in Paris, France, March 2, 2019. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
    PARIS (Reuters) – Turnout for a 16th round of “yellow vest” protests in France on Saturday was below last week’s levels and marches were largely peaceful, in a relief for President Emmanuel Macron who has struggled to find a response to the movement.
    While turnout figures at midday were only half of last week, by nightfall the Interior Ministry counted a total of 39,300 protesters nationwide, of which 4,000 were in Paris.
    Last Saturday there had been 46,600 marchers, including 5,800 in Paris, compared with 41,000 the week before and 51,400 the week before that – well down on the more than 300,000 who marched at the start of the movement in November in a protest which degenerated into clashes with police in subsequent weeks.
    Protesters marched largely peacefully on Saturday from the Arc de Triomphe to Place Denfert-Rochereau on the residential left bank, though water cannon were briefly used to douse protesters on the Champs Elysees boulevard.
    Tear gas and water cannon were also used in Bordeaux, and in Toulouse, where some protesters marched behind a “cacatov party” banner – a play on Molotov cocktail firebombs – encouraging people to throw “poo-bombs” at police.
    There were no reports of anyone being hit by a “catatov,” but the threat of excrement projectiles was of concern to reporters covering the marches in Toulouse and Paris.
    Large parts of central Paris were in lockdown as thousands of police cordoned off key areas around the presidential palace and government buildings.
    “Stop this violence … the place to express your view in a democratic way is at the debates,” Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud told LCI television, referring to government-organized nationwide debates where citizens can express their views.
    The relative lack of violence in the latest marches is a boost for Macron’s centrist government, which has struggled to respond to a diffuse and largely leaderless movement that started as a protest against high fuel prices but has morphed into a broad anti-government protest.
    After boosting government support for low-income workers by some 10 billion euros ($11.4 billion) at the start of the year and starting a series on marathon debates with local representatives, Macron’s approval ratings have gradually recovered in recent weeks.
    Last week, an Odoxa poll showed the percentage of people who consider Macron a good president rose to 32 percent, back to where it was when the protests started and off a low of 27 percent in mid-December as protesters rampaged through central Paris and other cities.
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Additional reporting by Elizabeth Pineau in Paris, Johanna Decorse in Toulouse and Catherine Lagrange in Lyon, and Claude Canellas in Bordeaux; Editing by David Holmes)

3/2/2019 The Washington Post Issues Editor’s Note on Covington Coverage by Tamar Auber
Provided by Mediaite, LLC
    The Washington Post has issued an Editor’s Note on their initial reporting of the incident between Native American activist Nathan Phillips and a group of students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky.
    Per the Post:
    “Subsequent reporting, a student’s statement and additional video allow for a more complete assessment of what occurred, either contradicting or failing to confirm accounts provided in that story — including that Native American activist Nathan Phillips was prevented by one student from moving on, that his group had been taunted by the students in the lead-up to the encounter, and that the students were trying to instigate a conflict.”
    “The high school student facing Phillips issued a statement contradicting his account; the bishop in Covington, Ky., apologized for the statement condemning the students; and an investigation conducted for the Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School found the students’ accounts consistent with videos,” the note continued on.
    The post then listed follow-up articles that dealt with the developments: “Viral standoff between a tribal elder and a high schooler is more complicated than it first seemed; Kentucky bishop apologizes to Covington Catholic students, says he expects their exoneration; Investigation finds no evidence of ‘racist or offensive statements’ in Mall incident.”
    WaPo also corrected a claim made in their reporting that Phillips was a Vietnam Veteran.
    “Phillips said he served in the U.S. Marines but was never deployed to Vietnam,” the Post wrote.
    They also deleted a tweet claiming that Phillips was a Vietnam Veteran.
    The incident was put in the spotlight when video showing students from Covington Catholic High School — including one wearing a MAGA hat — appearing to taunt Phillips went viral.
    Longer cuts of the video, however, showed the full context of the incident.    The family of student Nicholas Sandmann filed a $250 million defamation lawsuit against the Post.
[So you can see that this was a lame apology called an Editor's Note from The Washing Post for their fake news report.].

[So Trump gave a 2 hour speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and the next two articles are from the FAKE NEWS Services, but they are not as bad as Chuck on "Meet The Press" who let a Democrat talk all he wanted without interruption, but when Repulican Jim Jordan came on Chuck interrupted Jordan after every question before he could get through half a sentence to keep him from responding with the truth, so if you do not believe there is BIAS from NBC, etc., then you are the FOOL.    Many of the news services did spot hits of Trump using expletives just so to diss him.]
3/3/019 Trump rouses CPAC, predicts big 2020 win - Mocks Dems on Russia probes, environment by Kevin Frekin, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    OXON HILL, Md. – President Donald Trump told an appreciative audience of conservatives Saturday that he will win re-election in 2020 and by a bigger margin than his 2016 victory.    He mocked Democrats for their framework to combat climate change and said House lawmakers pushing to expand their investigations of him are “sick.”    In a wide-ranging speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump rehashed his outsider campaign that overcame long odds and a crowded field of established politicians to claim the White House over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
    When he made his prediction of a second term, the crowd responded with chants of “U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.
    Trump praised the conservative movement, saying, “Our movement and our future in our country is unlimited.”
    Trump took aim at the Democrats’ Green New Deal, a policy proposal floated by some liberal Democrats in Congress and backed to varying degrees by several of the party’s 2020 presidential candidates.
    “I think the New Green Deal or whatever the hell they call it – the Green New Deal – I encourage it,” Trump said mockingly as he wound up for a round of exaggeration.
    “I think it’s really something that they should promote.    They should work hard on it. ... No planes, no energy.    When the wind stops blowing, that’s the end of your electric.    Let’s hurry up.    Darling, is the wind blowing today?    I’d like to watch television, darling.”
    The Democratic plan calls for a drastic drop in greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas, but in no way grounds airplanes or pivots the country to renewable energy only.
    With special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation seemingly approaching its end, Trump spoke of the “collusion delusion” and lashed out at newly empowered House Democrats who are opening new inquiries involving him.
    “This phony thing,” Trump said of the Russia probe, “looks like it’s dying, so they don’t have anything with Russia there, no collusion.    So now they go in and morph into ‘Let’s inspect every deal he’s ever done.    We’re going to go into his finances.    We’re going to check his deals.    We’re going to check’ – these people are sick.”
    House Democrats are undertaking several broad new investigations that reach far beyond Mueller’s focus on Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Russians and the Trump campaign.
    Their efforts increased this past week after Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, appeared before two House committees and a Senate committee.    In his public testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Cohen called the president a “con man” and a “cheat” and gave Democrats several new leads for inquiry.
President Donald Trump assailed the “collusion delusion” at the Conservative
Political Action Conference on Saturday in Oxon Hill, Md. CAROLYN KASTER/AP

3/3/2019 Trump pledges to protect speech - Taunts both parties at conservative gathering by Maureen Groppe and Sean Rossman. USA TODAY
    In one of his longest – and characteristically wide-ranging – speeches as president, Donald Trump on Saturday went after both Democrats and fellow Republicans, said people are trying to get him out of office with “bull----,” and announced he will be signing an executive order to require universities to allow “free speech” or forfeit federal dollars.
    “I’m in love.    You’re in love.    We’re all in love together,” Trump said about 30 minutes into his approximately two hour speech to supporters at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.
    Trump’s appearance follows a week in which his former attorney, Michael Cohen, accused him of criminal conduct in testimony before Congress.    He also visited Vietnam for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that failed to produce a nuclear weapons deal.
    North Korea has contradicted Trump’s account of the failed negotiations in Hanoi.    And Trump was criticized Friday for his apparent acceptance of Kim’s denial that he had any involvement in the death of a young American who had been held in North Korean custody.
    Trump said Saturday he was in a “horrible position” over the situation with Otto Warmbier.
    “In one way, I have to negotiate.    In the other, I love Mr. and Mrs. Warmbier.    And I love Otto,” Trump said.    “It’s a very, very delicate balance.”
    In his introduction of Trump, Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, said that when the president wants to recharge, he returns to his base.
    After stepping out on the stage and hugging an American flag, Trump did a lot of recharging.    He reveled in the applause and remarked more than once that the crowd was still with him during the lengthy address.
    “I’m watching those doors and not one person has left,” Trump said near the end.    “And I’ve been up here a long time.”
    Here are some of the highlights of the address:
Free speech executive order
    Trump invited on stage Hayden Williams, a conservative activist who was punched on the University of California at Berkeley’s campus last month.
    Trump urged Williams to sue the college and possibly the state of California.
    “He’s going to be a very wealthy young man,” Trump said.    “Go get ’em, Hayden.”
    He also announced he will be signing “very soon” an executive order requiring schools to “respect free speech” if they want to continue receiving federal research dollars.    “If they want our dollars, and we give it to them by the billions, they’ve got to allow people like Hayden to speak,” Trump said.
    The White House has not announced any details about the executive order.
Dismissing the investigations
    Trump denounced as a “collusion delusion” special counsel Robert Mueller’s two-year investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
    “We’re waiting for a report by people who weren’t elected,” Trump said.    “All of a sudden, they’re trying to take you out with bull----.”
    Cohen testified before Congress last week that Trump was aware of his associate Roger Stone’s communications with the anti-secrecy group Wiki-Leaks regarding emails that U.S. intelligence agencies say were stolen by Russian operatives from the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee officials.
    Trump told CPAC he was “having fun with the audience” when he publicly challenged Russia during the campaign to find Hillary Clinton’s emails.
    And he complained that the investigation has morphed into inspecting every deal he’s ever done.
    “I saw ‘Little Shifty Schiff,’” Trump said, referring to Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, “and he said, ‘We’re going to look into his finances.’ Where did that come from?
    CPAC draws the biggest names in conservative politics, government and media.    Vice President Mike Pence spoke on Friday as did conservative commentators Glenn Beck and Candace Owens.    Rep. Matt Gaetz, who drew criticism for a tweet he sent about Cohen the day before his testimony, also was scheduled to speak later in the conference.
President Donald Trump hugs the flag as he arrives to speak at the conference Saturday in Oxon Hill, Md. CAROLYN KASTER/AP

3/3/2019 Calif. paid to close cases under Harris by ASSOCIATED PRESS
    LOS ANGELES – The California Department of Justice paid more than $1 million to employees who alleged they faced sexual harassment or workplace retaliation while presidential candidate Kamala Harris was state attorney general, it was reported Friday.
    The settlements involved allegations of inappropriate touching or comments as well as other allegations made from 2011 to 2017.    They were disclosed this week in response to a state Public Records Act request from the Los Angeles Times.
    Harris didn’t know about the cases until the Times brought them to her attention.    They were handled by administrators who were expected to follow strict policies against harassment, said Harris’ spokesman, Chris Harris.
    However, the Democratic U.S. senator told the Times that she takes responsibility.
    “As the chief executive of a department of nearly 5,000 employees, the buck stopped with me,” Harris said in a statement.    “No one should face harassment or intimidation in the workplace, and victims of sexual misconduct should be listened to, believed and protected.”

3/3/2019 SpaceX launches its test crew capsule by James Dean, Florida Today
    A new SpaceX crew capsule rocketed into orbit early Saturday on a test flight critical to restoring the nation’s ability to launch astronauts, after an eight-year pause.
    At 2:49 a.m., as crowds cheered at Kennedy Space Center, a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew Dragon capsule thundered from the same pad as the final space shuttle mission in 2011, and Saturn V moon rockets decades earlier.
    Eleven minutes after liftoff, the capsule carrying a test dummy named Ripley – after the “Alien” movies’ heroine – separated from the rocket bound for the International Space Station.    An Earth shaped toy floated inside to indicate it was weightless.
    The demonstration mission called Demo-1 is the first test of the Crew Dragon, and of a new model for flying astronauts that relies on private industry to design and fly the spacecraft.
    “This is really a significant achievement in the history of American spaceflight,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said before the launch.
    After the rocket’s first stage landed at sea, the Crew Dragon was on course to arrive early Sunday at the space station 250 miles overhead.
    Flight computers aimed to guide the craft directly into a docking port, unlike cargo versions of the Dragon that astronauts capture with a robotic arm.
    Hours later, three Expedition 58 crew members, including NASA’s Anne McClain, planned to open the capsule’s hatch and welcome its sole occupant and some 400 pounds of supplies and experiments.
    Wearing a white-and-black suit designed by SpaceX, Ripley was wired with numerous sensors to measure the temperatures, vibrations and pressure that real crew of astronauts eventually will feel.
    The six-day test mission anticipates the Crew Dragon undocking and firing thrusters to drop back to Earth for a Friday morning splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.
    The mission’s goal: Prove that SpaceX is ready for NASA test pilots Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to strap into the capsule for the next test flight, called Demo-2, as soon as July.
    The SpaceX test flight is the first for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which began partnering with private companies in 2010 and in 2014 awarded SpaceX and Boeing contracts to fly astronauts worth nearly $7billion combined.
    Boeing also will fly an uncrewed test flight, possibly next month, to be launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.    The company’s CST-100 Starliner capsule could be ready for a three-person test crew in August.
    The crewed flights will be preceded by tests of abort systems that would enable crews to escape a failing rocket any time between the launch pad to orbit.
    Once NASA certifies them as safe to fly, the space agency will tap one of the companies to launch a four-person crew to the space station for a sixmonth mission.    Bridenstine said Friday he was “100 percent confident” that the certification would happen before the end of this year.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a test Dragon spacecraft lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Saturday. TERRY RENNA/AP

3/4/2019 Ukraine’s Tymoshenko: ‘gas princess’, prisoner, and next president? by Matthias Williams and Pavel Polityuk
FILE PHOTO: Leader of opposition Batkivshchyna party and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko
attends a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine, February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
    KIEV (Reuters) – Yulia Tymoshenko has been Ukraine’s prime minister twice, was the global face of a revolution, imprisoned by two different presidents, and the target of an operation to discredit her by President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager [SEE THE NOTE BELOW ABOUT THE REAL TRUTH OF THAT STATEMENT].
    Now the 58-year-old known for her fiery rhetoric and, once upon a time, for her peasant braid hairstyle, hopes to unseat her old rival Petro Poroshenko in a tightly fought presidential vote on March 31.
    Her campaign is a difficult balancing act, promising reforms and continued cooperation with the International Monetary Fund while pledging to reverse sharp increases in the price of gas used for home heating that the IMF set as a condition for more loans.
    At stake is the chance to lead Ukraine five years after the Maidan street protests ousted a Kremlin-backed leadend set the country on a pro-Western course and bloody confrontation with Russia.
    Tymoshenko is popular with older voters and promises a threefold increase in pensions should she win. But having started as the front runner, she trails in a three-horse race with Poroshenko and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy.     Her rhetoric can be pungent.    She calls the gas price increase “genocide.”    Critics call her a populist.    Asked whether she thought that was fair, Tymoshenko told Reuters it was a label “Poroshenko’s corrupt mafia” used to smear her."    His people were using the political dark arts “to fight against their serious and influential opponents, and therefore for me they have chosen the word populism,” she said in a rare interview with a foreign media organization.
    Many investors have been comforted by Poroshenko sticking with Ukraine’s IMF program, which has supported the country through recession and war with Kremlin-backed separatists in the eastern Donbass region.
    When asked whether businesses should worry about her presidency, Tymoshenko pointed to her experience of working with the IMF as prime minister but said that the terms of the current arrangement were counterproductive.
    “After the presidential election we would like to start a constructive dialogue with the IMF on how to correct this situation, how to make our joint cooperation bring results that will be felt by the economy of Ukraine and Ukrainian citizens.”
    For ordinary people, “virtually all of their income is wiped out through exorbitant, unreasonably high gas prices, this means that people have no money left to support the Ukrainian economy,” she said.
    Her plan for dealing with Russia is to persevere with the Minsk peace talks, which have staunched but not ended the bloodshed in the Donbass.    She also called for wider negotiations involving the United States, Britain and the European Union.
    Tymoshenko became known as the “gas princess” because of her lucrative dealings at the head of a major energy company in the 1990s.    She came to the world’s attention during b>Ukraine’s 2004-2005 Orange Revolution, which pitted her against Kremlin-friendly rival Viktor Yanukovich.
    When he finally became president, Yanukovich jailed her and with the help of Paul Manafort, who later became Trump’s campaign manager, produced a 187-page report in 2012 justifying her imprisonment after an international outcry.
    Manafort was eventually convicted as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
    While working as a consultant to Yanukovich’s Party of Regions, Manafort used offshore accounts to secretly pay $4 million for the report on Tymoshenko, according to his indictment.
    She compares the attacks from Poroshenko’s camp to that time.    “I know that the strongest propaganda machine is turned against me, as Manafort once did,” she said, lambasting Manafort for “destroying my honest name, belittling my activities.”
    Though soft-spoken during her Reuters interview, Tymoshenko has loudly turned her fire on Poroshenko in public.
    She called for his impeachment in February over corruption allegations involving the son of one of Poroshenko’s close allies, which were made by an investigative journalist network.    All parties involved deny wrongdoing.
    Tymoshenko called it the tip of the iceberg and would put Poroshenko on trial if elected.
    “Beneath the water there is a corruption pyramid built up enormously over five years,” she said.    “We believe that we will win the presidential campaign and that the president, and his criminal corrupt environment, will be brought to justice.”
    Tymoshenko herself was the subject of an investigation by the same journalist network,, which found that her party had hidden the real sources of campaign donations.
    Tymoshenko admitted her party had concealed contributions from businesses by pretending they came from ordinary voters, but said this was necessary to protect the businesses from vindictive investigations by the authorities.
    An admirer of Margaret Thatcher, Tymoshenko keeps a signed copy of the British prime minister’s memoirs in her office.    This is Tymoshenko’s third shot at the presidency, having lost to Yanukovich in 2010 and Poroshenko in 2014.
    Asked whether she saw Poroshenko or Zelenskiy as her main opponent this time, Tymoshenko chose Poroshenko.
    But it is Zelenskiy who has emerged as the new front runner after announcing his candidacy in December, tapping into the disillusionment some feel about the slow pace of change since Maidan.
    Asked why she has fallen as low as third place in some polls and whether her support was waning, she said:
    “There was no fall,” arguing she still had the same number of supporters as before.
    “Simply, there is a new presidential candidate, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who has never been in politics.    He now receives in polls the great support of people who are against the establishment, against the entire political class.”
    So is her long experience in politics a strength or a weakness?
    “I believe that Ukraine should end its history of voting for a person, a family name or a cool creative advertisement,” she said.
    “For the first time, we need to vote not for individuals, but for real, serious, well-founded programs of action.    Except us, nobody today has such programs.”
(Editing by Giles Elgood)
[As seen on google: According to the September 2018 indictment in which Paul Manafort confessed as part of a plea bargain with U.S. special prosecutor Robert Mueller, Manafort helped former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to conduct a media campaign in the West directed against Tymoshenko in order to undermine the support for her by the administration of then U.S. President Barack Obama.    The campaign was designed to make Tymoshenko look like a supporter of anti-Semitism.    The indictment also states that in July 2011, former U.S. journalist Alan Friedman sent Manafort a confidential six-page document entitled "Ukraine - the digital road map," which contained a plan for "destruction" of Tymoshenko using video, articles and social networks.    The plan included creating a website, posting on the Internet, and sending out e-mails to "the target audience in Europe and the U.S."    It was also proposed to edit the page of Yulia Tymoshenko in Wikipedia in order to emphasize the "corruption and legal proceedings" related to her.
    I want to remind everyone that during 2009-2017 Obama had the NSA, DNI, DOJ, FBI doing all his dirty work using the FISA corruption and using a massive surveillance system on all citizens and has not been prosecuted for his actions.    And isn't that amusing that the Clinton troops continued using Ukranian sources to do their dirty work probably using Manafort.]

3/3/2019 Ostrich jacket, fake rallies, therapy dogs and other odd scenes in Trump-Russia probe by Andy Sullivan
FILE PHOTO: A $15,000 ostrich-leather bomber jacket, included in the government's exhibits admitted into
evidence, at the trial of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is shown in this image
released from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office in Washington, DC, U.S. on August 1, 2018. Courtesy Special Counselis
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Question: What do you get when you combine Russian agents, a therapy dog and a $15,000 ostrich-skin jacket?
    Answer: A criminal investigation that could decide the fate of a U.S. president.
    Donald Trump’s presidency has produced no shortage of eyebrow-raising moments – such as the former acting head of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, saying that Trump might be a Russian asset.
    And U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has turned up some surreal anecdotes as he examines whether the 2016 Trump election campaign worked with Russia to win the White House.
    Some of those episodes resemble reality television, fitting perhaps because Trump was once the star of his own show, “The Apprentice.”    Moments of heightened drama appeared to be legitimate, but in fact involved paid actors and off-site directors.
    On July 9, 2016, a Facebook group called United Muslims of America staged a rally in Washington to support the Republican presidential nominee’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.    One of the attendees held a sign featuring Clinton’s image and a quote: “I think Sharia Law will be a powerful new direction of freedom.”
    It was a provocative message that appeared to show Clinton expressing support for the Muslim legal code that some conservatives complain could pose a threat to U.S. law.
    According to U.S. prosecutors, the event was engineered by Russian agents working to undermine Clinton.    Moscow has denied the allegations and the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies that it ran an operation to meddle in the election.
    In a criminal indictment, Mueller’s team says Russians set up the Facebook group, organized the campaign event, and recruited someone to hold the sign.    It was one of several events that year orchestrated by the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-backed troll farm in St. Petersburg that spent millions of dollars to disrupt the U.S. democratic process, according to court documents filed by Mueller’s office.
    Using fake personas, employees of the agency staged political rallies in New York, Pennsylvania, Washington and Florida, recruiting unwitting local activists, and, at times, Trump campaign officials to help out, prosecutors said.
    A volunteer for the Trump campaign agreed to provide signs for a Russian-organized “March for Trump” event in New York in June 2016 and sent out a press release for a “Down With Hillary” rally a month later, the indictment said.
    A Trump campaign official in Florida helped Russian organizers pick out sites for rallies there in August 2016.
    One of those rallies featured a person dressed up as Clinton in a cage on a flatbed truck, wearing a prison uniform.    Russians paid for the actor and the cage, prosecutors said.
    After the election, Russian agents staged dueling rallies in New York – one to support Trump, one to protest his victory.
    The Russian government has denounced the allegations as absurd and ridiculed the notion that so few Russian nationals could undermine U.S. democracy.
    Jesse Ferguson, a former Clinton campaign official, said the campaign thought these were legitimate grassroots events.
    “You can see where voters would have no way to figure out whether this is a rally of sympathizers – or subversives,” he said.
    Mueller’s team also revealed the lavish lifestyle of Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort – and his disregard for lobbying laws and financial regulations.
    Prosecutors built their successful financial-fraud conviction of Paul Manafort last summer on a mountain of bank records and other financial documents.
    But one piece of evidence convicted Manafort in the court of public opinion: a $15,000 ostrich-leather bomber jacket.    A Washington Post fashion critic called the garment “an atrocity – both literal and symbolic.”
    Prosecutors introduced the jacket as evidence of the high-flying lifestyle that they say Manafort funded by lying to banks and hiding more than $16 million from tax authorities.
    Prosecutors also cited $934,000 in purchases from an oriental rug store and $1.8 million in payments to home-theater installers.
    Manafort subsequently agreed to forfeit many of his assets, including five properties and several bank accounts, as part of a plea deal in a separate criminal case.
    The plea deal does not require him to give up the ostrich skin jacket.
    Though Mueller has cultivated a reputation as a no-nonsense prosecutor, he has at times accommodated the quirks of his witnesses.
    On Sept. 7, 2018, radio host Randy Credico showed up at court with a miniature emotional-support dog named Bianca.
    For self-described “dirty tricksterRoger Stone, this was an ominous sign.    According to Mueller’s team, Stone had spent much of the past year pressuring Credico to lie about their efforts to communicate with WikiLeaks, the website that released stolen Democratic emails during the election campaign.
    Stone and Credico were an odd pair.    Stone was a longtime Republican operative with a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back who had advised Trump on and off for decades.    Credico was a former comedian and activist who had served as an intermediary between Stone and WikiLeaks in the final months of the campaign.
    Mueller’s evidence showed Stone urged Credico to keep their stories straight when investigators came calling.    Credico invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when he was called before Congress in December 2017.
    But Credico began to have second thoughts, incurring Stone’s wrath.    In an April 2018 email released by prosecutors, Stone said he would “take that dog away from you” – an apparent reference to Bianca.
    Five months later, Credico arrived at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse in Washington to testify before Mueller’s grand jury, Bianca in tow.
    Stone was charged in January with lying to Congress and witness tampering in an indictment that quotes extensively from his communications with Credico.    He has pleaded not guilty.
    Bianca has been spending time recently lolling on a Southwestern-patterned rug, according to Credico’s social-media posts.
(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; editing by Grant McCool)
[ Randolph A. Credico, an American perennial political candidate, comedian, radio host, activist and the former Director of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice.
    On August 27, 2016, Randy Credico sent a text message to Roger Stone that "Julian Assange has kryptonite on Hillary."    Credico also notified Stone of subsequent releases by Wikileaks of numerous emails stolen from Podesta and the Hillary Clinton campaign, a publication which initiated on October 7, 2016.
    In November 2017, Stone told the House Intelligence Committee that Credico was his intermediary with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to obtain information on Hillary Clinton.    Credico was then subpoenaed to appear before the committee, but asserted his Fifth Amendment right before the interview.    The committee released him from appearing.
    By August 2018, special counsel Mueller had subpoenaed Credico to testify before a grand jury in September 2018.    Credico intended to comply with the request.
    Mother Jones reported that Credico had received text messages from Roger Stone in January 2018 stating that Stone was seeking a presidential pardon for Assange.
    In January 2019, the FBI arrested Roger Stone.    Stone's indictment claimed that Credico, referred to as Person 2, was not Stone's sole contact with WikiLeaks (Organization 1).    It also claimed that Credico was pressured by Stone to "stonewall" his testimony before Congress, and to "do a Frank Pentangeli."    Among other statements, Stone told Credico to "prepare to die," and that he would "i>take that dog away from you."    Mr. Credico relies on a medical support dog.
[Mother Jones, an American magazine that focuses on news, commentary, and investigative reporting on topics including politics, the environment, human rights, and culture, described as either liberal or progressive, and Clara Jeffery serves as editor-in-chief of the magazine.]

Felix Henry Sater (born Felix Mikhailovich Sheferovsky), a Russian-American former mobster, convicted felon, real estate developer and former managing director of Bayrock Group LLC, a real estate conglomerate based out of New York City.    Sater has been an advisor to many corporations, including The Trump Organization, Rixos Hotels and Resorts, Sembol Construction, Potok (formerly the Mirax Group), and TxOil.
    In 1998, Sater pleaded guilty to his involvement in a $40 million stock fraud scheme orchestrated by the Russian Mafia, and became an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and federal prosecutors, assisting with organized crime investigations.    In 2017, Sater agreed to cooperate with investigators into international money laundering schemes.
    During the 2015-16 American presidential campaign, Sater worked with Michael Cohen, former attorney for The Trump Organization, to broker a deal to build a Trump Tower Moscow, asserting to Cohen that he could boost Trump’s election prospects through his Russian contacts.    He is scheduled to testify publicly before the House Intelligence Committee on March 14, 2019.
    The Trump Organization pursued a luxury hotel and condominium project in Moscow—dubbed the Trump Tower Moscow—during the Trump presidential campaign.    This project was facilitated by Michael Cohen, then an attorney for the Trump Organization, and from January 2017 to May 2018 Trump's personal attorney.    Trump signed a nonbinding "letter of intent" dated October 13, 2015, to proceed with the project.    The letter, also signed by Russian investor Andrei Rozov, was forwarded to Cohen by Sater.    He boasted to Cohen about his connections to Vladimir Putin, saying in an email to Cohen on November 13, 2015, "Buddy our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it.    I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this.    I will manage this process."    He also asserted that he had secured financing for the project through the Russian state-owned VTB Bank, which was under sanctions by the United States government.    BuzzFeed News reported on March 12, 2018, that Mueller's investigators had questioned Sater, and on April 13, 2018, reported that a former Russian spy had helped secure financing for the project.    In 2010, Sater was provided business cards describing himself as "Senior Advisor to Donald Trump" with an email address at    In a 2013 sworn affidavit, Trump said "If [Sater] were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn't know what he looked like," and in 2015 he stated "Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it.    I'm not that familiar with him."
    Sater is scheduled to testify publicly before the House Intelligence Committee on March 14, 2019.
[Cohen was the whole deal and let it get out of hand and he only got 3 years and you can see why the Democrats want to have him testify, since the Mueller probe has not gotten them anything so they will try to make their own probe.].

3/3/2019 French tax on internet giants could yield 500 million euros per year: Le Maire
FILE PHOTO - The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain November 1, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo
    PARIS (Reuters) – A three percent tax on the French revenue of large internet companies could yield 500 million euros (568.5 million pounds) per year, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday.
    Le Maire told Le Parisien newspaper the tax is aimed at companies with worldwide digital revenue of at least 750 million and French revenue of more than 25 million euros.
    He said the tax would target some 30 companies, mostly American, but also Chinese, German, Spanish and British, as well as one French firm and several firms with French origins that have been bought by foreign companies.
    The paper listed Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple (the four so-called “GAFA” companies) but also Uber, Airbnb, Booking and French online advertising specialist Criteo as targets.
    “A taxation system for the 21st century has to built on what has value today, and that is data,” Le Maire said.
    He added it is also a matter of fiscal justice, as the digital giants pay some 14 percentage points less tax than European small-and-medium sized companies.
    Fairer taxes are a key demand of the “yellow vest” protests seen across France in the past three months.
    Le Maire said the tax would target platform companies that earn a commission on putting companies in touch with customers.
    Companies selling their products on their own websites would not be targeted, such as French retailer Darty which sells TVs and washing machines via its website.
    But companies such as Amazon earning money as a digital intermediary between a producer and a client would have to pay.
    The tax would also target the sales of personal data for advertising purposes.
    In order to avoid penalizing companies who already pay taxes in France, the amount paid will be deductible from pretax income, Le Maire said.
    He will present a draft law to the cabinet on Wednesday before it is presented to parliament.
    France has led a push for firms with significant digital revenue in the European Union to pay more tax at source, but has made little headway as Germany is cool to the idea, while member states with low corporate tax rates such as Luxembourg and Ireland firmly oppose the proposal.
    In an interview with weekly Journal du Dimanche, Carrefour CEO Alexandre Bompard said it is high time to end the fiscal imbalance between brick-and-mortar firms like his and the U.S. and Chinese internet platform companies.
    “They pour their products onto markets without even paying value-added tax, and hardly any other tax at all, it is intolerable.    On the same turnover they should pay the same tax,” he said.
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq and Elizabeth Pineau; editing by Jason Neely)
[Those companies will either raise their prices or cut back on freebies to make the difference which you will be paying for it in the future somehow.].

3/3/2019 Republican Congressman Jim Jordan Talks on Michael Cohen Testimony by OAN Newsroom
    Representative Jim Jordan defends President Trump after Michael Cohen’s testimony.
    During an interview on Sunday, the Ohio Republican said Cohen continues to lie to Congress.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, listens to a response
to his question from Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, as Cohen testifies before the
House Oversight and Reform Committee, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    He also talked about the Democrats deciding to make Cohen their first announced witness of the 116th Congress, who also happens to be the guy who is going to prison for lying to Congress.
    Jordan was then asked if he believed certain things Cohen said in his testimony, including that he’s never been to Prague — which is mentioned in the anti-Trump dossier.
    Jordan also expressed his biggest concern, is what took place with the top five people — Jim Comey, Andrew McCabe, Jim Baker, Lisa Page, and Peter Strzok — who ran the Clinton investigation.
    He said those same people launched and ran the Russia investigation, have either been fired, demoted, or left the FBI.
[The bottom line is why didn't this committee bring those five in to be grilled.].

3/3/2019 France’s Macron looks to overcome Italy row, warns against nationalism
FILE PHOTO - French President Emmanuel Macron waves German Chancellor Angela Merkel departs after a meeting
at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
    ROME (Reuters) – French President Emmanuele Macron, warning against the dangers of resurgent nationalism, said on Sunday that France and Italy needed to overcome their recent diplomatic clash and work together again for the good of Europe.
    Ties between the traditionally close allies have grown increasingly tense since mid-2018, with Italy’s Deputy Prime Ministers Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini firing verbal pot-shots at Macron and his government, mostly over migration.
    France briefly recalled its ambassador to Rome last month in protest, but Macron told state Italian television RAI that the two nations had shared interests that needed to be nurtured.
    “There was a misunderstanding.    The most recent upset is not serious as far as I am concerned and we must get over it,” Macron said in an interview with RAI.
    While Macron has promoted an avowedly pro-EU program, Di Maio and Salvini have regularly denounced the European Union, saying it has grown distant from ordinary citizens and sucked away too much power from national governments.
    Far-right parties like Salvini’s League have grown in strength across the continent and are expected to chalk up major gains in European parliamentary elections at the end of May.
    Macron said EU member states needed to shun nationalism and instead had to work together to resolve myriad problems, such as mass immigration from Africa and economic slowdowns.
    “There are people who defend nationalism, who want to fight our Europe.    Me, I will fight these people with force, because I think they will … make us lose 10 years, 20 years by dragging us back to (old) divisions,” he said.
    He also called on the Italian government to drop its objections to a planned high-speed rail link being built between the French city of Lyon and Italy’s Turin and let the multi-billion-euro project proceed.
    The so-called TAV line has been delayed for months because Di Maio’s 5-Star Movement opposes it on environmental and cost grounds.    By contrast, coalition partner the League backs the venture.
    “This is very important for the cross-border regions and is long-awaited.    A choice was made by our predecessors, things were signed and commitments made, which we support,” Macron said, adding that modern technologies could overcome environmental problems.
(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Susan Fenton)
[I am getting the feeling that Italy may join the BREXIT plan if the Pope will let them.].

3/4/2019 Omar asked to apologize for ‘slur’ by William Cummings, USA TODAY
    Freshman Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar is once again facing criticism and charges of anti-Semitism from her own party’s leadership for comments about the political influence of Israel.
    On Friday, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., called on Omar to apologize for “a vile, anti-Semitic slur” she made at a town hall event in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday when she suggested Israel demands “allegiance” from American lawmakers.
    “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” the congresswoman from Minnesota said in a video of the event shared on Facebook.
    She was joined at the event by Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.; and Mark Pocan, D-Wis.
    Omar and Tlaib are the first Muslim women elected to Congress.    Omar said she was concerned that because of their religion, “a lot of our Jewish colleagues, a lot of our constituents, a lot of our allies, (think) that everything we say about Israel (is) anti-Semitic because we are Muslim.”
    Omar said she was “sensitive to” and “pained by” accusations of intolerance.    But she added that “it’s almost as if every single time we say something, regardless of what it is we say,” she and Tlaib are “labeled” and “that ends the discussion because we end up defending that and nobody ever gets to have the proper debate of what is happening with Palestine.”
    Critics said Omar’s remarks played into old doubts about the loyalty of American Jews.
    “The charge of dual loyalty not only raises the ominous specter of classic anti-Semitism, but it is also deeply insulting to the millions upon millions of patriotic Americans, Jewish and non-Jewish, who stand by our democratic ally, Israel,” the American Israel Public Affairs Committee said in a statement.
    Engel said it was “unacceptable and deeply offensive to question the loyalty of fellow American citizens because of their political views, including support for the Israel-U.S. relationship,” in a statement on Friday.    “Worse, Representative Omar’s comments leveled that charge by invoking a vile anti-Semitic slur."
    “This episode is especially disappointing following so closely on another instance of Ms. Omar seeming to invoke an anti-Semitic stereotype,” Engel said, referring to her statement last month that money from AIPAC was used to buy support for Israel.
    “Her comments were outrageous and deeply hurtful, and I ask that she retract them, apologize and commit to making her case on policy issues without resorting to attacks that have no place in the Foreign Affairs Committee or the House of Representatives,” he said.
    Last month, Omar sparked outrage when she tweeted that American lawmakers’ lack of criticism for Israeli policies was “all about Benjamins” and AIPAC’s influence.    The remarks drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, and House Speaker Nancy, D-Calif., demanded that she apologize.
    Omar did apologize for – and has since deleted – the tweets.
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar has drawn new fire after she seemingly implied Israel demands allegiance from U.S. lawmakers. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP
[The bottom line is keep your opinions on that subject to yourself.].

3/4/2019 House lines up 60 Trump officials for new probe - Judiciary Committee to look for obstruction by Hope Yen, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – Declaring it’s “very clear” President Donald Trump obstructed justice, the chairman of the House committee in charge of impeachment said the panel is requesting documents Monday from more than 60 people from Trump’s administration, family and business as part of a rapidly expanding Russia investigation.
    Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said the House Judiciary Committee wants to review documents from the Justice Department, the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. and Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg. Former White House chief of staff John Kelly and former White House counsel Don McGahn also are likely targets, he said.
    “We are going to initiate investigations into abuses of power, into corruption and into obstruction of justice,” Nadler said.    “We will do everything we can to get that evidence.”
    Asked if he believed Trump obstructed justice, Nadler said, “Yes, I do.”
    Nadler isn’t calling the inquiry an impeachment investigation but said House Democrats, now in the majority, are simply doing “our job to protect the rule of law” after Republicans during the first two years of Trump’s term were “shielding the president from any proper accountability.”
    “We’re far from making decisions” about impeachment, he said.
    In a tweet on Sunday, Trump blasted anew the Russia investigation, calling it a partisan probe unfairly aimed at discrediting his win in the 2016 presidential election.
    “I am an innocent man being persecuted by some very bad, conflicted & corrupt people in a Witch Hunt that is illegal & should never have been allowed to start – And only because I won the Election!” he wrote.
    Nadler’s comments follow a bad political week for Trump.    He emerged empty-handed from a high-profile summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un on denuclearization, and Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, in three days of congressional testimony, publicly characterized the president as a “con man” and “cheat.”
    Newly empowered House Democrats are flexing their strength with blossoming investigations.    A half-dozen House committees are now probing alleged coordination between Trump associates and Russia’s efforts to sway the 2016 election, Trump’s tax returns and possible conflicts of interest involving the Trump family business and policy-making.    The House oversight committee has set a Monday deadline for the White House to turn over documents related to security clearances after The New York Times reported that the president ordered officials to grant a clearance to his son-in-law Jared Kushner over the objections of national security officials.
    Nadler’s added lines of inquiry also come as special counsel Robert Mueller is believed to be wrapping up his work into possible questions of Trump campaign collusion and obstruction in Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
    House Minority Leader Kevin Mc-Carthy, R-Calif., on Sunday accused Democrats of prejudging Trump purely on partisan politics.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said Sunday that “we’re far from making decisions” about impeachment. ANDREW HARNIK/AP FILE
[This tells me that Nadler and his hordes do not believe Mueller has any collusion, so apparently they are going to create some.].

3/4/2019 Trump says Cohen hearing may have contributed to North Korea summit failure by Josh Smith and Hyonhee Shin
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the U.S. military after his summit meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un
in Vietnam during a refueling stop at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, U.S., February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
    SEOUL (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that the Democrats’ decision to interview his longtime fixer, lawyer Michael Cohen, on the same day as a meeting with Kim Jong Un may have contributed to the North Korea summit ending with no deal.
    Trump and Kim met for the second time last week in Hanoi to try to negotiate a denuclearization deal as former Trump aide Cohen was testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee, accusing Trump of ordering his personal attorney to make threats for him about 500 times over the last 10 years.
    “For the Democrats to interview in open hearings a convicted liar & fraudster, at the same time as the very important Nuclear Summit with North Korea, is perhaps a new low in American politics and may have contributed to the ‘walk’,” Trump said on Twitter, referring to his decision to walk away from what he previously said was a bad deal with Kim.
    “Never done when a president is overseas.    Shame!
    When asked about Cohen’s testimony at a press conference on Thursday in Hanoi after Trump had abruptly decided to end the summit early, the president called the allegations “incorrect” and criticized the decision to have the hearing while he was away.
    “I tried to watch as much as I could,” Trump said.    “I wasn’t able to watch too much because I’ve been a little bit busy, but I think having a fake hearing like that and having it in the middle of this very important summit is really a terrible thing.”
    South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for officials to try to find a way to restart talks between the North and the United States.
    “I believe the North Korea-U.S. dialogue will ultimately reach an agreement, but it is never desirable for the stalemate to continue for long,” Moon told a meeting with top foreign policy and security aides.
    The breakdown of the summit was a blow for Moon, who had hoped eased U.S. sanctions would help lead to a restart of inter-Korean projects including a factory park, key to his vision for a pan-peninsula economic community.
    Moon also told officials to explore ways to proceed with the inter-Korean initiatives “within the framework of sanctions,” for which Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said he would seek U.S. consultations.
    Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said she would push for a fresh round of three-way talks with North Korean and U.S. officials, built on a January gathering in Stockholm.
    Trump spoke to Moon after leaving Hanoi, asking him to play an “active role as mediator,” according to Moon’s spokesman.
    The spokesman said on Sunday that South Korea would pursue “behind-the-scenes” meetings with the North, possibly including sending a special envoy to Pyongyang.
(Reporting by Josh Smith, Hyonhee Shin and Joyce Lee; Editing by Michael Perry and Nick Macfie)

3/4/2019 Venezuela’s Guaido to risk arrest as he returns home to challenge Maduro by Angus Berwick
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognized as the country's rightful interim ruler, waves next
to his wife Fabiana Rosales while leaving a hotel in Salinas, Ecuador March 3, 2019. REUTERS/Daniel Tapia
    CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido plans to run the risk of arrest by returning home on Monday, after he ignored a court-imposed travel ban and toured Latin American allies to boost support for his campaign to oust President Nicolas Maduro.
    Guaido’s return, details of which his team have kept under wraps, could become the next flashpoint in his duel with Maduro as he seeks to keep up momentum and spur his international backers to further isolate the socialist government.
    His arrest could allow the opposition to highlight how the Maduro administration represses political foes and prompt the United States to impose even harsher sanctions.    But it could also strip the opposition of a public figurehead who has brought unity after years of infighting.
    Guaido, who is recognized as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state by most Western countries, said on Sunday he would undertake the “historic challenge” of returning in time to lead protests on Monday and Tuesday during the Carnival holiday period, an unusual time for demonstrations.
    “If the regime dares, of course, to kidnap us, it will be the last mistake they make,” Guaido said during a broadcast on Twitter, without disclosing his location.    Guaido said they had prepared “the steps to follow” in case he was detained.
    Guaido secretly left Venezuela for Colombia, in violation of a Supreme Court order, to coordinate efforts there on Feb 23 to send humanitarian aid into Venezuela to alleviate widespread shortages of food and medicine.
    But troops loyal to Maduro blocked convoys of aid trucks sent from Colombia and Brazil, leading to clashes that killed at least six people along the Brazilian border, rights groups say.
    From Colombia, he then traveled to Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay to shore up Latin American support for a transition government that would precede free and fair elections.
    On Sunday, he departed by plane from the Ecuadorean coastal town of Salinas but has not appeared publicly since, beyond the Twitter broadcast.    To arrive in Caracas by Monday morning, he could take commercial flights from Bogota or Panama City.
    Maduro, who labels Guaido a coupmongering U.S. puppet, has said his arrest depends on the justice system.
    “He can’t just come and go.    He will have to face justice, and justice prohibited him from leaving the country,” he told ABC News last week.
    The United States has warned Maduro of the consequences of arresting Guaido and the Treasury imposed new sanctions on Friday targeting Venezuelan military officials.
    “If Maduro took that step, I think it would just hasten the day that he leaves,” U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton told Fox News on Sunday.
    After the military blocked the aid convoys, Guaido proposed that “all options be kept open” to topple Maduro, but foreign military intervention is seen as unlikely and his international backers are instead using a mix of sanctions and diplomacy.
(Reporting by Angus Berwick; Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick in WASHINGTON; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

3/4/2019 Oil prices rise on trade deal hopes, OPEC supply cuts by Ahmad Ghaddar
An oil rig is seen in the waters on the southern coast of Pengerang, Malaysia February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
    LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Monday, buoyed by OPEC output cuts and reports that the United States and China are inching closer to a deal on a tariff row that has slowed global economic growth.
    International Brent futures were up 80 cents at $65.87 a barrel by 1037 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 55 cents at $56.35 per barrel.
    The United States and China appear close to a deal that would roll back U.S. tariffs on at least $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, as Beijing makes pledges on structural economic changes and eliminates retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, a source briefed on negotiations said on Sunday in Washington.
    Hopes of an end to the trade spat between the two world’s biggest economies added support to a market that has been rallying for the past two months on cuts to production.
    Supply from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries fell to a four-year low in February, a Reuters survey found, as top exporter Saudi Arabia and its allies over-delivered on the group’s supply pact while Venezuelan output registered a further involuntary decline.
    In the United States, there are signs that the oil production boom of the past years, which has seen crude output rise by more than 2 million bpd since early 2018 to more than 12 million bpd, may slow down.
    U.S. energy firms last week cut the number of oil rigs looking for new reserves to the lowest in almost nine months as some producers follow through on plans to cut spending despite an increase of more than 20 percent in crude futures so far this year.
    Hedge funds and other money managers raised their net long, or bullish, positions on Brent crude by 15,887 contracts to 291,336 in the week to Feb. 26.
    “While much of the move higher in the market has come about due to short covering, in more recent weeks we have seen fresh longs starting to return to the market, suggesting that sentiment is turning more positive,” bank ING said.
    But demand side pressure may put a cap on further rises.
    “Refineries are now clearly winding down for maintenance … That means softer crude off-take by refineries and softer signals from crude oil spot prices …” chief commodities analyst at SEB bank, Bjarne Schieldrop, said.
(Additional reporting by Henning Gloystein in Singapore and Colin Packham in Sydney; Editing by Louise Heavens)

3/4/2019 Roger Stone suggests Mueller framed him in post that could violate gag order by OAN Newsroom
Former campaign adviser for President Donald Trump, Roger Stone arrives at federal court
in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
    Roger Stone may have violated his gag order.    In an Instagram story Sunday he uploaded a photo that suggested he’s being framed by special counsel Robert Mueller.
    Though Stone has made similar accusations before, this is the first time he has done so since being put under a gag order a week ago.
    The gag order was meant to stop him from speaking to the media and criticizing prosecutors involved in his case.
    The order was expanded on Friday after the judge in the case slammed Stone for not informing the court about an imminent book release that would likely violate the original gag order.
    The post was removed shortly after Stone’s lawyer received inquiries from the media about it.
This was a pun on the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit
[I think it is a joke and nowhere above did he violate a gag order since Mueller, or anyone is mentioned except an entity named who, or criticize anyone.    Judge give it a break and do not gag on it and since the guy needs money for his attorney’s since Mueller and his CNN/FBI raiders have overdone his case.]

3/4/2019 Sen. Warner, Sen. Burr spar over collusion evidence by OAN Newsroom
    Senator Mark Warner is contradicting his fellow members of the Senate Intelligence Committee by claiming there is direct evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
    While speaking on CNN Sunday, Warner claimed there is evidence Russian officials reached out to the Trump campaign as well as proof that members of the campaign welcomed the opportunity to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., speaks after hearing some of the testimony from Michael Cohen before a closed door hearing of the
Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    However, these comments directly contradict those made by committee chairman Senator Richard Burr.
    “I’m not sure how to put it any clearer than I said it before — we have no factual evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia,” Burr stated.
    The Senate Intelligence Committee is conducting an investigation of their own outside the special counsel office’s probe.    They are expected to release a bipartisan report based on their findings.

3/4/2019 Ahead of EU elections, Macron unveils plan for ‘European renaissance’
FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron waves German Chancellor Angela Merkel departs after a meeting
at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo
    PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron has made an impassioned defense of a new Europe in a newspaper column published in each of the 28 member states in which he laid out his ideas for a “European renaissance” ahead of EU elections in May.
    Calling the vote decisive and warning of a Europe in danger, his words are intended as a wake-up call for the bloc as he seeks to push fundamental reform of the European Union.
    Macron’s column coincides with rising tensions in the West, shaken by U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies and Britain’s departure from the EU.    A more assertive China and Russia also pose major challenges.
    A number of proposals made in the column to appear on Tuesday in newspapers ranging from The Guardian in Britain to Die Welt in Germany and El Pais in Spain aim at protecting and defending Europe’s citizens while giving the bloc new impetus in the face of global competition.
    “In a few weeks, the European elections will be decisive for the future of our continent.    Europe has never been as necessary since World War Two as it is now and yet never has Europe been in such danger,” Macron wrote.    “Nationalism offers nothing.    It is a project of rejection.”
    Proposals include creating a European agency to protect democracies which would provide experts to safeguard elections from manipulation and a ban on financing by foreign powers of European political parties.
    Macron also suggested reviewing the Schengen system and creating a common border police and European asylum office.
    The French leader is focused on championing a “Europe that protects” for the May 26 European election as he seeks to convince voters with plans aimed at reforming Europe’s trade, competition, digital and climate policies, including creating a European climate bank to finance the ecological transition.
    He also urged a ban on companies that threaten European strategic interests and called for a type of Europe first policy as America and China have done.
    As part of efforts to convince European citizens not to back nationalists, Macon also urged for European institutions and states to take part in a “Conference for Europe” by year-end.    Its objective would be to propose changes to the bloc’s political project without taboos, including reviewing existing treaties.
    “In this Europe, the people will have truly taken back control of their destiny; in this Europe, Britain, I am sure, will find its place,” Macron wrote.
(Reporting by John Irish and Marine Pennetier; Editing by Bate Felix and Janet Lawrence)

3/4/2019 In jab at Maduro, Guaido makes triumphant return to Venezuela by Deisy Buitrago, Angus Berwick and Carlos Jasso
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognized as the country's rightful interim
ruler, greets supporters during a rally against Venezuelan President
Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela March 4, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
    CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) – Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido returned to his country on Monday after flouting a court-imposed travel ban by touring Latin American countries to boost support for his campaign to tighten regional pressure on President Nicolas Maduro.
    A crowd of cheering supporters greeted Guaido and his wife as they stepped into the Maiquetia airport’s arrivals hall, and then sped to an opposition rally in eastern Caracas where thousands had gathered to welcome him.     The return of Guaido, recognized by most Western nations as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state, signals that Maduro’s adversaries have at least temporarily avoided the arrest of a leader who has united the traditionally fractured opposition.
    But it will also lift pressure on Maduro to act against Guaido as his authority continues to wane and the country’s economic meltdown fuels malnutrition and hunger.
    “Hope has been born and it will not die – things are going well,” Guaido told the crowd at a plaza in the Las Mercedes district.    “We are going to celebrate this small victory today.”
    He announced plans to meet on Tuesday with public employees, who have been historically pressured by the ruling Socialist Party to join pro-government rallies, as well as for a major march on Saturday.
    Guaido secretly left Venezuela for Colombia, in violation of a Supreme Court order, to coordinate efforts there on Feb. 23 to send humanitarian aid into Venezuela to alleviate widespread shortages of food and medicine.
    But troops blocked convoys of aid trucks sent from Colombia and Brazil, leading to clashes that killed at least six people along the Brazilian border, rights groups say.
    From Colombia, he traveled to Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay to shore up Latin American support for a transition government that would precede free and fair elections.
    On Sunday, he departed by plane from the Ecuadorean coastal town of Salinas but had not appeared publicly since.
    Venezuelan media outlets reported that he flew from Panama City to Caracas.
    He had kept details of his trip under wraps and he arrived without prior notice, meeting ambassadors for European countries at the airport.
    Guaido calls Maduro a usurper and says his presidency is illegitimate after he secured re-election last year in a vote widely considered a sham.    Maduro retains control of state institutions and the apparent loyalty of senior figures in the armed forces.
    Asked by a reporter how he was received at the airport by immigration authorities, who could have prevented his entry for violating the travel ban, Guaido said they addressed him as president – a swipe at Maduro, who calls him a U.S. puppet.
    “Here’s my passport, safe and sound,” Guaido said, showing it to the crowd.
    The Information Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    Maduro, who denies there is a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, has said Guaido’s arrest depends on the justice system.
    “He can’t just come and go.    He will have to face justice, and justice prohibited him from leaving the country,” he told ABC News last week.
    Protesters in Caracas on Monday, wearing dressed in white and chanting “Freedom,” said arresting Guaido would spark new demonstrations.
    “If the regime has even a little bit of conscience, they should not arrest Guaido because people truly would not put up with it,” said Franklin Lopez, a 60-year-old administrator.
    The United States has warned Maduro of the consequences of arresting Guaido and the U.S. Treasury imposed new sanctions on Friday targeting Venezuelan military officials.
    After the military blocked the aid convoys, Guaido proposed that “all options be kept open” to topple Maduro, but foreign military intervention is seen as unlikely and his international backers are instead using a mix of sanctions and diplomacy.
    “President Guaido safely returned to Venezuela today,” U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Twitter.    “The United States fully supports Guaido and the National Assembly.    His safety must be guaranteed.    The world is watching.”
    The government has jailed dozens of opposition leaders and activists for seeking to overthrow Maduro through violent street demonstrations in 2014 and 2017, including Guaido’s mentor, Leopoldo Lopez, who remains under house arrest.
    Turning away from previous hopes of a swift end to Maduro’s government, Guaido said on Sunday it would be a “long and difficult process.”
    He has offered future amnesties to state officials and solders who recognize Guaido, though the military has largely remained loyal to Maduro despite Colombia’s migration agency reporting several hundred desertions since Feb. 23.
(Additional reporting by Vivian Sequera, Fabian Cambero, and Shaylim Valderrama in Caracas, Marco Bello in Bogota, and Efrain Otero in Maiquetia; Writing by Angus Berwick and Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Susan Thomas and James Dalgleish)

3/4/2019 Berlin arms policy risks ‘German-free’ European defense projects by Andrea Shalal
FILE PHOTO: German Air Force technicians inspect Eurofighter Typhoon during the air policing
scramble in Amari air base, Estonia, March 2, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo
    BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s latest restrictions on arms exports risk making Berlin a pariah in Europe’s defense industry, threatening future collaboration on weapons development and its own ambitions to foster a common European defense policy.
    Germany’s decision to unilaterally halt all shipments of military equipment to Saudi Arabia in November after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has brought long-standing differences between Berlin and its European partners over arms controls to a tipping point.
    The move has put a question mark over billions of euros of military orders, including a 10 billion pound deal to sell 48 Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Riyadh, and has prompted some firms such as Airbus to strip German components from some of their products.
    With British defense contractor BAE Systems, the company behind the Eurofighter Typhoon, warning that the German embargo would weigh on its financial performance, London and Paris are racing to convince Berlin to lift it.
    The Social Democrats (SPD), junior partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, want to keep the arms freeze against Saudi Arabia in place and reach agreement on a more restrictive export policy, keen to avoid further losses among German voters who are cautious on arms sales.
    Merkel’s conservatives, keen to smooth the rift with France and Britain, are piling pressure on the SPD by accusing them of jeopardizing German industry and jobs.
    But the SPD notes that the coalition parties agreed last year to halt future arms sales to any countries involved in the Yemen conflict, which includes Saudi Arabia.
    Paralyzed by domestic political squabbling, Berlin on Friday put off a decision about extending the embargo beyond its current March 9 deadline till the end of the month, fuelling concerns among European allies and industry.
    “i>We see no way to resolve the issue at this point,” said one European industry official.    “There’s a complete stalemate.”
    Germany, which has tightened controls on arms sales in recent years, accounts for just under 2 percent of total Saudi arms imports.    But its role in making components for other countries’ exports means that Berlin can still derail lucrative European projects.
    In addition to the Eurofighter Typhoon contract, Germany’s Saudi arms ban is also holding up shipments of Meteor air-to-air missiles to Saudi Arabia by MBDA, which is jointly owned by Airbus, BAE Systems and Italy’s Leonardo, since the missiles’ propulsion system and warheads are built in Germany.
    Two sources familiar with coalition discussions said the parties could agree to a partial lifting of the freeze for a number of patrol boats being built for Saudi Arabia by privately-held Luerssen, and the Meteor missiles, since neither system is being used in the Yemen war.    However nothing was decided, and the Eurofighter sale was still in question.
    Agreements covering the Eurofighter and the Meteor missile were meant to prevent any country unilaterally halting exports but they were framed as memorandums of understanding to safeguard confidentiality, not binding formal treaties.
    Berlin’s failure to abide by these agreements and its lack of coordination with France on the Saudi arms embargo have Paris convinced it needs a binding agreement before moving ahead on joint weapons programs with Germany valued at tens of billions of euros over the next decades.
    Paris and Berlin have drafted a bilateral paper spelling out that the two countries will only block each other’s exports when “direct interests or national security are compromised,” excluding something like the Khashoggi case.
    But discord within Germany’s ruling coalition has stalled its completion, according to two sources familiar with the issue.    It also remains unclear if the bilateral pact needs German parliamentary approval.
    The SPD had no immediate new comment on the issue, but party leader Andrea Nahles last month said her party would insist on agreement on tighter German export guidelines before moving forward on other issues such as Franco-German defense ties.
    Eric Trappier, chief executive of Rafale-maker Dassault Aviation, said last week it was watching the process closely.    “It is obvious that if we are really going to launch a Franco-German fighter program, the export rules need to be defined as soon as possible,” he told reporters.
    Dirk Hoke, head of Airbus Defence and Space, told Reuters an agreement was imperative before the two countries could move ahead on the new warplane, or sign a contract as expected by year’s end for joint work on a new European drone.
    “This will harm Germany’s partnership with France in the longer-term if no serious, long-term solutions are found,” he said.
    The spat over arms also impedes German and French efforts to more closely integrate European defense procurement and programs, and ultimately build a European army. Exports are critical to ensuring the success of any jointly developed programs because they make them more economical.
    “Germany’s export policies are the main reason behind France’s decision to develop a successor to the Franco-German anti-tank weapon of the 1970s,” said Matthias Wachter, a senior official with the BDI Federation of German Industry.
    “We in industry have the impression that the German government is paralyzed when it comes to military procurement and export.”
    Asked whether Berlin’s policy was isolating it in Europe, Germany government spokesman Steffen Seibert said: “We know that this issue is a topic for several of our most important allies and that a decision is required.    That is why we are carrying on intensive discussions inside the German government, and will make decisions in March.”
    The issue of how to accommodate differing views on arms controls in Europe is not new.
    The 1972 Franco-German Debre-Schmidt accord called for consultation over arms exports, preventing one side from banning the exports of the other.    But divergent public attitudes strained the compromise over time, and a spate of new projects has prompted calls for a new look.
    What is different this time round, is the action companies are taking to rid themselves of their German suppliers.
    While it would be nearly impossible to remove the German content – about a third – from the Eurofighter, Airbus has begun redesigning its C295 military transporter to replace German-built navigational lamps that account for 4 percent of the plane, company sources told Reuters last week.
    It is also looking for alternatives to German parts that account for about 15 percent of the content on the A330-based MRTT tanker that it has sold to 12 countries including Saudi Arabia, one of the sources said.
    Similar moves are underway in France, where German curbs on arms exports to other countries have already caused one smaller company, PME Nicolas Industrie, to announce dozens of layoffs.
    France is also developing on its own a successor to the MILAN anti-tank guided missile it built with Germany in the 1970s, and French truck maker Arquus has begun marketing a truck for export to the Middle East as “German-free,” sources said.
    Germany’s credibility and autonomy are at stake, said Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, former adviser to the German president and director of the German Marshall Fund (GMF) in Berlin.
    “The long-term consequence of the current export policy could be that there will no longer be a defense industry in Germany,” he said.
    Germany’s defense industry employs about 80,000 people and generated sales of about 25 billion euros in 2014, a fraction of the 1 million jobs and 370 billion euros in sales reported by the German car industry in the same year, a study commissioned by the German Economy Ministry shows.
    Any moves to replace German parts in weapons systems could take 2-3 years to implement, and even longer to undo, said one source involved in the issue.    “Once you’ve switched to German-free production, it will take years to go back.”
    The U.S. satellite industry is still feeling the brunt of strict U.S. export rules known as International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), whose implementation fueled the rise of “ITAR-free” satellite production in Europe and cost U.S. firms billions of dollars of potential orders.
(Additional reporting by Tim Hepher in Paris and Andreas Rinke and Holger Hansen in Berlin; Editing by Carmel Crimmins)

3/4/2019 U.S. returns higher diplomatic status to EU’s Washington mission
FILE PHOTO: From left, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, Energy Secretary Rick Perry,
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, EU Commission Vice President Federica Mogherini, EU Commission Member
Miguel Arias Canete, EU Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic, and Federal Minister Juliane Bogner Strauss
pose before a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, Thursday, July 12, 2018. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has restored a higher protocol status to European Union diplomats in Washington after a snub that highlighted how the traditional allies were becoming estranged.
    The trans-Atlantic alliance has been damaged since Trump came to power in 2017 by feuds over trade, security and international affairs including accords on climate change and Iran’s nuclear program.
    Late last year, the Trump administration downgraded the protocol status for the bloc’s diplomats without notifying Brussels.
    In a statement to welcome a new EU ambassador to Washington, the U.S. mission in Brussels said on Monday that the bloc had been restored to its previous status in the U.S. capital.
    “The United States and the European Union are a strong force when we work together,” Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the EU, said in a message coinciding with the EU’s new envoy, Stavros Lambrinidis, taking up his post in Washington.
    “Europe’s security and success are inextricably linked to that of the United States,” Sondland added.    “And this level of engagement and cooperation should be recognized appropriately in all settings.”
    The downgrade had meant that the bloc’s Washington-based diplomats were less likely to be invited to high-profile events and had lower importance than under Barack Obama.
    “We are pleased that the U.S. took the decision to revert to the usual practice,” said a spokeswoman for the European Commission, the EU’s executive.
(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Mark Heinrich)

3/4/2019 Blue states pushing for bypass of electoral college in future elections by OAN Newsroom
    A growing number of blue states are making efforts to bypass the electoral college, and instead decide future presidential elections with the popular vote.
    One America’s Chris Pocock has more on their strategy and why conservatives say the move is likely unconstitutional.
These two both lost by the Electoral college vote and had the popular vote thank God
Of course, the Democrats want to get rid of the Electoral College as they had former Dem. Calif. Senator Barbara Boxer to push that
But, Republican Colorado Senator Cory Gardner spoke against it since his states votes would not count
Below is the way the elections went for the Mid-Terms seen in the following.

    The United States Electoral College is a body of electors established by the United States Constitution, constituted every four years for the sole purpose of electing the president and vice president of the United States.    The Electoral College consists of 538 electors, and an absolute majority of 270 electoral votes is required to win an election.    Pursuant to Article II, Section 1, Clause 2, the legislature of each state determines the manner by which its electors are chosen.
    Each state's number of electors is equal to the combined total of the state's membership in the Senate and House of Representatives; currently there are 100 senators and 435 representatives.
    Additionally, the Twenty-third Amendment provides that the District of Columbia (D.C.) is entitled to a number of electors no greater than that of the least populous state (i.e. 3).
    Following the national presidential election day in the first week of November, each state counts its popular votes pursuant to that state's laws to designate presidential electors.    State electors meet in their respective state capitals in December to cast their votes.    The results are certified by the states and D.C. to Congress, where they are tabulated nationally in the first week of January before a joint meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives.    If a majority of votes are not cast for a candidate, the House resolves itself into a presidential election session with one presidential vote assigned to each of the fifty state delegations, excluding the District of Columbia.    The elected president and vice president are inaugurated on January 20.    While the electoral vote has given the same result as the popular vote in most elections, this has not been the case in a few elections, including the 2000 and 2016 elections.
So, envision if there were no Electoral College what would have happened in the 2016 presidential Elections.
    I lived in California from 1974-1987 before returning to Kentucky and at one point when I would get off work at my 8-5 job, and on my way to the vote I could hear who won the presidency before I even had a chance to vote, which I thought was weird.    But today it is not final until late in the evening.
    As you see in the below images without the Electoral College we could have one party try to control all the heavily populated states and all the states with very little population votes would not even count.
    Look at all the states that specific states vote would not even count since the Blue States who the Democrats have spent all there efforts on the largest population states and during the last Mid-Term gained ground on states that have had a large influx of immigrants that helped them get the House back.
    Half of the population lives in these counties and if you check the Democrats attempted to control those areas, and it obvious they want to get rid of the Electoral College for the same reason.
    God help us if they win the 2020 elections and achieve turning this country into a Socialist regime.

3/4/2019 President Trump accuses Democrats of presidential harassment by OAN Newsroom
    The so-called “presidential harassment” continues from Democrats, with Jerry Nadler sending a document request to the Trump administration.
    On Monday, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the letter from the House Judiciary Committee chairman has been received.    She said White House counsel’s office will review it and respond at an appropriate time.
President Donald Trump points to the cheering audience as he arrives to speak at
Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2019, in Oxon Hill, Md., Saturday, March 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    While speaking over the weekend at CPAC, President Trump accused Democrats of abusing their power.        He said there is no collusion, so they are shifting focus to attack him on a personal level.    He also commented on the situation during an event at the White House Monday.
    “I cooperate all the time with everybody, and you know the beautiful thing: no collusion; it’s all a hoax,” he stated.    “You’ll learn about that as you grow older — it’s a political hoax, there’s no collusion.”
    In recent weeks, Nadler has hired new lawyers to review Mueller’s final report.    He said it will not end House investigations.
    More than 80 agencies, individuals, and entities received the letter. This includes current and former White House officials as well as members of the president’s family.

3/4/2019 U.S. Treasury says taking extraordinary measures to avoid debt ceiling
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin speaks at the Jordan Growth
and Opportunity Conference in London, Britain February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury is taking extraordinary measures to avoid violating the government debt limit, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a letter to House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday.
    He said he was suspending investment in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund and a “debt issuance suspension period” would begin on Monday and last until June 5.
    “I respectfully urge Congress to protect the full faith and credit of the United States by acting to increase the statutory debt limit as soon as possible,” Mnuchin said.
(Reporting by David Lawder; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Eric Beech)

3/5/2019 Trump says he plans to end India’s preferential trade treatment
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks to the National Association of Attorneys General in the
State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 4, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he intends to end India’s preferential trade treatment under a program that allows $5.6 billion worth of Indian exports to enter the United States duty free.
    “I am providing notice of my intent to terminate the designation of India as a beneficiary developing country under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program,” Trump said in a letter to congressional leaders.
    “I am taking this step because, after intensive engagement between the United States and the Government of India, I have determined that India has not assured the United States that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to the markets of India,” Trump said.
    Trump, who has vowed to reduce U.S. trade deficits, has repeatedly called out India for its high tariffs.
    The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with India was $27.3 billion in 2017, according to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office.
    India is the world’s largest beneficiary of the GSP program and ending its participation would be the strongest punitive action against India since Trump took office in 2017.
    “I will continue to assess whether the Government of India is providing equitable and reasonable access to its markets, in accordance with the GSP eligibility criteria,” he said.
(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by David Alexander and Sonya Hepinstall)

3/5/2019 Oil up $0.79 to $56.69, DOW down 207 to 25,820.

3/5/2019 Democrats launch new Trump probe by Mary Clare Jalonick, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – Democrats launched a sweeping new probe of President Donald Trump on Monday, an aggressive investigation that threatens to shadow the president through the 2020 election season with inquiries into his White House, campaign and family businesses.
    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said his committee has begun the probe into possible obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power and that the panel is sending document requests to 81 people linked to the president and his associates.     The broad investigation could be setting the stage for an impeachment effort, although Democratic leaders have pledged to investigate all avenues and review special counsel Robert Mueller’s report before trying any drastic action. Nadler said the document requests, with responses to most due by March 18, are a way to “begin building the public record.”     “Over the last several years, President Trump has evaded accountability for his near-daily attacks on our basic legal, ethical and constitutional rules and norms,” Nadler said.    “Investigating these threats to the rule of law is an obligation of Congress and a core function of the House Judiciary Committee.”
    Now that Democrats hold a majority in the House, the new probe is a sign that Trump’s legal and political peril is nowhere near over, even as the special counsel’s Russia investigation winds down.    The move all but guarantees that potentially damaging allegations will follow Trump for months to come as Democrats try to keep them in the public eye.
    It is also an indication of the Democrats’ current strategy – to flood the administration with oversight requests, keeping Trump and his associates on trial publicly and also playing a long game when it comes to possible impeachment.    While some more liberal members of the Democratic caucus would like to see Trump impeached now, Democratic leaders have been more cautious.
    A list of 81 names and entities touches on all parts of Trump’s life – the White House, his businesses, his campaign and the committee that oversaw the transition from campaign to presidency.    There are also people connected to Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, including participants in a meeting with a Russian lawyer before the election.
    In a letter to the White House, the committee asks for information surrounding former FBI Director James Comey’s termination, communications with Justice Department officials, the Trump Tower meeting and multiple other matters.    White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday the White House had received the letter and that “the counsel’s office and relevant White House officials will review it and respond at the appropriate time.”
    The list includes two of the president’s sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, and many of his current and former close advisers, including Steve Bannon, longtime spokeswoman Hope Hicks, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer and former White House counsel Don McGahn.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, says documents
are being requested from 81 people. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP

3/5/2019 Ex-acting AG Whitaker leaves Justice Department
    WASHINGTON – Former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has left the Justice Department.    Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec says Whitaker’s last day was Saturday.    Whitaker was replaced last month when William Barr was confirmed as attorney general.    He became a counselor in the associate attorney general’s office.    Whitaker was elevated to acting attorney general in November after President Donald Trump ousted then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.    Whitaker was chief of staff to Sessions.

3/5/2019 Border Patrol urges wall construction as illegal border crossings hit 12-year high by OAN Newsroom
    The Trump administration’s crack down on illegal immigration has led to a rise of apprehensions at the southern border.
    According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data, immigration officials detained the largest amount of illegal border crossers in 12-years in February alone.    The total number of apprehensions hit 76,000 last month, which is up from 58,000 in January.
    Border Patrol said the rise is due to stricter border surveillance and tougher enforcement of the immigration law.
FILE – A helicopter monitors the U.S. border fence from above, seen from Tijuana, Mexico. (Photo/Daniel Ochoa De Olza/AP)
    Immigration officials said the data only reflects those caught at the border, suggesting the actual number of illegal immigrants crossing into our country is unknown.
    “You cannot compare just number of apprehensions, you also cannot compare just seizures because it’s the unknown,” stated Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost.    “i>That’s what keeps me up at night, what’s crossings through the border between ports of entry, because it is not a controlled environment and it’s getting past us.”
    Immigration officials stressed only a physical barrier can bring down crossings between ports of entry.

3/5/2019 Comey condemns GOP in WAPO op-ed, says Republicans wrong about publicizing Mueller report by OAN Newsroom
    Former FBI director James Comey inserted himself back into the news cycle by writing an op-ed in the Washington Post about the special counsel investigation.
    In his column Monday, Comey said Robert Mueller’s final report needs to be held to a stricter standard than Republicans are suggesting.    He claimed those who argue attorney general William Barr doesn’t need to publicly release Mueller’s report are wrong.
    Justice Department regulations say Mueller’s report will be given to Barr, which will make recommendations about what steps to take next.
    Despite clear headlines, Comey’s op-ed hits a familiar theme of his by blaming Republicans for obstructing the special counsel investigation.
Former FBI Director James Comey (AP/Photo)
    “The president of the United States is lying about the FBI, attacking the FBI, and attacking the rule of law in this country.    How does that makes any sense at all? Republicans used to understand that the actions of a president matter, the words of a president matter, the rule of law matters, and the truth matters.    Where are those Republicans today?” — James Comey, former FBI director.
    Speculation has increased over the past couple weeks regarding the Mueller report.    Multiple outlets have claimed the special counsel may deliver his final report to the attorney general sometime in March.
[He was not attacking, they were attacking him, and 5 of them now are terminated, quit or left to retire and the Republicans are trying to get the unredacted files to prove the truth as it is being covered up.].

3/5/2019 President Trump condemns latest wave of anti-Semitic comments from Rep. Omar by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump is speaking out against Representative Ilhan Omar for her latest round of anti-Semitic comments.
    The president tweeted Monday, calling the lawmaker’s comments about Israel “terrible.”    He explained how Jewish groups have sent a petition to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking her to remove Omar from her assignment on the Foreign Relations Committee.
    Trump tweet: “Representative Ilhan Omar is again under fire for her terrible comments concerning Israel.    Jewish groups have just sent a petition to Speaker Pelosi asking her to remove Omar from Foreign Relations Committee. A dark day for Israel!.”
In this Feb. 5, 2019 photo, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., arrives for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address
to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    The latest comments by Omar accused pro-Israel advocates, including Jewish colleagues in the House, of having an allegiance to a foreign country.
    Anti-Semitic allegations have become commonplace for Omar.    Just a couple weeks ago, President Trump condemned her previous comments against Jewish Americans.
    “What she said is so deep-seated in her heart that her lame apology, and that’s what it was, it was lame and she didn’t mean a word of it, was just not appropriate," he stated.    “I think she should resign from Congress, frankly, but at a minimum she shouldn’t be on committees, certainly that committee.”
    Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats will take the floor on Wednesday in response to the controversial remarks made by Omar.    This will be the second rebuke of the freshman Democrat from party leaders in just a matter of weeks.
[I have been hearing that she is associated with Islamic Relief USA, which may have connection to terrorist groups and wonder if the House Foreign Committee is investigating that, or are they in on it too.
Today the House Chairman Elliot Engel will not take her off of it and wants her to apologize, if that had been a Republican who said white supremists statements, or homophobia, etc. comments the Democrats would have a mob attack the building.].

3/5/2019 McConnell says national emergency will be blocked, vetoed by President Trump by OAN Newsroom
    According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, there are enough votes to block the president’s national emergency declaration.
    His comments Monday came after his colleague in Kentucky — Senator Rand Paul — said he would not support the president’s measure to obtain a wall on the southern border.    This would mean the measure would advance to the president’s desk, where it would likely be vetoed.
    Both chambers would then need a two-thirds majority in order to override President Trump’s veto.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    McConnell said he supported the president’s declaration once he made it, but would have rather seen a different avenue.
    “Once he decided to do that I said I would support it, but I was hoping he wouldn’t take that particular path,” he explained.    “I think that what is clear in the Senate is that there will be enough votes to pass the resolution of disapproval, which will then be vetoed by the President and then in all likelihood the veto will be upheld in the House.”
    McConnell added, he fears the move could set a dangerous precedent for Democrats to use a declaration to advance legislation on gun control or climate change.

3/5/2019 President Trump signs executive order to help prevent veteran suicides by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump shows off an executive order on a “National Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End Veteran Suicide,”
in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    President Trump is continuing to make good on his campaign promise to help veterans.    He signed an executive order to combat veteran suicide at the White House Tuesday.
    The ‘Prevents’ initiative establishes a task force to create a comprehensive plan for state officials to work with the federal government to address gaps in mental health access for veterans.
    The president said the problem has reached "staggering proportions,” but affirmed the nation is behind veterans and will never forget them.
President Trump said his administration will work with Congress to pass legislation to empower veterans. Trump tweet: “Just a few moments ago, I signed an EO addressing one of our nation’s most heartbreaking tragedies: VETERANS SUICIDE.    To every Veteran—I want you to know that you have an entire nation of more than 300 million people behind you. You will NEVER be forgotten. …

3/5/2019 NYT publishes story on dangers of migration after criticizing President Trump by OAN Newsroom
    Better late than never as the New York Times finally admits to the danger’s migrants face when making the trip to the U.S.
    The outlet published an article Monday titled — ‘You Have to Pay With Your Body’: The Hidden Nightmare of Sexual Violence on the Border.    The piece concedes many migrants are being raped by the cartel and coyotes who traffic them.
    In the past, the newspaper has criticized the president by saying he’s sensationalizing the trip for political gain.
In this Feb. 8, 2019 photo, El Salvador migrant Xiomara Henriquez Ayala, 13, peers over the
U.S. border fence from Tijuana, Mexico, as Honduran migrant Josue Mejia Lucero, 17, and his sister Lucero, 25, look on
while looking for a way to help Lucero and her son cross undetected. (AP Photo/Emilio Espejel)
    Two days before the article, President Trump reiterated the stance he’s been making for the past two years:
    “Coyotes, smugglers and human traffickers prey upon innocent women and children. One in three women is sexually assaulted on the dangerous journey north.    When I ran for president, in my first speech I mentioned the word rape — the press went after me, I could believe it.”
    Critics of the president say the story just came to light, but supporters of the president say it shows the intent of the mainstream media to oppose the president by all means possible.

3/5/2019 Venezuela’s Guaido in talks with unions to call public sector strike by Deisy Buitrago
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognized as the country's rightful interim ruler,
greets supporters after the meeting with public employees in Caracas, Venezuela March 5, 2019. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado
    CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido said on Tuesday he was in talks with unions about calling strikes for state workers in a bid to paralyze the public sector, tightening pressure on a weakened President Nicolas Maduro by targeting his key support base.
    The strikes would seek to capitalize on the opposition’s momentum spurred by Guaido’s triumphant return to Venezuela on Monday, after he flouted a travel ban to tour Latin American countries to muster support for his campaign to oust Maduro.
    While Guaido had publicly speculated that authorities would detain him when he returned, he passed through Caracas’ international airport without a problem.    He then sped to a march where he mocked the government for letting him in so easily, telling the crowd: “Somebody didn’t follow an order.”
    Guaido has called on state officials, who have been historically pressured by the ruling Socialist Party to publicly back Maduro, to disavow the government, and has promised future amnesties for those that do.
    “The moment has arrived and our call, our request, and our complete support for public employees, is to bring about this strike,” Guaido told a news conference after meeting with state workers.    He did not say when the strikes would be held.
    Guaido, recognized by most Western nations as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state, said the strikes would be staggered and aim to paralyze the public sector.
    “It’s a proposal from the workers, that they aren’t going to keep collaborating with the regime,” Guaido said.
    Maduro’s government has yet to comment on Guaido’s return, which is unusual, considering top officials habitually make references to him on state television and in Twitter posts.    Maduro accuses Guaido of leading a U.S.-directed coup against him and has said he will “face justice.”
    Guaido said the government had not contacted him since his return.
    Guaido had secretly left Venezuela for Colombia, in violation of a Supreme Court order, to coordinate efforts there on Feb. 23 to send humanitarian aid into Venezuela to alleviate widespread shortages of food and medicine.
    But troops blocked convoys of aid trucks sent from Colombia and Brazil, leading to clashes that killed at least six people along the Brazilian border, rights groups say.
    Guaido then visited Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay to discuss with leaders his plan for a transition government ahead of holding a free and fair election.
    Guaido says Maduro’s presidency is illegitimate after he secured re-election last year in a vote widely considered a sham.    Maduro retains control of state institutions and the loyalty of senior figures in the armed forces.
(Additional reporting by Vivian Sequera and Shaylim Valderrama; Writing by Angus Berwick; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

3/5/2019 Reinventing the wheel? Macron’s EU reform proposals win polite support by Jan Strupczewski
FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a news conference at the Elysee Palace
in Paris, France, February 25, 2019. Christophe Ena/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A call by French President Emmanuel Macron for reforms of the European Union to pave the way to a “European renaissance” won mainly just polite support on Tuesday from other EU leaders.
    Some officials portrayed Macron’s reform plan as part of a bid to become the new leader of Europe as Angela Merkel prepares her exit as German chancellor, and suggested it was at least partly intended to boost his waning popularity in France.
    His proposals, unveiled in an open letter to citizens of Europe that was published in newspapers across the EU, are to protect and defend Europe’s citizens while giving the 28-nation bloc new impetus in the face of global competition.
    Britain is preparing to leave the EU, and elections to the European Parliament take place in May.    The EU also faces a more assertive China and challenges from Russia, and has differences with the United States, especially over President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies.
    “The German government supports engaged discussions about the direction of the European Union,” said a spokesman for the government in Germany, the EU’s biggest member state.    He declined to give further details.
    The importance of Berlin’s backing for any change in the EU, or lack of it, has become clear since Macron’s vision of deeper integration among the 19 countries that use the euro currency failed to materialize after 18 months of EU talks.
    European Council President Donald Tusk, who chairs EU leaders’ summits, focused on only one aspect of Macron’s reform drive — the creation of a European Agency for the Protection of Democracies to protect EU countries from outside cyber attacks and meddling in elections.
    “I agree with Emmanuel Macron.    Do not allow external anti-European forces to influence our elections and decide on key priorities and new leadership of EU,” Tusk said.
    The European Commission, the EU executive, saluted Macron’s call as a contribution to the debate about Europe but said most of the ideas had already been implemented or were under way.
    However, Macron’s proposals failed to impress Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who described them as “totally divorced from reality,” according to Czech news website
    “I have noticed that when France says ‘more of Europe’, she in fact means more of France.    But that is not the way.    We are all equals in Europe,” he was quoted as saying.
    Other EU officials, when speaking on condition of anonymity, were also less diplomatic, ascribing the timing of the proposals to Macron’s desire to boost his popularity ratings in France before the European Parliament elections in May.
    “People are seeing it as a bit ridiculous that he keeps reinventing the wheel,” one official said.
    Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel offered selective support for Macron’s ideas.
    “Support for Emmanuel Macron’s proposals for a new impetus for the European project.    Minimum wage, climate investments, Security and Defense Council, multi-speed Europe,” Michel said on Twitter.
    More surprising was support from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, usually a strong critic of the EU.
    “This could mark the beginning of a serious European debate,” Orban said in a statement sent to Reuters by email.
    “In the details, of course, we have differences of views, but far more important than these differing opinions is that this initiative be a good start to a serious and constructive dialogue on the future of Europe,” he said.
(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski and Gabriela Baczynska in Brussels, Andreas Rinke, Michelle Martin and Joseph Nasr in Berlin, Robert Muller in Prague, Editing by Timothy Heritage and Gareth Jones)
[Now you know why the UK (BREXIT) wanted out of the EU if they can ever get out because they will not compromise with them in fear that some of the other 27 nations may get out also.].

3/6/2019 Oil down $0.03 to $56.56, DOW down 13 to 25,807.

3/6/2019 ‘Security and humanitarian crisis’ is building, Border Patrol warns by John C Moritz, Corpus Christi Caller Times USA TODAY NETWORK
    The number of apprehensions of migrants along the nation’s southern border is at the highest point in more than a decade, creating what the top U.S. Customs and Border Protection official described Tuesday as a mushrooming crisis that threatens to overwhelm federal authorities.
    Over the past five months, four times as many people crossed into the USA with family members compared with the same period a year ago.    Most are Central Americans crossing over together, trying to request asylum.
    “We are currently facing both a border security and humanitarian crisis along our southwest border,” Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told reporters.
    From October to February, Border Patrol agents apprehended about 268,000 migrants who illegally entered the U.S. between ports of entry.    Families, along with unaccompanied children, accounted for 60 percent of all apprehensions since Oct. 1.
    In the El Paso sector, which stretches from the westernmost border counties of Texas through all of New Mexico, apprehensions were up 434 percent from the year before.
    People entering as part of family units are outpacing the number of those entering by themselves or in groups on non-relatives, said Brian Hastings, chief of Border Patrol operations, who joined McAleenan at the briefing.
    The Border Patrol, Hastings said, “has no reason to expect this trend to decrease.    In fact, it will increase.”
    The briefing came as the U.S. Senate nears a vote on a House-passed resolution to overturn President Donald Trump’s declaration of a state of emergency on the southern border so that he may divert federal funds toward building physical barriers that he says would help stem illegal immigration.
    More apprehensions are taking place in the remote and rugged deserts of New Mexico and Arizona, far away from medical facilities and transportation systems, Hastings said. And more migrants are coming as part of large groups.
    So far during the fiscal year that started in October, authorities have apprehended 70 groups of 100 or more people.    The year before, there were 13 such groups.    And the year before that there were two, Hastings said.
    If the present trend holds, he said, 174 groups of 100 or more, totaling about 29,000 people, will be taken into custody by federal authorities by the end of this fiscal year.
    Unlike earlier in the 2000s and before, most undocumented migrants are not from Mexico.    About 70 percent, Hastings said, are from what he called the Northern Triangle of Central America: El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
    Apprehensions are on pace to be the largest since 2005, Hastings said.
    According to Border Patrol statistics, apprehensions on the southern border reached nearly 1.18 million that year.
    The appearance of large groups of migrants also has provided cover for drug traffickers because so many agents are needed to process group members, screen them for medical conditions and transport them to detention facilities, Hastings said.
    “That’s highly concerning for us going forward,” he said.
    Meanwhile, with authorities taking in an average of 55 people a day who need immediate medical attention, Customs and Border Protection plans to expand medical support in what Hastings and McAleenan described as “    high-risk locations at and between ports of entry.”    That will include facilities for medical assessments that will be staffed by registered nurses and nurse practitioners.
    The agency’s efforts to care for migrants has been under scrutiny ever since three migrants died in custody in three months, including two children from Guatemala.    The deaths prompted Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to order medical screenings for all children in custody, but questions have continued about the agency’s willingness, or ability, to adequately care for migrants.
    The spike in apprehensions is straining Border Patrol staff, Hastings said: “The current situation is unsustainable.”     The influx is being driven mostly by Central American families crossing the border together, the Border Patrol says.
A migrant is searched last week before being transported by Border Patrol near Mission, Texas. COURTNEY SACCO/CALLER-TIMES
Agents take migrants into custody last week after they crossed from Mexico near Mission, Texas. COURTNEY SACCO/USA TODAY NETWORK

3/5/2019 U.S. senators offer North Korea sanctions bill, backed by Warmbier parents
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un bids farewell to the crowd before boarding his train to depart for
North Korea at Dong Dang railway station in Vietnam, March 2, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. senators sought to dial up pressure on North Korea on Tuesday by reintroducing a bill to impose sanctions on any bank that does business with its government, with the endorsement of the parents of Otto Warmbier, a U.S. college student who died after being imprisoned by Pyongyang.
    Republican Senator Pat Toomey and Democrat Chris Van Hollen offered the “Otto Warmbier Banking Restrictions Involving North Korea (BRINK) Act” days after a summit between Republican President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was abruptly cut off after they failed to reach a deal for the reclusive communist nation to give up its nuclear weapons.
    After the summit, Trump said he believed Kim’s claim not to have known how Otto Warmbier was treated, prompting his parents to issue a sharp statement strongly condemning Kim’s “evil regime” and blaming it for their son’s death.
    In a statement, Fred and Cindy Warmbier thanked van Hollen and Toomey, and said they believed the legislation would provide useful tools to help change North Korea.
    “We continue to support the bill and appreciate them honoring our son’s memory,” the Warmbiers said.
    The measure, which would deny access to the U.S. banking system to any foreign bank that does business with North Korea, unanimously passed the Senate Banking Committee last year but did not advance further.
    To become law, it would need to pass the full Senate and House of Representatives and be signed into law by Trump.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

3/6/2019 Secretary Nielsen defends President Trump’s national emergency declaration by OAN Newsroom
    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is defending President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border.
    While speaking before the House Homeland Security Committee Wednesday, Nielsen said the situation at the border is “not a manufactured crisis.”    She argued that “no rational person would design an immigration system” like the one America has today.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington,
Wednesday, March 6, 2019, before the House Homeland Security Committee. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    Nielsen also noted that the number of apprehensions at the border jumped substantially late last year.
    “Since late last year, we have been seeing 50 to 60,000 migrants arrive at our southern border each month, but in February we saw a 30-percent jump over the previous month with agents apprehending or encountering nearly 75,000 aliens,” she explained.    “This is an 80-percent increase over the same time last year, and I can report today that CBP (Customs and Border Protection) is forecasting the problem will get even worse this spring as the weather warms up.”
    This is Neilsen’s first congressional appearance since Democrats took control of the House.

3/6/2019 GOP senators blast House probe as politics, not fact-finding mission by OAN Newsroom
    Senate Republicans are blasting House Democrats for “playing politics” by looking into President Trump’s administrative and personal life.
    On Tuesday, Louisiana Senator John Kennedy accused the House Judiciary Committee’s probe of being politically motivated.    He said it’s not a fact-finding mission.
    Kennedy also said the move sells the American people short, because lawmakers are now wrapped up in endless investigations instead of working with Republicans to pass meaningful legislation.
    That sentiment was also echoed by Texas Senator John Cornyn.
Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas., questions Attorney General nominee William Barr as he testifies
during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    “You know this is their plan all along — it’s basically going to preclude our ability to pass any kind of bipartisan legislation, because they’re just sucking up all the oxygen,” he stated.    “We’ve got investigations in both Houses and the Intelligence Committee, still working on the Intelligence Committee investigation in the Senate and, so far, there’s been really not much to show for it — no evidence of collusion and our Democratic colleagues can’t stand it.”
    Cornyn believes the Democrats ultimate goal for the investigation is to set the stage for impeachment proceedings.

3/6/2019 Suspect charged for assault of conservative activist at UC Berkeley by OAN Newsroom
    The man who allegedly attacked a conservative activist at UC Berkeley has officially been charged.    Prosecutors have revealed Zachary Greenberg has been indicted on two-counts of felony assault among other charges.
    These charges stemmed from an incident that happened last month.    The 28-year-old allegedly attacked Hayden Williams, who was recruiting for the conservative group Turning Point USA.
    Neither men are students at UC Berkeley, but university officials have since spoken out to condemn the attack.
    “The university condemns, in the strongest possible terms, violence and harassment of any sort –no matter who the perpetrators are, no matter who the targets are,” said Dan Mogulof, assistant vice chancellor for UC Berkeley.
    President Trump welcomed the victim Hayden Williams on stage when he spoke at CPAC over the weekend.
President Donald Trump invites to speak in the podium to Hayden Williams, a field representative
of the Leadership Institute, who was assaulted at Berkeley campus speaks at Conservative Political Action Conference,
CPAC 2019, in Oxon Hill, Md., Saturday, March 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
    The president revealed this incident is prompting him to sign an executive order, which will promote free speech on college campuses.

3/6/2019 White House optimistic on China trade talks by OAN Newsroom
    The Trump administration is remaining optimistic they will be able to negotiate a new trade deal with China.
    While speaking to reporters at the White House Tuesday evening, economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the most recent talks in Washington had “great success.”
    Kudlow said this is the “furthest and deepest” they have come in negotiations to secure a free and fair deal, which will benefit both countries.
Senior White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks during a briefing at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    He said he believes President Trump will be able to work out the final details with Chinese President Xi Jinping soon.
    “President Trump has said, and I cautioned, its gotta be a good deal for the United States and its gotta be an enforceable deal,” stated Kudlow.    “Right now, that’s what we’re looking at — there are never any guarantees, but I’m an optimist on it.”
    President Trump is expected to hold a summit with his Chinese counterpart at Mar-a-Lago later this month.

3/6/2019 U.S. to increase sanctions on North Korea by OAN Newsroom
    The U.S. is issuing renewed threats to increase sanctions on North Korea if Pyongyang fails to eliminate its nuclear program.
    During an interview on Tuesday, National Security Advisor John Bolton warned if North Korea is not committed to fully ending its program then President Trump will take necessary action.    Additionally, two U.S. senators have proposed a motion, dubbed the ‘Brink Act,’ which would impose additional sanctions on any bank that does business with the North Korean government.
    The threats come as new satellite images appear to show North Korea rebuilding a partially dismantled long-range missile site.    Experts have said the images suggest a launch pad is under construction, but no missiles are in range.    The rebuilding reportedly occurred sometime between mid-February and the beginning of March, but there is little evidence to suggest a new test is imminent.
    On the other hand, this brings into question if the Korean Peninsula is really committed to denuclearization, which could challenge hopes of a potential third summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un.
    Bolton and other administration officials have continued to reiterate the president’s stance on North Korea despite the two sides failing to a reach a consensus last week in Vietnam.
National security adviser John Bolton is interviewed, Tuesday, March 5, 2019, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
    “The possibility was there for North Korea to make a big deal with us to do complete denuclearization in exchange for the potential for a very bright economic future,” said Bolton.    “The president wanted to make that big deal, he pushed very hard for it — the North Koreans were not willing.”
    This week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered hopes of sending a U.S. delegation to North Korea as the president would like to continue to keep an open dialogue between the White House and Pyongyang.
    However, the president is continuing to advocate for a hard line approach with North Korea, assuring the only way sanctions will be eased is if they completely dismantle their nuclear program and all that comes with it.

3/6/2019 Venezuelan opposition leader Guaido organizing public sector unions strike by OAN Newsroom
    Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido is opening talks with the nation’s trade unions regarding the possibility of holding a nationwide strike.
    On Tuesday, Guaido said he is working with unions of public sector workers, who he believes are secretly not supportive of the Maduro regime.
    This comes after Guaido returned from his trip to Colombia and vowed to mount pressure on embattled President Nicolas Maduro to step down.
Venezuelan Congress President Juan Guaido, an opposition leader who has declared himself interim president, is surrounded by
bodyguards as he leaves a meeting with leaders of public employee unions at the offices of an engineers’ association in Caracas, Venezuela,
Tuesday, March 5, 2019. Guaido said police officials were among those at the meeting with state workers who rely
heavily on government subsidies to get by in a country suffering from hyperinflation and shortages of food and other necessities. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
    Guaido stressed a union strike could be a deadly blow to the corrupt regime.
    “Here we not only came to meet, we came to take action to achieve it…the demands of each of the unions, but also understanding that nothing will be effective until we achieve change definitively in Venezuela,” he stated.    “Here in Venezuela the game has changed, here the people of Venezuela are in charge.”
    The said Venezuelan opposition leader said the upcoming strike would be announced over the coming few days.

3/6/2019 U.S. threatens Turkey with sanctions, possible removal from F-35 program by OAN Newsroom
    The State Department is issuing another stern warning to Turkey over the purchase of a Russian-made missile defense system.
    On Tuesday, a department spokesperson threatened Turkey with sanctions and possible removal from the F-35 program.    Congress has already ordered the delay of a scheduled shipment of 100 fighter jets to Turkey in anticipation of the country going through with the purchase.
    Security experts are concerned because the Russian defense system is not compatible with NATO, and could be used by Moscow to gain sensitive information about the F-35.
    Still, the U.S. is holding out hope Turkey will instead take up its offer to buy the patriot system.
State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino speaks during a media availability
at the State Department, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    “We’ve long made it clear, we would like to work collaboratively on air and missile defense with Turkey, and we have offered opportunities for Turkey to consider Patriot among other systems over the years,” stated deputy spokesman Robert Palladino.
    The State Department has already authorized a $3.5 billions sale of the Patriot missile system to Turkey, but officials say Ankara will not receive it unless they ditch their deal with Russia.

3/6/2019 Vote to condemn anti-Semitism in House delayed to add anti-Muslim language by OAN Newsroom
    House Democrats are holding off on a vote to denounce anti-Semitism despite pressure to condemn comments made by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
    A vote on the resolution was scheduled to be held Wednesday, but last minute changes to the language may push the vote later into the week.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meets with reporters on
Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the resolution is being reworked to include language condemning attacks against Muslims and other religious groups as well.
    This comes after Pelosi and Omar spoke over the weekend, possibly about the upcoming vote.
    Meanwhile, Republicans have said they want ,b>Democrats to do more to condemn anti-Semitism by removing Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee.
[As you can see by Pelosi's action that the Leftist Democrats have gone nuts and I do not know if Minnesotians has gone to Islamic Sharia law or they were just hoodwinked by Ihlan Omar, who was not honest about her believes but she definitely is promoting the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, which if you look it up they promote all these good things they do, but do not tell you where they came from.
    BDS is a global campaign promoting various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets what the campaign describes as Israel's "obligations under international.    The problem with the BDS movement is not that it criticizes Israel.    The problem with the BDS movement is that it criticizes only Israel.    BDS insists on blaming the entire conflict on only one side – Israel.    Such simplistic scapegoating won’t bring peace; it will only fuel extremism.    The leading force behind the BDS movement is a Palestinian activist named Omar Barghouti, born in Qatar but moved to Israel in 1994, and he is far more than a hypocrite – he’s an extremist, and doesn’t deny that he supports the destruction of Israel.    He acknowledges it.    But research by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) shines light on a troubling financial connection.    In recent Congressional testimony, FDD Vice President Jonathan Schanzer highlighted an organization called AMP – American Muslims for Palestine – that is one of the leading supporters of the BDS campaign in America.    Schanzer noted the following: And since racism against the Jewish people is also known as anti-Semitism, the BDS movement is also anti-Semitic.]

3/6/2019 Calif. demands more federal dollars for high-speed rail, refuses to pay back grants by OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:10 PM PT — Wednesday, March 6, 2019     California is refusing to repay the federal grants it took for its failed high speed rail project, and is demanding more federal dollars to complete what critics are now calling “a train to nowhere.”
    The head of California’s high speed rail authority — Brian Kelly — sent two letters to the Federal Railroad Administration this week.    In the letters he denied the state violated its federal contract, which gave California $3.5 billion to build high-speed rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
    Under the terms of the contract, California is required to repay the money if it does not complete the project by a certain deadline.
FILE – This Dec. 6, 2017, file photo shows one of the elevated sections of the high-speed rail
under construction in Fresno, Calif. The Trump administration announced, Tuesday, Feb. 19,2019, plans to
cancel $929 million for California’s bullet train project. (AP/Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
    Earlier this year, Governor Gavin Newsom slammed the brakes on the project due to cost overruns.    He also cut the route by more than half.
    “The current project as planned would cost too much and respectfully take too long, and there’s been too little oversight and not enough transparency,” stated the California lawmaker.
    Kelly said since the governor is not totally abandoning the project, the state is not in violation of its agreement.    He blasted the Trump administration for halting an additional $930 million pledged for the project, calling the move illegal and wasteful.
    However, President Trump disagrees and has demanded the state to repay $2.5 billion dollars.
[You dare demand more for such things as the Green New Deal projection of using Bullet Rail Trains is an example of California's "overrun beyond belief to nowhere train" and they want more money for it.    HA! HA! HA!.].

3/6/2019 CBP commissioner testifies before Senate Judiciary Committee regarding border crisis by OAN Newsroom
    Customs and Border Patrol said its reaching its “breaking point” due to an influx of migrants trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
    In a Senate Judiciary hearing Wednesday, border commissioner Kevin McAleenan gave an update on the situation at our border.    He claimed the record number of immigrants is out numbering resources, and said there’s not enough beds or capacity at detention centers.
    McAleenan also suggested some changes, which he feels can alleviate the stress being put on agents and facilities. He said it starts with a change in laws and more funding.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan speaks during a hearing of the
Senate Judiciary Committee on oversight of Customs and Border Protection’s response to the smuggling of persons
at the southern border, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    “It’s a whole of U.S. government effort, we would not be in the position we’re in now, and I believe we’ve saved dozens of lives in the past three months, without the help of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, without the help of the U.S. Coast Guard, the medical corpsman and woman who who joined us in providing medical checks as these families and children arrived,” he explained.    “So, it’s not something we can do just internally, the funding will help dramatically, but we need the resources of the whole government.”
    McAleenan warned the situation is expected to get worse, claiming around 75,000 more migrants may try to enter the U.S. by April or May.

3/7/2019 Oil down $0.34 to $56.22 ,DOW down 133 to 25,674.

3/7/2019 Cohen releases papers to panel by Mary Clare Jalonick and Eric Tucker, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, turned over documents to the House intelligence committee on Wednesday related to a Trump real estate project in Moscow – a subject he lied to the committee about in 2017.
    The documents are relevant to Cohen’s false statement, according to a person familiar with Cohen’s interview who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the confidential meeting.    Cohen was on Capitol Hill for a fourth day of congressional testimony.
    Lawmakers have been interested in talking to Cohen about the Moscow project since he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the subject. Cohen acknowledged in his guilty plea last year that he misled lawmakers by saying he had abandoned the project in January 2016 when he pursued it for months after that as Trump campaigned for the presidency.
    In public testimony last week, Cohen told the House Oversight and Reform Committee that Trump’s attorneys, including Jay Sekulow, had reviewed and edited the statement he provided to Congress.
    The Trump Tower Project is one of many under scrutiny as the Democrat led panel investigates Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump’s campaign was involved.
[ Jay Alan Sekulow, a chief counsel at the American Center for Law & Justice, who hosts a radio and television talk show.    Sekulow is a frequent guest commentator on the Christian Broadcasting Network and the Fox News Channel.    A self-described Messianic Jew, Sekulow built a legal and media empire over a thirty-year period by representing conservative, religious, pro-life groups.    Sekulow is on President Donald Trump's personal legal team, which is advising the president in connection with the conspiracy investigation, by a team led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller and by various Congressional committees, into links between Trump associates and Russian officials.    Michael Cohen testified, and subsequently provided the committee with the altered notes, that Sekulow acting as Trump's lawyer edited Cohen's testimony to Congress to change the time line of the Trump Tower Russian negotiations.
    In December 2018, Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani was quoted as saying “It was a real-estate project.    There was a letter of intent to go forward, but no one signed it."    On December 19, CNN produced a copy of a letter of intent apparently signed by Trump and Andrey Rozov, the owner of I.C. Expert Investment Company, the proposed Russian development partner.    Giuliani then described the letter of intent as "meaningless" because it "didn't go anywhere."    He also denied that he had said the letter was never signed.].

3/7/2019 2nd court blocks census citizenship query by Richard Wolf, USA TODAY
    The Trump administration’s effort to add a question on citizenship to the 2020 census was struck down Wednesday by a second federal judge.
    The citizenship question, already blocked by a federal judge in New York and scheduled to be addressed by the Supreme Court next month, received its second strike from District Judge Richard Seeborg.
    He becomes the fifth federal judge from the same Northern District of California to rule against the administration on an immigration issue, all of whom were nominated by Presidents Barack Obama or Bill Clinton.
    “Including the citizenship question on the 2020 Census is fundamentally counterproductive to the goal of obtaining accurate citizenship data about the public,” Seeborg said in his 126-page ruling.    “This question is, however, quite effective at depressing self-response rates among immigrants and noncitizens, and poses a significant risk of distorting the apportionment of congressional representation among the states."
    “In short, the inclusion of the citizenship question on the 2020 Census threatens the very foundation of our democratic system.”
    Critics of the administration’s effort, including California and the American Civil Liberties Union, have argued that the Commerce Department is trying to intimidate both undocumented and legal immigrants.    If their headcount is suppressed, it could reduce the allocation of federal resources and congressional seats to immigrant communities.
    Seeborg said the trial record indicated Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross called for the question after consulting with officials close to President Donald Trump, including adviser Steve Bannon and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who headed a commission investigating alleged voter fraud.
    Seeborg’s ruling came two months after federal Judge Jesse Furman ruled in New York that Ross exceeded his authority when he announced the inclusion of the citizenship question.
    Furman said that the likely undercount of immigrants would mean that California would face “a certainly impending loss of representation in the House of Representatives,” and Texas, Arizona, Florida, New York and Illinois would face “a substantial risk of losing a seat.”
    “The inclusion of the citizenship question on the 2020 Census threatens the very foundation of our democratic system.” Judge Richard Seeborg.

3/7/2019 Venezuela releases American journalist after full day in custody: media by Vivian Sequera and Corina Pons
FILE PHOTO: German ambassador to Venezuela Daniel Martin Kriener delivers a news conference next to
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognized as the country's rightful interim ruler, and
accredited diplomatic representatives of the European Union in Caracas, Venezuela February 19, 2019. REUTERS/Marco Bello
    CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s government released an American journalist and his local colleague on Wednesday, after they spent more than 12 hours in custody in a move that drew further international condemnation of socialist President Nicolas Maduro’s government.
    In the latest crackdown on a challenge to his rule by opposition leader Juan Guaido, Maduro also expelled the German ambassador, accusing him of repeated meddling in the country’s affairs.    The United States said it was set to impose sanctions on banks to ramp up pressure on Maduro to leave office.
    Most Western countries, including the United States and Germany, have recognized Guaido as the OPEC nation’s legitimate head of state and back his plan to install a transition government ahead of free elections.    Guaido says Maduro’s re-election last year resulted from a sham vote and blames him for an economic collapse that has led to widespread shortages and hyperinflation.
    Maduro – who says he is the victim of an attempted coup and “economic war” led by the United States – retains control of state functions and the support of the armed forces.
    Venezuelan military counterintelligence agents detained American journalist Cody Weddle and his Venezuelan colleague, Carlos Camacho, early on Wednesday, Venezuela’s National Press Workers Union said on Twitter.
    Camacho was released in the evening after 12 hours in custody, the union said, while Miami television station WPLG Local 10 said Weddle had also been released and was at the main Caracas-area airport waiting to board a U.S.-bound flight.
    WPLG, one of the outlets for which Weddle worked, did not cite its sources on his release, but said his mother was “relieved” to learn the news.    Reuters was unable to reach Weddle for comment Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his release.    The government had not commented on his detention all day.
    Weddle’s arrest, which came a week after Venezuela deported a team from U.S. television network Univision, was condemned by Guaido, Organization of American States Secretary-General Luis Almagro and several U.S. lawmakers from both major parties.
    Kimberly Breier, the top U.S. diplomat for the Western Hemisphere, said on Twitter that the State Department was “aware of and deeply concerned with reports that another U.S. journalist has been detained in Venezuela,” without naming Weddle.
    The incident threatened to worsen already-fraught relations between Venezuela and the United States, which has reduced its diplomatic presence in the country after Maduro said in January he would break ties.
    The United States slapped sanctions on Venezuela’s vital oil industry in January to try to cut off government revenue and force Maduro out, and pledged further action on Wednesday.    A senior official in the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump said it had identified efforts by Maduro to work with foreign banks to move and hide money.
    “We will be sanctioning some in the days and weeks to come,” the official said, hours after White House national security adviser John Bolton warned foreign banks they could face sanctions if they participated in transactions benefiting Maduro.
    The United States will also revoke the visas of 77 people associated with Maduro, Vice President Mike Pence said, adding to a list of 49 others whose visas were revoked last Friday.
    On Wednesday, Maduro’s government declared German ambassador Daniel Kriener persona non grata, days after he and diplomats from other embassies welcomed Guaido home at the Caracas airport.
    Guaido had flouted a court-imposed travel ban to visit other Latin American countries to drum up support.
    The government gave Kriener 48 hours to leave the country, but did not provide specific details on why he was being expelled.
    “Venezuela considers it unacceptable that a foreign diplomat carries out in its territory a public role closer to that of a political leader aligned with the conspiratorial agenda of extremist sectors of the Venezuelan opposition,” it said in a statement.
    German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called the move “an incomprehensible decision, which escalates the situation instead of easing tensions.” European support for Guaido was “unwavering,” he added.
(Reporting by Angus Berwick, Mayela Armas and Vivian Sequera; Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton in Washington; Writing by Angus Berwick and Luc Cohen; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Peter Cooney)

    The following article was found at
3/6/2019 Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler Omits 'So Help Me God' From Oath as He Swears in Witnesses by Susan Jones, CNS News
    ( – The House Judiciary Committee convened a hearing on “gun violence prevention” Wednesday morning, but the proceedings hit a snag when Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) omitted the phrase “So help me God” as he swore in the witnesses.
    Rep. Mike Johnson (R.-La.) made a parliamentary inquiry as soon as the witnesses sat down, and Nadler agreed to repeat the oath--including the phrase "So help me God" in the second version he administered.
    House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D.-N.Y.) administers the oath to witnesses before the committee, Feb. 6, 2019.
    “We welcome all of our distinguished witnesses and thank them for participating in today’s hearing,” Nadler said.    “Please rise, and I will begin by swearing you in.”
    “Raise your right hands,” Nadler told the witnesses.    “Do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the testimony you’re about to give is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, information and belief?"
    “Thank you.    Let the record show the witnesses answered in the affirmative,” Nadler continued.
    “Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman,” interrupted Rep. Mike Johnson.    “Point of parliamentary inquiry.”
    Nadler, unsure of who raised the point of inquiry, asked, “Who’s that?
    Johnson, sitting at the far end of the dais, said: “We had a conversation on the floor last week, and I just noted you left out ‘So help me God.’
    “Sorry,” Nadler said.    "Do you want me to repeat the whole – I will repeat--
    “I would love that.    Thank you,” Johnson said.
    “Please stand up again,” Nadler told the witnesses, as he repeated the oath, ending with, “So help you God.”
    Last week, as Johnson reminded Nadler, Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee proposed a draft rule omitting “So help me God” from the oath given to witnesses.    Press reports said Democrats planned to replace the phrase with "under penalty of law."
    Republicans objected, and even some Democrats – including committee member Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) -- voted to keep the phrase in the oath.
    “I’m a Catholic girl,” Dingell told Fox News at the time, “but I think people are trying to cause some trouble here to divert instead of focusing on what we’re going to do about health care and pre-existing conditions.”
    The following was found at
3/7/2019 PAY DIRT - He’s Connected to Jerry Nadler... and Russian State Media - Ezra Friedlander runs outreach to the Orthodox Jewish community for the New York rep’s campaign. His newest PR client is the wife of the head of RIA Novosti’s Ukrainian arm by Lachian Markay.
Alex Wong/Getty
    Welcome to Pay Dirt—exclusive reporting and research from The Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markay on corruption, campaign finance, and influence-peddling in the nation’s capital.
    As the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee goes all out in his investigation of President Donald Trump’s ties to Russian interests, one of his campaign consultants is working on behalf of a prominent employee of Russia’s foreign-propaganda apparatus.

    Also found at
3/7/2019 Report: Nadler’s Campaign Consultant Also Working on Behalf of Russian Propagandist by Kristina Wong, Breitbart.
    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) has hired a campaign consultant who also lobbies on behalf of the head of a Russia propaganda outlet, even as he launches an extensive investigation into President Trump’s alleged Russia ties, according to a report.
    The Daily Beast on Thursday reported that Nadler’s campaign consultant is Ezra Friedlander, a lobbyist and political consultant who runs outreach to the Orthodox Jewish community for Nadler’s campaign.
    However, he is also a public-relations executive whose newest client is the wife of Kirill Vyshinsky, the head of Russian state news media outlet RIA Novosti’s Ukrainian arm.
    That means Nadler has his own questionable ties to Russians, as well as that his campaign is paying a consultant that is doing lobbying work for a Russian propagandist.
    The propagandist, Vyshinsky, is actually now in a Ukrainian jail, where he faces treason charges after Ukrainian security forces raided RIA Novosti’s offices in Kiev, according to the Daily Beast.
    Ukrainian authorities have accused Vyshinsky of illegally fomenting support for the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 — which the U.S. strenuously opposed.
    According to documents filed with the Justice Department, Vyshinsky’s wife Irina hired Friedlander’s firm in November 2018 to attempt to secure her husband’s release.
    Friedlander said that neither RIA Novosti or any other independent entity is paying him for that work, according to the Daily Beast.
    Friedlander frame his work for Vyshinsky as protecting a journalist — even though he works for Russian state media.
    “Protecting the rights of journalists is so front and center to my core belief system,” Friedlander told the Daily Beast in an interview.    “To me, if you’re a journalist and you make inquiries and you write and you report, that has to be encouraged.    In all countries, and at all levels.”
    The Beast notes:
    “Though he frames it as an issue of press freedom, the Ukrainian government isn’t the only one to accuse Russian media of acting as a propaganda arm of the Kremlin.    The U.S. intelligence community also concluded that ostensibly independent Russian-owned broadcasters were integral parts of Moscow’s American disinformation campaign in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.”
    Friedlander denied ever lobbying Nadler on Vyshinsky’s behalf.    However, he did hold other meetings on the Hill around the same time as his lobbying campaign on behalf of Vyshinsky, including with Republican Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC).
    Friedlander said Vyshinsky’s case did not come up during those appointments.
[Kirill Valeryevich Vyshinsky, a Ukrainian journalist, who is the director of RIA Novosti's Ukraine branch.    Vyshinsky was arrested in Kiev by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on 15 May 2018.    On 17 May, the Kherson City Court ordered him held for two months on charges of high treason.    He is awaiting trial in Ukraine.    President Vladimir Putin said he considered the arrest to be "absolutely unprecedented and absolutely unacceptable."    The United States Department of State "shares Ukraine's concern about Russian propaganda but added that Ukraine must ensure it abides by the law, including international human rights law.”    RIA Novosti, sometimes RIA for short, was Russia's international news agency until 2013 and continues to be the name of a state-operated domestic Russian-language news agency.
    Well is Nadler in collusion with Russians?    O will he now claim it is "fake news SO HELP ME GOD?"]

3/7/2019 Paul Manafort to be sentenced in Va. court by OAN Newsroom
    Months of investigations, court appearances, and guilty pleas has led to the day Paul Manafort will be sentenced in a Virginia court for a number of crimes stemming from his work as a lobbyist and consultant.
    In an 848 page sentencing memo released last month, the special counsel laid out a pattern of deception that was not done out of necessity, but out of greed.    They said Manafort engaged in a scheme to hide tens of millions of dollars from the federal government by hiding money abroad, evading taxes, and defrauding several financial institutions.
    However, the crimes didn’t stop there. The special counsel’s office revealed last month that Manafort broke a plea deal by lying to investigators, meaning the possibility of a light sentence was thrown off the table.
    “Paul Manafort’s deceit has now extended to virtually everyone he’s met, I mean his nose is longer than Pinocchio’s at this point,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi.    “I think Robert Mueller has had it, and he needs to be an example to other witnesses to tell the truth.”
FILE – In this Dec. 11, 2017, file photo, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort
arrives at federal court in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
    Manafort now faces up to 24-years in prison and millions of dollars in fines and restitution.    Up until this week, his legal team had been calling for a lenient sentence.    They have argued that due to his age and health, he could likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.
    However, the special counsel fired back by saying it’s clear Manafort has no remorse for his crimes and hasn’t taken responsibility for his actions.
    It doesn’t appear President Trump will be helping him out of his legal trouble.
    “The question was asked yesterday about pardons, with respect to Paul Manafort, who — it’s very sad what’s happened to Paul, the way he’s bring treated, I’ve never seen anybody treated so poorly — but the question was asked to me by the New York Post and I said no, I have not offered any pardons,” said the president.
    Thursday’s sentencing in Virginia is just one of two Manafort faces.    He will be sentenced in a Washington, D.C. court next week for conspiracy charges, where he could be sentenced to another 10-years behind bars.

3/7/2019 New migrant caravan arrives south of U.S. border by OAN Newsroom
    A new migrant caravan has reportedly made its arrival just south of California’s border with Mexico.    Reports released this week claimed more than 400 Central American migrants arrived in Mexicali on Wednesday, following a two-month journey by train.
    The migrants are said to have used a freight train nicknamed “The Beast” as means of transportation to arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border.    The Mexican government deemed riding the train illegal in 2014, though it’s unclear how well authorities actually enforce the law.
    Some passengers are believed to have boarded the train more than two-months ago, riding the vessel more than 2,500 miles from Guatemala to the U.S. border.    Migrants use ‘The Beast’ as a way to avoid paying traffickers to help them on their journey.
    Officials said hundreds of migrants from the caravan just recently passed through Mexicali on their way to Tijuana, where they’re now expected to try and apply for asylum in the U.S.
    This comes as Customs and Border agents say tens of thousands of migrants cross the border illegally every month, resulting in strained resources and overcrowded shelters.
FILE – In this Nov. 25, 2018 file photo migrants cross the river at the Mexico-U.S. border after pushing past a line of
Mexican police at the Chaparral crossing in Tijuana, Mexico, as they try to reach the U.S. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)
    “CBP released the numbers of enforcement actions at our southwest border for both illegal crossings between ports of entry and inadmissible arrivals at ports of entry for the month of February.    These numbers reflect the highest level of illegal apprehensions of any February in over a decade.    In total we saw more than 76,000 apprehensions and inadmissible arrivals, and within that number in just four weeks we saw 40,385 members of family units and 7,250 unaccompanied children.” — Kevin McAleenan, commissioner – Customs and Border Protection.

3/7/2019 President Trump: I would be disappointed if North Korea missile facility reports are true by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump is expressing concern over reports North Korea may be rebuilding its nuclear sites.
    While speaking at the White House, the president said the U.S. is closely monitoring the situation and he would very disappointed in Kim Jong-un if the reports are true.
    This comes after recent satellite images appear to show the reconstruction of a launch facility near the Chinese border that North Korea began dismantling after the Singapore summit.
A man watches a TV screen showing file footage of U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un,
left, during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo/AP/Lee Jin-man)
    The president said we will have to wait and see if the reports are true, but maintained the U.S. has a great relationship with North Korea.    Despite the reports, the president remains confident a deal with North Korea will be reached.
    South Korean media has also appeared to confirm activity at a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile plant.

3/7/2019 Multiple lawyers reached out for presidential pardons by OAN Newsroom
    In the past few weeks, Michael Cohen has been the hot topic of discussion in the media, particularly with his previous notion of lying under oath.    President Trump’s former lawyer is coming under fire yet again, this time about his claims surrounding a presidential pardon.
    In a new report by the Wall Street Journal Wednesday, Cohen’s attorney — Lanny Davis — reportedly reached out to the president’s legal team last spring to discuss a potential pardon.    This is something Cohen has adamantly denied.
    “I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from Mr. Trump,” he stated.
Michael Cohen, right, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, leans back to listen to his lawyer, Lanny Davis of Washington, as he
testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    The report goes on to allege Cohen made the call after the FBI raid on his law office and residence back in April.
    Most recently, Cohen’s attorney said his client regrets his loyalty to President Trump, which is an ironic statement for someone reportedly seeking a pardon.
    “Now that he saw Donald Trump as president, he underwent a genuine transformation because he feared for his country and his family when Donald Trump was president,” said Davis.    “He ended up lying and he has regretted it and he’s going to jail for it, and he said to the court in his heartfelt way — I take ownership and I don’t blame anybody but myself.”
    Cohen wrapped up another round of testimony before the House Intelligence Committee this week, saying he will continue to work and cooperate with Congress.
    This all comes on the heels of a New York Times article Wednesday.    It claimed multiple people involved in the special counsels investigation have also reached to Rudy Giuliani over the possibility of a presidential pardon.
    According to the Constitution, a sitting U.S. president only has the power to grant a pardon to someone convicted of a federal crime not a state level offense.

3/7/2019 Trump’s Venezuela envoy vows sanctions on banks backing Maduro
FILE PHOTO: United States diplomat Elliott Abrams takes notes during a meeting of the
U.N. Security Council called to vote on a U.S. draft resolution calling for free and fair presidential elections in
Venezuela at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s special representative for Venezuela pledged on Thursday that Washington would “expand the net” of sanctions on the South American nation, including more on banks supporting President Nicolas Maduro’s government.
    “There will be more sanctions on financial institutions that are carrying out the orders of the Maduro regime,” Elliott Abrams told a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing.
    The United States and dozens of other countries have recognized Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido as oil-rich Venezuela’s interim president and increased pressure on Maduro, a socialist, to step down.
    Washington this week revoked the U.S. visas of senior Venezuelan officials and said on Wednesday it had identified efforts by Maduro to work with foreign banks to move and hide money.
    Abrams, a neoconservative who has long advocated an activist U.S. role in the world, said he had been asking European banks to take steps to shield individual Venezuelans’ assets from Maduro’s government.    He did not name the banks.
    Some lawmakers pressed Abrams, who was appointed to his current position in January, about granting temporary protected status (TPS) for Venezuelans in the United States.
    More than three million people are believed to have fled Venezuela in recent years amid a deep economic crisis marked by widespread shortages of food and medicine as well as hyperinflation.
    Maduro, who took over as president in 2013 and was re-elected last year in a vote widely viewed as fraudulent, blames the crisis on a U.S.-backed sabotage campaign.    His opponents say his socialist policies have caused the meltdown.
    U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who wrote legislation calling for TPS, said: “The Venezuelan diaspora is fantastic, they’re incredible.    All the more reason to give them TPS.”
    Abrams said TPS was under consideration and he would discuss it with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.    There are 74,000 Venezuelans who have applied for asylum in the United States, Abrams added.
    He accused Russia and Cuba of shielding Maduro, who Abrams said was protected by “thousands and thousands” of Cuban military and intelligence officials while Moscow has supplied tens of millions of dollars to the government.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Paul Simao)

3/7/2019 President Trump denies hush money payments were campaign contributions by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump is denying that he used campaign money to pay off porn star Stormy Daniels and another woman, who both threatened to go public with claims they had an affair with him.
    In a tweet Thursday, the president rejected allegations made in a recent New York Times report, which suggested the hush money payments were campaign donations.    He denied he violated Federal Election Commission laws before calling the report “fake news.”
    Trump tweet: “It was not a campaign contribution, and there were no violations of the campaign finance laws by me. Fake News!
    The New York Times reported the president signed checks to his ex-attorney Michael Cohen to reimburse him for the payments.
    Cohen implicated the president in the scheme during his congressional testimony. He’s set to serve a three-year prison sentence for lying to Congress and other crimes.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with former U.S. hostage in Yemen, Danny Burch,
Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

    The following found at
3/7/2019 Washington Post fact-checks Hillary Clinton on voter-suppression claims by Victor Garcia, Fox News
    The Washington Post's fact-checker sharply critiqued former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her claims on Sunday concerning voter suppression in Wisconsin and Georgia in the 2016 presidential election.
    “Clinton made several factual errors, offered questionable claims about a couple of studies, and ended up giving a misleading assessment of her loss,” Salvador Rizzo wrote in his column.    The Post gave Clinton “Four Pinocchios.”
    “I was the first person who ran for president without the protection of the Voting Rights Act, and I will tell you, it makes a really big difference,” Clinton said Sunday in Selma, Ala., commemorating “Bloody Sunday.”    “And it doesn’t just make a difference in Alabama and Georgia; it made a difference in Wisconsin, where the best studies that have been done said somewhere between 40 [thousand] and 80,000 people were turned away from the polls because of the color of their skin, because of their age, because of whatever excuse could be made up to stop a fellow American citizen from voting.”
    “Wrong on multiple levels, seriously misleading and worth a cumulative Four Pinocchios,” the Post piece concluded.
    Clinton also faulted the Supreme Court for voter turnout in 2016, something The Post disputed.
    “Just think about it: Between 2012, the prior presidential election where we still had the Voting Rights Act, and 2016, when my name was on the ballot, there were fewer voters registered in Georgia than there had been those prior four years,” Clinton told the audience.
    The Post responded that “Clinton’s claim that total voter registration declined in that state from 2012 to 2016 is false; it increased.”
    Hillary Clinton: “I Lost Wisconsin After Voters Were Turned Away at the Polls ‘Because of the Color of Their Skin’.”
    Former Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus President Trump’s former chief of staff also called Clinton’s comments false, “i>Totally false.    She forgot to show up - now making up false and hurtful stories.”
    Bottom line: Clinton did not personally campaign in Wisconsin.

3/7/2019 President Trump’s pick for Saudi envoy urges probes into Saudis fleeing U.S. justice by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump’s pick for ambassador to Saudi Arabia is urging State Department probes into Saudi nationals accused of committing crimes in the U.S.
    In his Senate testimony Wednesday, General John Abizaid urged full accountability of foreign nationals and their compliance with U.S. laws.    Abizaid said foreign governments should face consequences for any involvement in helping their citizens flee the U.S. to escape justice.
    This comes after several Saudis fled the U.S. after facing charges of rape, murder, and child abuse here.
Gen. John Abizaid, commande gestures during a Senate Armed Services committee hearing in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    Abizaid said, if confirmed as U.S. ambassador to Riyadh, he would advance probes into alleged Saudi crimes in the U.S.
    “Certainly not acceptable for any government to assist their citizens that violated our laws,” he stated.    “I agree that any government that assists their citizens fleeing our justice is breaking our laws.”
    Abizaid also stressed U.S. government agencies must cooperate to investigate crimes committed by foreign citizens.

3/7/2019 President Trump: We are on track to Apprehend more than 1M people across southern border by OAN Newsroom
In this Feb. 3, 2019 photo, 17-year-old Honduran migrant Josue Mejia Lucero climbs back over the U.S. border fence from San Diego to
Tijuana, Mexico, after crossing it briefly to scout the area in an attempt to help his sister and her son reach the U.S. undetected
from Tijuana, Mexico. Jose has done several scouting trips to try and find a weak point in the border fence. (AP Photo/Emilio Espejel)
    President Trump is once again calling on Democrats to fix America’s immigration system and strengthen security at the southern border.
    In a tweet Thursday, the president said we are on track to apprehend more than one million people coming across the southern border this year.    He added, Border Patrol is doing a great job, but they are “working with a broken system.”
    Trump tweet: “We are on track to APPREHEND more than one million people coming across the Southern Border this year. Great job by Border Patrol (and others) who are working in a Broken System. Can be fixed by Congress so easily and quickly if only the Democrats would get on board!
    The president went on to say America’s immigration issues could be fixed quickly by Congress if “Democrats would get on board.”
    His comments come one day after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielson testified before House lawmakers about the spike in apprehensions at the border.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington,
Wednesday, March 6, 2019, before the House Homeland Security Committee. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    “Yesterday we announced that the numbers of apprehension at our southern border have spiked again, substantially,” she stated.    “Since late last year, we have been seeing 50 to 60 thousand migrants arrive at our southern border each month, but in February we saw a 30-percent jump over the previous month with agents apprehending or encountering nearly 75,000 aliens — this is an 80-percent increase over the same time last year.”
    She defended the president’s national emergency declaration, saying “no rational person would design an immigration system like the one America has today.”

3/7/2019 Musk’s SpaceX capsule set to splash down Friday after space station stop by Joey Roulette
The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule approaches the International Space Station March 3, 2019. NASA/Handout via REUTERS
    (Reuters) – An unmanned capsule from Elon Musk’s SpaceX was due to return to earth on Friday after a short-term stay on the International Space Station, capping the first orbital test mission in NASA’s long-delayed quest to resume human space flight from U.S. soil later this year.
    A SpaceX rocket had launched the 16-foot-tall capsule from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida Saturday morning.
    After a five-day mission on the orbital outpost, Crew Dragon was set to autonomously detach about 2:30 a.m EST (0730 GMT) on Friday and descend to earth for an 8:45 a.m. splash-down off Florida’s Cape Canaveral coast.
    Officials at the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration will scrutinize the performance of the SpaceX capsule’s parachute deployment and its buoyancy after splash-down – two of the design and functionality concerns first reported by Reuters in February.
    Musk, also co-founder of electric car maker Tesla Inc, will be watching closely.    “I say hypersonic re-entry is probably my biggest concern,” he told reporters after the launch, referring to the capsule reaching thousands of miles per hour as it goes through the earth’s atmosphere.
    The first-of-its-kind mission, ahead of SpaceX’s crewed test flight slated for June, brought 400 pounds of test equipment to the space station, including a dummy named Ripley, outfitted with sensors around its head, neck, and spine to monitor how a flight would feel for a human.
    The space station’s three-member crew greeted the capsule Sunday morning, with U.S. astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques entering Crew Dragon’s cabin to carry out air quality tests and inspections.
    The capsule’s approach as seen on the earth’s horizon from the station represented “the dawn of a new era in human spaceflight,” McClain tweeted on Sunday.
    By Thursday the space station crew bid farewell to Ripley and closed the hatch ahead of Dragon’s Friday morning departure.
    NASA has awarded SpaceX and Boeing Co $6.8 billion in all to build competing rocket and capsule systems to launch astronauts into orbit from American soil, something not possible since the U.S. Space Shuttle was retired from service in 2011.
    The launch systems are aimed at ending U.S. reliance on Russian Soyuz rockets for $80 million-per-seat rides to the $100 billion orbital research laboratory, which flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.
    NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told Reuters the cost per seat on the Boeing or SpaceX systems would be lower than for the shuttle or Soyuz.
(Reporting by Joey Roulette; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Jeffrey Benkoe)

3/8/2019 Oil up $0.44 to $56.66, DOW down 200 to 25,473.

3/8/2019 Pelosi: House to condemn ‘forms of hatred’ after Omar words
    WASHINGTON – The House pushed toward a vote Thursday on a newly unveiled resolution that condemns anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry against minoritiesas hateful expressions of intolerance” as Democrats tried to move past an issue that has overtaken their congressional agenda.    Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would vote after freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments about Israel sparked turmoil within the party.    Pelosi said she does not believe Omar understood the “weight of her words.”    House passes resolution condemning hatred, bigotry.
    The House passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and other bigotry Thursday as Democrats tried to push past a dispute that has overwhelmed their agenda and exposed fault lines that could dog them through elections next year.
    The 407-23 vote belied the emotional infighting over how to respond to freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar’s recent comments suggesting House supporters of Israel have dual allegiances.    For days, Democrats wrestled with whether or how to punish the lawmaker, arguing over whether Omar, one of two Muslim-American women in Congress, should be singled out, what other types of bias should be decried and whether the party would tolerate dissenting views on Israel.
    The resolution that passed condemns anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry against minorities “as hateful expressions of intolerance.”    It does not mention Omar by name.

3/8/2019 Manafort sentenced to 47 months in prison by Kristine Phillips and Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Paul Manafort was sentenced Thursday to nearly four years in federal prison for cheating banks and the government out of millions of dollars, sparing for now President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman the prospect of being locked up for the rest of his life.
    The prison sentence marks the end of a stunning downfall for the longtime political operative who helped elect four Republican presidents, including Trump.    He is among a half-dozen people in Trump’s orbit who have been charged as a result of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible cooperation with the Trump campaign.
    Manafort, who used his illicit fortune to pay for expensive homes and suits, arrived to hear his sentence in a green jail jumpsuit emblazoned on the back with the words “Alexandria inmate.”    He entered a packed federal courtroom outside Washington in a wheelchair, appearing thin, his hair grayer and holding a cane.
    Manafort said he was “humiliated and ashamed.”
    U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, who had been critical of Mueller’s prosecutors, imposed the sentence Thursday evening.    He said Manafort had committed “serious, very serious crimes,” but he also said that Manafort had “lived an otherwise blameless life and earned the admiration of many.”
    In addition to 47 months in prison, Ellis ordered Manafort to pay a $50,000 fine and approximately $24 million in restitution, and to spend an additional three years on federal supervision.    Ellis said the nine months Manafort has already spent in jail should count against his total sentence.
    Ellis’ decision is not the end for Manafort.    He will be sentenced again next week in a related case in Washington where he faces an additional 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy charges for failing to report his lobbying work in Ukraine and tampering with witnesses.     Speaking from his wheelchair because he struggled to stand, Manafort referred repeatedly to his time in solitary confinement waiting to hear his sentence as “painful” and as a “time to reflect on my life and my choices.”    He said the past two years “have been the most difficult that my family and I have experienced.”
    Ellis seized on Manafort’s failure to “express regret” for his actions.    “Your regret should be that you didn’t comply with the law,” he said.    “Still, he imposed a prison sentence considerably below what prosecutors and federal sentencing guidelines suggested would be appropriate."    Manafort, 69, faced the prospect of prison for two decades or more; Ellis decision spares him what would likely have amounted to a life sentence.
    A jury in Virginia convicted Manafort of eight charges, including bank and tax fraud, after a three-week trial last summer.    The case, as well as a related one in Washington, stem from his work as a political consultant in Ukraine before he joined Trump’s campaign in 2016.
    Prosecutor Greg Andres ripped into Manafort on Thursday, asserting that the defendant had made “criminal choices as recently as 2016 and 2017,” referring to additional offenses Manafort committed while under indictment in a related case in Washington.
    “Mr. Manafort, himself, made criminal choices and those choices have consequences,” Andres said “Mr. Manafort broke the basic civil covenant in this country: you have to pay your taxes.”
    Before he announced the sentence, Ellis made a point of stressing that Manafort “is not before the court on anything having to do with collusion with the Russian government.”

3/8/2019 Cohen directed lawyer to ‘explore’ pardon, says testimony not conflict by William Cummings, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – Michael Cohen directed his former lawyer to approach President Donald Trump about a pardon, his current attorney confirmed Thursday.
    But Lanny Davis said the revelation does not conflict with his client’s congressional testimony in late February in which Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, claimed he never asked for a pardon.
    In a statement Thursday, Davis stressed that Cohen’s willingness to explore a pardon ended when Cohen pulled out of a joint defense agreement with the president’s legal team.    He said that was when Cohen “authorized me as a new lawyer to say publicly Mr. Cohen would never accept a pardon from President Trump even if offered.”
    “That continues to be the case,” Davis said.    “And his statement at the Oversight Hearing was true – and consistent with his post-joint-defense agreement commitment to tell the truth.”
    Testifying under oath, Cohen told lawmakers on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, “I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from President Trump.”
    Davis told ABC News that Cohen’s statement was “literally true.”
    Cohen “never asked President Trump for a pardon,” he said.    “His lawyer explored the disingenuous ‘dangle’ repeatedly floated by Rudy (Giuliani) and Trump in one meeting and never followed up.”
    In his statement Thursday, Davis said Cohen “directed his attorney to explore possibilities of a pardon at one point with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani as well as other lawyers advising President Trump.”
    The New York Times reported Wednesday that Giuliani said he had been contacted by “lawyers for several people” who have become embroiled in the Justice Department investigations around the president.    But he said he could not confirm Davis’ assertion because of attorney-client privilege.
    Giuliani said Trump’s policy has been not to consider granting any pardons until the investigations are concluded.
    “I always gave one answer, and they always left disappointed,” Giuliani said.
    Citing unnamed sources, The Washington Post reported that Cohen told lawmakers during closed-door sessions that Trump attorney Jay Sekulow was also part of the pardon discussions.    But the paper said Sekulow flatly denied it and said Cohen’s claim was “not true.”
    Sekulow also has denied Cohen’s allegation that he helped alter Cohen’s previous testimony to Congress.    In November, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about when negotiations over a Trump Tower Moscow project ended.    Cohen told lawmakers that Trump’s lawyers, including Sekulow, had altered his testimony to obscure the Trump Tower timeline.
    Sekulow told The Post the claim was “completely false.”
    Cohen reportedly offered lawmakers a marked-up copy of that testimony to back up his claim.    But The Post reported that a person who had seen the document said the changes “were not substantive” and were not about the Moscow project.
    Republicans have cast doubt on Cohen’s credibility since he began to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller.    Those attacks were ratcheted up when Cohen – who had already been sentenced to three years in prison, in part for lying to Congress – implicated Trump in illegal activity during his explosive congressional testimony.
    On Twitter, Trump has written several posts accusing Cohen of contradictions between his testimony, where he called Trump a “cheat” and a “racist,” and a manuscript he wrote before his legal troubles began, which Trump said was flattering of the president.
        After Cohen’s testimony, Oversight Committee Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Mark Meadows, R-N.C., sent a 30 page letter to Attorney General William Barr in which they referred Cohen for investigation on perjury charges.
    Davis called the referral a “sad misuse of the criminal justice system.”
The attorney for Michael Cohen, center, says his House Intelligence Committee testimony last month was factual. JACK GRUBER/USA TODAY

3/8/2019 Court: Asylum-seekers have the right to appeal - Decades of rulings grant protection to noncitizens by Alan Gomex, USA TODAY
    A federal appeals court in California on Thursday ruled that migrants who fail the initial step to qualify for asylum in the U.S. should be able to fully appeal the rejection in U.S. courts.
    Under U.S. law, migrants who don’t establish a “credible fear” of returning to their home country – a test by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers – now can appeal the decision to an immigration judge only on minor, technical grounds.    In its decision, the appeals court concluded the law violates decades of judicial rulings granting constitutional protection to noncitizens.
    “The historical and practical importance of this ruling cannot be overstated,” said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.    “This decision reaffirms the Constitution’s foundational principle that individuals deprived of their liberty must have access to a federal court.”
    In the decision, the judges wrote: “We think it obvious that the constitutional minimum … is not satisfied by such a scheme.”
    The ruling comes as record numbers of migrant families and children, mostly from Central America, attempt to enter the U.S. to request asylum, possibly giving them another avenue to plead their case for asylum.    And the ruling could further add to an immigration court backlog that is drowning under 800,000 cases and not enough judges to process them.
    Immigration judges have been turning down the limited “credible fear” appeals at a far higher rate since President Donald Trump took office.    By June 2018, only about 15 percent of applicants who appealed to immigration judges were found to have established a credible fear, down from about 33 percent during the same month in 2017, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.
    Gelernt, who argued the appeal, said migrants who failed their initial asylum hearings are then fast-tracked out of the country through “expedited removal” proceedings, quickly ending any hope they have of finding safety in the U.S.
    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has been the subject of intense criticism from Trump over rulings that strike down several of his immigration policies.    The members of the three judge panel that ruled on Thursday’s case were all nominated by former President Bill Clinton.
    Thursday’s case involves Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, a Sri Lankan native who is part of the Tamil ethnic minority group battling for independence for decades.    He claims he has been kidnapped, beaten and tortured – to the point of losing consciousness – for supporting a Tamil political candidate.
    He crossed the southern border in California in February 2017 and was arrested by a Border Patrol agent when he requested asylum.    He was interviewed by a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agent a month later, who found Thuraissigiam had not established a “credible fear” of returning to his home country
Migrants are escorted by a U.S. Border Patrol agent after climbing over the border wall
from Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, to San Ysidro, Calif., in December. AP

    The government’s consumer watchdog agency is coming under new scrutiny from the House Financial Services Committee, now under the control of Democrats, who say appointees of President Donald Trump to lead the organization have undermined its mission to protect Americans.    Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., chair of the committee, says she’s committed to reversing sustained efforts by Trump appointees to “destroy the agency.”

3/8/2019 Venezuela shuts schools, businesses as blackout enters second day by Vivian Sequera
A man walks pass a closed shops during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela March 8, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
    CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela shut schools and suspended working hours on Friday after the capital Caracas and other major cities awoke without electricity for a second day due to a problem that struck the South American country’s main hydroelectric plant.
    Much of Venezuela had no electricity since Thursday afternoon due to problems at the Guri dam plant, in a long blackout that affected the telephone network and the metro service in Caracas.
    President Nicolas Maduro “has suspended classes and the working day today in order to facilitate the efforts for the recovery of electric service in the country,” wrote Vice President Delcy Rodríguez on her Twitter account.
    On Thursday, the Minister of Electric Energy Luis Motta Domínguez attributed the difficulties at the hydroelectric plant to “sabotage,” without providing further details.
    Power cuts have become frequent in the OPEC member nation, which has suffered five years of deep recession and hyperinflation that has eroded the quality of public services.
    In Caracas, scores of people walked through the streets early in the morning due to the closure of the metro, while others took the few buses that were circulating.    Many had not realized the workday had been suspended because they were unable to watch television or listen to the news.
    “This is a severe problem.    It is not just any blackout,” said Luis Martinez, a 53-year-old walking to work in eastern Caracas.
    Reuters witnesses could only corroborate that there was light in Puerto Ordaz, a city on Venezuela’s southern border with Brazil.
    Venezuela has been mired in a political crisis since January, when opposition leader Juan Guaidó proclaimed himself interim president invoking the Constitution.
    He has been recognized by the United States and dozens of countries, which say that Maduro’s reelection last year was fraudulent.
    Maduro, meanwhile, says that Guaidó is a “puppet” of Washington, whom he accuses of wanting to remove him from power to seize the oil wealth of Venezuela.
    At the Domingo Luciani public hospital in eastern Caracas power was kept on by an emergency generator, according to an employee cleaning the hospital.
    “It’s the first time we have gone a day and a night without power,” said Elcida Pérez, 45.
(Reporting by Vivian Sequera; Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

3/8/2019 EU 27 ambassadors to meet on Brexit at 1400 GMT in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier takes part in the EU Commission's
weekly college meeting in Brussels, Belgium, March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Ambassadors of 27 European Union countries will gather at 1400 GMT ( 9 ET) in Brussels to be briefed for one hour by the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on the latest developments in talks with Britain, EU diplomats said on Friday.
    The unscheduled meeting was not because of any breakthrough in talks with Britain, the diplomats said, but to update the envoys on the state of affairs.
    British Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, initially scheduled to come to Brussels on Friday for further discussions, would not be arriving after all.
    The ongoing talks are to find a different compromise deal on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU on March 29th after the British parliament has decidedly rejected the agreement negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May.
(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska and Jan Strupczewski)

3/8/2019 Trump admin. to release 2020 budget proposal on Monday by OAN Newsroom
    By law the president is required to present his proposed budget to Congress by the first Monday in February, but it was delayed due to the partial government shutdown.    With that now in the past, all eyes will be turning to the 2020 budget proposal, which is set to be officially unveiled on Monday.
    The president reportedly plans to increase the $22 Trillion debt limit, while also looking to lift spending caps for domestic and defense programs by using war contingency funds to bypass budget limits.
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the blueprint will request over $400 million to build a replacement VA hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.    It would also cover the rest of the hospital’s cost.
    “This will be the first time any presidential budget has included full funding for the entire VA medical center,” said McConnell.    “That will make it a lot easier for us when the appropriations process actually unfolds to complete the funding.”
    McConnell noted this will be a big relief to the more than 300,000 veterans who live in Kentucky.
    $100 million will reportedly be allocated to the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative spearheaded by first daughter Ivanka Trump to help 50 million women in developing countries.    That type of initiative has been supported by the president himself.
    “By investing in women around the world, we’re investing in families, we’re investing in prosperity, and we’re investing in peace,” the president stated.    “The United States will continue to lead the world stage in developing policies to empower women financially in our modern economy.”
    The administration plans to receive the funding through the Agency for International Development, and be supported by other government programs in addition to private investment.
    However, other fields will be seeing some cuts. An Energy Department official said the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would see its $2.3 billion budget slashed by around 70-percent to $700 million.
    President Trump is not expected to make cuts to Medicare and social security, but isn’t likely to increase taxes either.
    The president’s budget will likely face opposition from Democrats as the party has the majority in the House.
    President Trump has touted his negotiation skills and has voiced in the past he won’t sign off on any bad deals.
    Americans can assume the president will stoke that same message come Monday when the 2020 budget proposal is officially revealed.

3/8/219 Chelsea Manning in custody after refusing to testify on WikiLeaks by OAN Newsroom
    Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning is sent to jail for refusing to testify in regards to WikiLeaks before a federal grand jury in Virginia.
    The judge ordered Manning to be held in contempt of court Friday after she confirmed she had no intention of answering questions.
    Manning avoided questions about her role in leaking military intelligence records to WikiLeaks before the same grand jury earlier this week.     While speaking before Friday’s hearing, Manning said she doesn’t believe in the grand jury process and she has already revealed everything she knows.
In this Tuesday, March 5, 2019 photo, Chelsea Manning addresses the media outside federal court
in Alexandria, Va. The former Army intelligence analyst was ordered to jail Friday, March 8, 2019, for refusing to
testify to a Virginia grand jury investigating Wikileaks. (AP Photo/Matthew Barakat)
    “I don’t believe in the secrecy of this, I have no problem explaining what happened, I’ve done it before,” she explained.    “Why we should go through this in a secret closed hearing with only the prosecutor, no lawyer, and a grand jury that is barely able to behave or act independently?
    The judge said Manning will remain in custody until she testifies or until the grand jury finishes its investigation.
[It sounds like the government of the Obama years does not want the public to know what Manning has to say.].

3/8/2019 Manning is jailed in probe of leaks by Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who spent four years in prison for providing information to WikiLeaks, was jailed Friday after she refused to testify before a grand jury investigating the anti-secrecy group.
    U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton ordered Manning into custody following a brief hearing that was partially closed to the public.    Manning had warned that she objected to the inquiry and would refuse to cooperate.
    “In solidarity with many activists facing the odds, I will stand by my principles,” Manning said in a statement before Friday’s hearing.
    Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013 for her role in leaking a cache of classified government material to WikiLeaks.    Her case attracted heightened attention because of her status as a transgender soldier; at the time she was known as Bradley Manning.    President Barack Obama commuted her sentence in 2017.
    In refusing to testify this week, Manning claimed she had provided the government “extensive testimony” during her 2013 prosecution.
    Manning’s attorney, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, declined to comment Friday on the information the government is seeking.    Manning was sent to a jail in Alexandria, Virginia.

3/8/2019 Republicans slam Rep. Cummings for hesitating to refer Cohen to DOJ by OAN Newsroom
    House Oversight Committee chairman Elijah Cummings appears to be hesitant to follow through on referring Michael Cohen to the Department of Justice for possible prosecution.
    While speaking to reporters Thursday, Cummings said he needs more time to determine if there is any evidence Cohen may have committed perjury during his testimony last week.
    Congressman Jim Jordan seized on the apparent lack of follow through on Cummings part by asking the chairman what he plans to do to hold Cohen accountable.    According to Jordan, Cohen has lied to the Oversight Committee at least seven times on a wide range of topics, including his alleged request for a presidential pardon.
    “I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from Mr. Trump,” Cohen claimed.
    That statement later appeared to contradict remarks made by Cohen’s own personal attorney.
    “All I can say is Mr. Cohen’s got a story to tell, he was a leaky ship to begin with,” said Senator Lindsey Graham.    “There was discussions about a pardon and he denied it, but that just furthers the narrative that maybe he’s not the best conveyor of the truth.”
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Elijah Cummings, D-Md., speaks to the media after
the hearing of President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, before the House Oversight and
Reform Committee, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
    This comes after Cummings warned Cohen about the consequences for lying to Congress.
    “I have made it abundantly clear to Mr. Cohen, that if he comes here today and he does not tell the truth, tell us the truth, I will be the first one to refer those untruthful statements to DOJ,” stated Cummings.    “So.    When people say he doesn’t have anything to lose, he does have a lot to lose if he lies.”
    Jordan was joined by Congressman Mark Meadows the day after Cohen’s hearing in calling for the Justice Department to investigate the inconsistencies.

3/8/2019 Pentagon asked to house up to 5K unaccompanied migrant children by OAN Newsroom
    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is asking the Pentagon to prepare housing for up to 5,000 migrant children as the crisis at the southern border continues.
    The request is only on a need basis, but a recent surge in border crossings has caused shelters to reach their capacities. Border Patrol officials have reported nearly 7,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended in February alone.
    HHS will also transfer $400 million to the Defense Department to support the minors in its custody.    It’s still unclear which military bases will be used, but the request will stay in effect through September.
In this Feb. 4, 2019 photo, El Salvador migrant Xiomara Henriquez Ayala, 13, sits atop the bunk bed she shares with 18-year-old
Valeria Ramos of Honduras, at the Agape World Mission shelter in Tijuana, Mexico. (AP Photo/Emilio Espejel)
    Meanwhile, President Trump took to Twitter to give a status report on the border wall.    In a tweet Friday, the president assured the wall is being built and said it’s well under construction.    He went on to say the White House is in the process of signing-off on several contracts to finalize maintenance on existing parts of the barrier.
    Trump tweet: “The Wall is being built and is well under construction.    Big impact will be made.    Many additional contracts are close to being signed.    Far ahead of schedule despite all of the Democrat Obstruction and Fake News!
    The president said the project is “far ahead of schedule despite Democrat obstruction and fake news.”
    This comes as Democrats in the Senate attempt to drum up support to block the president’s national emergency declaration.    President Trump has said he will veto any attempt to stop the project.

3/8/2019 Princeton Policy Advisors: About 80K migrant women raped trying to get to U.S. border last year by OAN Newsroom
    According to a recent report, tens of thousands of migrant women are sexually assaulted while attempting to cross illegally into the U.S.
    A new study from Princeton Policy Advisors said at least 80,000 migrant women and girls were raped or coerced into sex last year. The study predicts this number could rise to more than 100,000 by the end of this year.
    Researchers also expect an increase in the number of migrant kidnappings, assaults, and robberies.
FILE – This Nov. 25, 2018 file photo shows migrants near the Chaparral border crossing watch clashes
with U.S. border agents, seen from Tijuana, Mexico. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)
    On Wednesday, Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw brought attention to the issue of migrant girls being trafficked into the U.S. and forced into prostitution.    He had this to say:
    “There was a young woman in my office yesterday, she’s from Mexico, she’s about 18 years old.    She was taken across the border, kidnapped about five years ago on the third attempt, because they were turned back twice by Border Patrol.    On the third attempt they made it through, and she was brought to NYC where raped approximately 30 times a day for five years.    I don’t know why nobody talks about that kinda stuff.”
    Princeton researchers suggested by expanding guest-worker programs, the U.S. could reduce criminal abuse and exploitation of migrants.

3/8/2019 Report: Wasteful federal spending increases 16% in 2018 by OAN Newsroom
    A new report is detailing the massive scale of wasteful spending by federal government agencies.     According to a report from the government transparency group ‘OpenTheBooks,’ federal agencies ramp-up unjustified spending every September at the end of the fiscal year.     The data is suggesting the Defense Department alone spent $97 billion last September, its largest monthly total, on things ranging from leather chairs to lobster and crabs.     Researchers say federal agencies are spending the remaining funds on their balance to prevent a decrease in their budget for the upcoming fiscal year.     For their part, GOP officials have said the administration must ramp-up efforts to battle wasteful spending.
Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
    “In previous reports we’ve outlined about $800 billion in waste that we could actually save money in the long-term,” stated Senator James Lankford.    “So, there are a few examples…about the money that was spent on studying Soviet-era wines that I can understand why wine industry would pay for that, I don’t understand why taxpayers would pay for that.”
    Meanwhile, wasteful spending is reportedly getting worse as it increased by 16-percent last year and by 39-percent since 2015.

3/8/2019 FBI director says scale of Chinese threat to cybersecurity is shocking by OAN Newsroom
    FBI Director Christopher Wray is sounding the alarm over cybersecurity threats reaching unprecedented levels across the globe.    Wray made the comment while speaking at the recent RSA Conference in San Francisco, which is the biggest cybersecurity event in the nation.
    “Today’s cyber threat is bigger than any one government agency, frankly, bigger than government itself, but I think no agency brings the same combination of scope and scale, experience, tools, and relationships that the FBI has,” said Wray.
    While the mainstream media has focused on the security threat Russia poses following the 2016 election, it has largely ignored the emerging threat China poses to U.S. cybersecurity.
    “I’m not somebody who is prone to hyperbole, but of all the things that surprised me when I came back into this world, the thing that most shocked me was the breadth, the depth, the scale of the Chinese counterintelligence threat,” said the FBI director.
FBI Director Christopher Wray Washington, D.C. (Photo/Andrew Harnik/AP)
    According to recent reports from private intelligence firms, a group of Chinese hackers has targeted at least 27 universities worldwide.    This includes the University of Hawaii, the University of Washington, and MIT.
    These studies found the hackers mostly targeted schools that either have programs focusing on technology or staff that are experts in related fields.    Experts say one reason for this is that universities are likely to exchange important information and research with colleagues from other research centers.    This means hackers can pose as representatives from other institutions to gain valuable information about current research and technology without trying to infiltrate government servers.
    Although the Chinese government denies any connection with this hacking group, multiple intelligence agencies, including the FBI, have linked this particular firm to Beijing.
    While cybersecurity threats from China may not be going anywhere anytime soon, the FBI remains confident in its ability to thwart future attacks.

3/8/2019 Oil drops 1 percent as economic outlook weakens, U.S. supply surges by Stephanie Kelly
FILE PHOTO: An oil pump is seen at sunset outside Scheibenhard, near Strasbourg, France, October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices fell about 1 percent on Friday after disappointing U.S. job growth revived concerns about a slowing global economy and weaker demand for oil.
    With surging U.S. oil supply also unsettling markets, Brent crude futures fell 56 cents, 0.8 percent, to settle at $65.74 a barrel. The international benchmark gained 1 percent for the week.
    U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 59 cents, or 1 percent, to settle at $56.07 a barrel. WTI still ended 0.5 percent higher for the week, however
    U.S. job growth almost stalled in February, with the economy creating only 20,000 jobs amid a contraction in payrolls in construction and several other sectors.    The report dragged down U.S. stock markets, along with oil futures.
    Financial markets also took a hit after comments on Thursday from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi that the European economy was in “a period of continued weakness.”
    “If we see equity markets continue to sink, it will eventually drag energy prices lower with it,” said Brian LaRose, a technical analyst at United-ICAP.
    The European and U.S. economic weakness comes as growth in Asia is also slowing.
    China’s dollar-denominated February exports fell 21 percent from a year earlier, representing the biggest drop in three years, far worse than analysts had expected.    Imports dropped 5.2 percent.
    “We’ve witnessed this week a rekindling of worries about demand growth,” said Gene McGillian, vice president of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
    So far oil demand has held up, especially in China, where imports of crude remain above 10 million barrels per day (bpd).    Yet a slowdown in economic growth could eventually dent fuel consumption and pressure prices.
    On the supply side, oil has received support this year from output cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.    Saudi Arabia’s crude oil production in February fell to 10.136 million barrels per day (bpd), a Saudi industry source told Reuters.
    U.S. sanctions against the oil industries of OPEC members Iran and Venezuela have also supported futures.
    But the United States is giving individuals and entities more time to wind down certain financial contracts or other agreements related to Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said.
    Meanwhile, U.S. crude production has increased by more than 2 million bpd since early 2018 to 12.1 million bpd, making America the world’s biggest producer.
    Investment bank Jefferies said U.S. output growth was largely being fueled by onshore shale production, which had recently benefited from investments by Exxon Mobil and Chevron.
    However, U.S. energy firms this week cut the number of oil rigs operating for a third week in a row to the lowest level in 10 months, General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday.
    Hedge funds and other speculators raised their combined futures and options position in New York and London by 21,416 contracts to 155,426 in the week ended March 5, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.
GRAPHIC – Russian, U.S. & Saudi crude oil production:
(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly in New York; additional reporting by Henning Gloystein in Singapore and Dmitry Zhdannikov in London; editing by Dale Hudson, Marguerita Choy and Sonya Hepinstall)

3/9/2019 House OKs anti-bigotry measure - Yarmuth votes in favor of resolution by Phillip M. Bailey, Louisville Courier Journal USA TODAY NETWORK
    U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth voted in support of a resolution Thursday condemning hate as a response to Democratic freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar's comments criticizing U.S. support for Israel.
    The anti-bigotry measure had divided rank-and-file House Democrats from their senior leadership, who were reportedly looking at rebuking the Minnesota congresswoman more directly and forcefully earlier this week.
    But the version of the resolution voted on Thursday afternoon did not mention Omar by name, and instead, more broadly 'rejects the perpetuation of anti- Semitic stereotypes' and other prejudices in the U.S. and around the world.
    The measure passed by a 407-23 vote.    Five of Kentucky's six congressmen voted in favor of the resolution. Rep. Thomas Massie did not vote in favor of the measure.
    'The Democrats set out to write a resolution to censure one of their own members but it morphed into an offensive hodgepodge of racist stereotypes that have no place being enumerated in a congressional resolution,' Massie said in a statement issued by his office.    'The final resolution did not even include the name of the Democrat member who said the offensive remarks, unlike the resolution recently passed in response to alleged remarks of my Republican colleague (Rep. Steve King) from Iowa.'
    Omar, who is Muslim and the first Somali- American elected to Congress, has been hit with a fury of criticism for a Feb. 10 tweet that suggested Republican support for Israel is based solely on campaign cash.    She specifically pointed at the powerful lobby firm the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.
    “It's all about the Benjamins baby," Omar tweeted after her comments were compared to Rep. King’s comments on white supremacy.
    Yarmuth, a Democrat, said in a statement ahead of Thursday's vote that Omar was careless in the way she discussed humanitarian violations by the Israeli government.    He said she now better understands the pain and history of using anti-Semitic stereotypes.
    'But the flood of sanctimony from Republicans who tacitly condone deliberate bigotry at the highest levels of their party and of this government is the height of hypocrisy,' he said.
    Yarmuth, who is Jewish, pointed out that President Donald Trump has made various controversial comments around race before and since taking office.
    Republicans have pounced on Omar's comments as a sign that Democrats are drifting further to the political left and are divided on the issue of U.S. support for Israel.
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., used a floor speech this week to call on House Democrats to support the resolution.
    “This Democratic congresswoman already stoked controversy in mid-February, having publicly proclaimed that Israel’s supporters are only in it for the money,' he said.    'Apparently she believes the only reason leaders would stand with the Jewish people and the State of Israel is Jewish money.    Well, I think we have all heard that kind of talk before.    And we must not tolerate it'."
    AIPAC spent about $3.5 million last year in lobbying U.S. officials to support Israel, according to OpenSecrets.    The group also sponsors an annual congressional trip to Israel.
    Omar has apologized for her February tweet and another social media message from 2012 during a war in the Gaza strip that said: 'Israel has hypnotized the world.'    She has since faced threats in the weeks since reports about her anti-AIPAC tweet surfaced, including one that is being investigated by the FBI.
    House Republicans used their floor speeches to call out Democratic leaders for watering down the resolution.
    The proposal was broadened to go beyond denouncing anti-Semitism and also mentioned growing anti-Muslim sentiments in the country.    It referenced how white supremacists have targeted minorities, including African-Americans, Native Americans, Hindus, Sikhs and immigrants with verbal and physical attacks.
    Conservative commentator Erick Erickson mocked the Democratic resolution on Twitter, noting it made no mention of anti-Christian attitudes, 'because they're okay with their Senate colleagues openly opposing committed Christians' being federal judges.
    'Hatred of mayonnaise is a serious issue,' he said.    'Mayo manufacturers employ a large number of people to put this essential condiment on the table.    I think the Democrats missed an opportunity to denounce anti-mayo bigotry in their resolution.
    Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin also joined the discussion with a tweet that included a news article featuring Omar's photograph.
    'When congressional Democrats refuse to decry anti-Semitism and specific acts of racism (and) bigotry, but then want to pass a resolution to assure us that, ('no, really'), they love everybody, they clearly have cancer in their ranks,' he said.
    But Democrats who supported Omar criticized Speaker Nancy Pelosi for allowing the resolution to even come up, citing how there have been no condemnations about comments made by lawmakers aimed at other groups.
    Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, another new House Democrat, told The Hill this week that there’s a double standard when it comes to minority women who speak out.
    “I know that the Congresswoman Ilhan Omar really tries to push back against oppression,” said Tlaib, who is Muslim.    “And as a Palestinian I can tell you, when she speaks about those issues, what I hear is her trying to help my grandmother in Palestine, in the West Bank, and saying that there (is) real, actual, factual evidence to show that there’s human rights violations” being committed by the Israeli government.
    Yarmuth said that while he supports the measure, 'symbolic procedural votes will not fix the root problems that exist.'    He said that includes an 'ongoing use of selective outrage by some of my colleagues — for no reason other than to score political points — (which) is a dangerous practice that undermines the office we hold.'
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., was not mentioned by name in the final resolution that was passed. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP
Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., shakes hands during an event in western Louisville. ALTON STRUPP/COURIER JOURNAL

3/9/2019 President Trump visits Alabama following deadly tornadoes by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump has visited areas of eastern Alabama devastated by a powerful tornado that killed at least 23 people on March 3rd.
In this March 8, 2019, phot, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk hand in hand in Beauregard, Ala., as
they tour areas where tornados killed 23 people in Lee County, Ala. Melania Trump largely avoided the campaign trail in 2016,
limiting her role to a handful of appearances and interviews. But as President Donald Trump shows his eagerness for the coming 2020
re-election battle, less clear is the first lady’s fervor for participating in the effort. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    On Friday, the president along with first lady Melania Trump arrived in Beauregard, which was one of the worst hit area, to meet with officials and speak to families who lost their homes.
    By Tuesday the resulting damage was declared a disaster, and the president ordered federal aid to be used in the area in addition to local efforts.    He instructed the FEMA to give Alabama the so-called “a plus treatment.”
    The providence Baptist church distributed clothes, toiletries and bibles as it became a disaster relief center.    The president and first lady later observed a moment of silence in front of white wooden crosses commemorating each of the victims.
President Donald Trump comforts people among devastation and debris in Beauregard, Ala., Friday, March 8, 2019,
during a tour of areas where tornados killed 23 people in Lee County, Ala. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    The tornado which hit Beauregard was the deadliest in the us since may 2013, when 24 people were killed in Moore, Oklahoma.

3/9/2019 VP Pence campaigns for Kentucky gov. Bevin by OAN Newsroom
    Vice President Mike Pence’ campaigns for incumbent Kentucky GOP Governor Matt Bevin, as he seeks to earn a second term in 2019.
FILE – In this March 11, 2017 file photo, Vice President Mike Pence, right, and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin address a group of
business owners to gather support for the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act in Louisville, Ky. Pence will raise
money for Bevin in Kentucky, one of three states that will elect governor’s in 2019 .(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)
    During a speech in Lexington Friday, Pence said the state is “growing” again and said that’s why residents need Bevin back in the statehouse for four more years.
    He also pointed out per-pupil funding has reached it’s highest level in state history under Bevin.
    Pence cited Bevin’s leadership while speaking about the country’s progress under the Trump administration.
    “Jobs are coming back, confidence is back, it’s what you feel here in Kentucky, is happening all across America,” said Pence.    “Under the leadership of President Donald Trump and leaders like Matt Bevin America is back, and we are just getting started.”
    Bevin is facing at least three primary challengers for the GOP nomination, while four Democrats are running for governor as well.

3/9/2019 Pres. Trump: the wall is being built and will greatly help us in the future, and now by OAN Newsroom
    The president highlights efforts to combat illegal immigration at the southern border.
FILE – In this Jan. 9, 2019 file photo, construction crews install new border wall sections seen from
Tijuana, Mexico. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., says the Pentagon is planning to tap $1 billion in leftover funds from military pay
and pensions accounts to help President Donald Trump pay for his long-sought border wall. Durbin told The Associated
Press, “it’s coming out of military pay and pensions, $1 billion, that’s the plan.”(AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)
    In a tweet Saturday, the president said Border Patrol, and law enforcement officials have apprehended large numbers of illegal immigrants at the border.    He applauded their efforts saying “they won’t be coming into the U.S.
    The president went on to say “the wall is being built and will greatly help us in the future and now.”
    Trump tweet: “Border Patrol and Law Enforcement has apprehended (captured) large numbers of illegal immigrants at the Border. They won’t be coming into the U.S. The Wall is being built and will greatly help us in the future, and now!
    This as Democrats in the Senate attempt to drum up support to block the president’s national emergency declaration.
    President Trump has said he will veto any legislative attempt to block his declaration.

3/9/2019 Pres. Trump: Sessions didn’t have a clue by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump takes another shot at the competency of his former attorney general.
    Taking to Twitter on Friday, the president wrote “Sessions didn’t have a clue,” in reference to reports which say he was under investigation by his own department while serving as attorney general.
President Donald Trump talks with reporters outside the White House before traveling to Alabama to visit
areas affected by the deadly tornadoes, Friday, March 8, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    According to former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, agents were investigating Sessions alongside President Trump, over allegations of perjury.
    Sessions later admitted to meeting with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign, after first denying it. He said he forgot about the encounter, and was not trying to mislead Congress.
    This led to Sessions recusing himself from the Russia investigation.    William Barr was sworn in last month as attorney general to replace Jeff Sessions.
    Barr has since announced he will not recuse himself from overseeing Robert Mueller’s investigation.

3/9/2019 More humanitarian aid leaves the U.S. for Venezuela by OAN Newsroom
    Another six tons of humanitarian aid is flown from the U.S. to Colombia, with the hopes of getting it into Venezuela.
    Reports Friday said the supplies left Florida, and headed to the border along Colombia and Venezuela.
    The aid contained medical and cleaning supplies for hospitals, as well as tons of non-perishable food and medicine.
In this March 7, 2019 photo, military personnel load seven pallets with hundreds of boxes full of
medical supplies of U.S. humanitarian aid bound for Venezuela, inside a C-130 cargo plane, at
Homestead Air Reserve Base in Miami, Florida. Since Feb. 4, the U.S. has airlifted and pre-positioned in Colombia
hundreds metrics tons of relief supplies, including emergency medical kits, food kits and medical supplies. (AP Photo/Gisela Salomon)
    This is the seventh military flight carrying aid from the U.S. to Colombia, and the second since a failed attempt to get aid into Venezuela last month.
    “I just want to say, me and my entire crew are very happy to be doing this humanitarian air lift mission down to South America to provide need to those who need it,” said Capt. Brad Breelove of the U.S. Air Force.    “Of all the missions we do this is probably one of the most important as well as the most fulfilling.”
    Both the U.S. and Colombian governments continue to stock aid along the border with Venezuela, with the hope of getting it into the country soon.
    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has repeatedly rejected the aid, saying it’s part of a plan to oust him from power.

3/9/2019 Venezuela’s Guaido calls for massive protest as blackout drags on by Mayela Armas and Deisy Buitrago
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognized as the country's rightful interim ruler, attends a
rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela March 9, 2019. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado
    CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Saturday called on citizens across the country to travel to capital Caracas for a protest against socialist President Nicolas Maduro, as the country’s worst blackout in decades dragged on for a third day.
    Addressing supporters while standing atop a bridge in Caracas, Guaido – the leader of the opposition-run congress who invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency in January – said Maduro’s government “has no way to solve the electricity crisis that they themselves created.”
    “All of Venezuela, to Caracas!” Guaido yelled while standing atop a bridge in southwestern Caracas, without saying when the planned protest would be held.    “The days ahead will be difficult, thanks to the regime.”
    Activists had earlier scuffled with police and troops ahead of the rally, meant to pressure Maduro amid the blackout, which the governing Socialist Party called an act of U.S.-sponsored sabotage but opposition critics derided as the result of two decades of mismanagement and corruption.
    Dozens of demonstrators attempted to walk along an avenue in Caracas but were moved onto the sidewalk by police in riot gear, leading them to shout at the officers and push on their riot shields.    One woman was sprayed with pepper spray, according to a local broadcaster.
    Much of the country remained without power on Saturday morning, including the presidential palace of Miraflores, which was running on back-up power generators, according to Reuters witnesses.
    “We’re all upset that we’ve got no power, no phone service, no water and they want to block us,” said Rossmary Nascimiento, 45, a nutritionist at the Caracas rally.    “I want a normal country.”
    The Socialist Party has called for a competing march to protest what it calls imperialism by the United States, which has levied crippling oil sanctions on Maduro’s government in efforts to cut off its sources of funding.
    Several hundred people gathered in central Caracas for a march to denounce U.S. pressure on Venezuela, which the president says is the cause of the country’s economic situation.
    “We’re here, we’re mobilized, because we’re not going to let the gringos take over,” said Elbadina Gomez, 76, who works for an activist group linked to the Socialist Party.
.     The power flickered on and off in parts of Caracas on Saturday morning.    Six of the country’s 23 states still lacked power as of Saturday afternoon, Socialist Party Vice President Diosdado Cabello said on state television.
    Julio Castro, a doctor who heads a non-government organization called Doctors For Health, said via Twitter that a total of 13 people had died amid the blackout, including nine deaths in emergency rooms.
    Reuters was unable to independently confirm the deaths or whether they were a product of the blackout.    The Information Ministry did not reply to a request for comment.
    Clinics in the sweltering western state of Zulia, which suffers chronic regional blackouts, had scaled back operations after nearly 72 hours without power.
We’re not offering services and we don’t have any patients staying here because the generator is not working,” said Chiquinquira Caldera, head of administration at the San Lucas clinic in the city of Maracaibo, as she played a game of Chinese checkers with doctors who were waiting for power to return.
    Venezuela, already suffering from hyperinflation and shortages of basic goods, has been mired in a major political crisis since Guaido assumed the interim presidency in January, calling Maduro a usurper following the 2018 election, which Maduro won but was widely considered fraudulent.
    Maduro says Guaido is a puppet of Washington and dismisses his claim to the presidency as an effort by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump to control Venezuela’s oil wealth.
    Former mayor and exiled opposition activist Antonio Ledezma on Saturday called on Guaido to seek United Nations intervention in Venezuela by invoking a principle known as “responsibility to protect.”
    The U.N. doctrine sometimes referred to as R2P was created to prevent mass killings such as those of Rwanda and Bosnia and places the onus on the international community to protect populations from crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.
    “President @jguaido, (you should) formally request Humanitarian Intervention, applying the concept of R2P, to stop extermination, genocide and destruction of what’s left of our country,” Ledezma wrote via Twitter.
    Trump has said that a “military option” is on the table with regard to Venezuela.
    But Guaido has avoided discussion of any foreign troops in Venezuela, and Latin American neighbors have emphatically opposed a U.S. intervention as a way of addressing the situation.
(Reporting by Vivian Sequera, Mayela Armas and Deisy Buitrago in Caracas, Isaac Urrutia in Maracaibo, writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Matthew Lewis)

3/9/2019 Turnout falls to lowest yet in French ‘yellow vest’ protests by Danielle Rouquié and Sarah White
A protester holds the French flag on the Champs Elysees near the Arc de Triomphe during a demonstration
by the "yellow vests" movement in Paris, France, March 9, 2019.REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
    PARIS (Reuters) – Turnout at “yellow vest” protests across France, a backlash against high living costs that has lasted nearly four months, fell on Saturday to its lowest level yet.
    People wearing the neon high-visibility vests that have come to symbolize the movement were joined in Paris by others donning pink tops, as child-care workers turned out against a reform of their unemployment subsidies.
    Demonstrators on the Champs-Elysees avenue were pushed back at one point by water cannon, and sporadic clashes with police erupted in other cities including Lyon, Bordeaux and Toulouse, though the protests largely passed off peacefully.
    Some protesters staged a “flashmob” at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport, waving French flags and dancing in one of the terminals, television footage on BFM TV showed.
    Some 28,600 people turned out overall, according to the interior ministry, with 3,000 of those in Paris – down from 39,300 across France the previous Saturday, and a far cry from the nearly 300,000 who blocked roads and marched in cities in mid-November.
    Some campaigners are calling for a bigger show of force next weekend, when a series of town hall-style debates launched by President Emmanuel Macron to try to quell anger is due to end.
    What started out last November as an outcry against Macron’s plan to hike fuel taxes — part of his bid to push a cleaner energy model — has morphed into a broader, leaderless movement decrying the government as out of touch with the hardships faced by some households and low-income workers.
    Macron dropped the fuel tax increase and budgeted an extra 10 billion euros ($11 billion) to help the poorest workers.
    Since riots in December, recent demonstrations have been largely peaceful.    On Saturday in Paris, 19 people had been arrested by 6:35 p.m., police said.
    In an Ifop poll taken on March 7 and 8 for the online news site Atlantico, 54 percent expressed sympathy with the ‘yellow vests’ — up from 50 percent in mid-February, but down from a peak of 72 percent.
    Macron’s popularity has also improved in recent weeks.    An Ipsos poll released on March 6 gave him an approval rating of 28 percent, up 8 points since December.
(Reporting by Sarah White, Danielle Rouquie and Reuters TV; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

3/9/2019 What Brexit game is EU playing? British parliament leader Leadsom asks by Elizabeth Piper and Kate Holton
Britain's Conservative Party's leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom arrives
at Downing Street in London, Britain, January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
    LONDON (Reuters) – The leader of Britain’s parliament Andrea Leadsom said she was beginning to wonder what game the European Union was playing over Brexit as relations between London and Brussels deteriorated ahead of a vote by lawmakers next week.
    Less than three weeks before Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, Prime Minister Theresa May has failed to secure the changes to the divorce agreement she needs to gain the support of lawmakers who rejected it in a record rebellion in January.
    At the heart of the dispute is a disagreement over how to manage the border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland.
    On Friday, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier put forward a proposal to keep the border open and keep the province subject to EU rules, prompting London to reject it.
    “There is still hope, but I have to say I’m deeply disappointed with what we’re hearing coming out of the EU,” Leadsom told Reuters.    “I do have to ask myself what game are they playing here.”
    Asked who would be to blame if May loses the parliamentary vote again on Tuesday, Leadsom said: “I would point to the EU needing to work closely with us."
    “We are hoping we will be able to win that vote but that does depend on the EU coming to the table and taking seriously the (UK’s) proposals.”
    Guy Verhofstadt, Brexit coordinator for the European Parliament, backed Barnier.
    “He has put forward constructive additions, now we wait for a credible response from the UK to ensure an orderly Brexit,” he said on Saturday.
    Talks will continue in Brussels but without a major breakthrough, May looks set to lose her second attempt to get lawmaker’s approval and smooth Britain’s exit from the EU, its biggest shift in trade and foreign policy in more than 40 years.
    The main sticking point is the so-called Northern Irish backstop, an insurance policy to prevent a return of border controls in Ireland that eurosceptics believe is an attempt to trap the country in the EU’s customs union indefinitely.
    Barnier’s solution would potentially create a “border” in the Irish sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, a move that is particularly unpalatable to Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
    As defenders of the union with Britain, the DUP opposes any change that would treat Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the United Kingdom.    May relies on DUP votes to get her legislation passed after she lost her parliamentary majority.
    Brandon Lewis, the chairman of May’s ruling Conservative Party, said on Saturday the government could never accept a deal which threatened the integrity of the union.
    Leadsom said were Britain to leave the EU without a withdrawal deal it would be harder to guarantee the smooth flow of goods and people across the Irish border that has been possible since 1998.
    “In making it impossible for us to sign up to that (deal), it actually makes the problems with the Northern Irish border harder to solve, not easier to solve,,” she said.
    May warned on Friday that were lawmakers to reject her deal on Tuesday, it would increase the chance that Brexit never happens, leaving voters feeling betrayed.
    If her deal is rejected, lawmakers will be able to vote on Wednesday and Thursday on whether they want to leave the bloc without a deal or ask for a delay to Brexit beyond March 29 – all but wresting control of Brexit from the government.
(Writing by Kate Holton; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

3/10/2019 Despite pressure, Venezuela’s Maduro seems set on staying put: U.S. envoy by Lesley Wroughton
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro attends a rally in support of his government
in Caracas, Venezuela March 9, 2019. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – There are no signs that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is open to negotiations to end the political impasse with opposition leader Juan Guaido, Washington’s envoy for Venezuela said.
    Elliott Abrams, who served in the administrations of both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, said any negotiated solution would need to be reached among Venezuelans, and that the United States could help by lifting or easing U.S. sanctions and travel restrictions once Maduro agreed to go.
    Abrams, however, played down any possibility that the Venezuelan president was ready to talk about his exit.    “From everything we have seen, Maduro’s tactic is to stay put,” Abrams said in an interview on Friday.
    Some 56 countries have recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s interim head of state, but Maduro retains the backing of Russia and China as well as control of state institutions including the military.
    Abrams has met with Russian representatives to the United States about Moscow’s support for Maduro.    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier this month, after a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, that Moscow was ready to take part in bilateral talks on Venezuela.
    “The Russians are not happy with Maduro for all the obvious reasons,” Abrams said.    “In a couple of conversations I have been told they have given advice to Maduro and he doesn’t take it.”
    “They continue to support him and there is no indication that I have seen that they are telling him it’s time to bring this to an end,” he said, adding: “There could come a point where the Russians reach a conclusion that the regime is really unsalvageable.”
    Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    Washington has called on foreign banks to ensure that Maduro and Venezuelan government officials are not hiding financial assets abroad.    John Bolton, the U.S. national security advisor, last week threatened to impose sanctions against any financial institution that help Maduro.
    “We are not going to get any cooperation on this from Russian banks, but I think every step we take makes it harder for the regime to steal money,” Abrams said.
    Moscow is owed $3.1 billion in sovereign debt by Venezuela and acted as a lender of last resort for Caracas, with the government and Russian oil giant, Rosneft, handing Venezuela at least $17 billion in loans and credit lines since 2006.
    Abrams said he had not yet spoken to Chinese government officials about Beijing’s support for Maduro, blaming scheduling issues.    “We will do it,” Abrams said.
    Referring to Cuba, the U.S. envoy described it as “a parasite that has been feeding off Venezuela for decades” by taking its oil while offering intelligence and other protections for Maduro.
    “There are thousands of Cuban officers, and literally, physically, around him.    In some ways they are the key advisors to Maduro,” Abrams said of Havana’s role.
    Communist-run Cuba has been a key backer of the Venezuelan socialist government since the Bolivarian Revolution that began under former leader Hugo Chavez in 1998.
    Cuba has denied it has security forces in Venezuela and said statements like Abrams’ were part of a campaign of lies aimed at paving the way for U.S. military intervention in the South American country.
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Additional reporting by Christian Lowe in Moscow; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

3/10/2019 Sen. John Kennedy: Andrew McCabe Should Hang His Head in Shame by OAN Newsroom
    Senator John Kennedy takes aim at disgraced Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, accusing him of harming the Bureau’s reputation.
    During an itnterview on Sunday, Kennedy said McCabe should “hang his head in shame.”
    Senator John Kennedy “says former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and others at the FBI acted on their political beliefs and for that, they 'should hang their head in shame…and put their head in a bag'."
    Kennedy also accused him of politicizing the agency during the 2016 election.
    He added agents are entitled to their opinions, but claimed McCabe crossed a line by acting on his political beliefs.
    Kennedy continued to say McCabe is lucky he wasn’t prosecuted for perjury and misleading the FBI.

3/10/2019 Kudlow: China Trade Deal Likely by April, Will be Positive For U.S. Jobs by OAN Newsroom
    White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow touts major progress in the ongoing trade talks with China.
    In an interview on Sunday, Kudlow said a sweeping trade agreement with China could be finalized by April.
FILE- In this Dec. 3, 2018, file photo White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow talks with reporters
about trade negotiations with China, at the White House in Washington. President Donald Trump’s top economist
is brushing off concerns about rising budget deficits and slowing economic growth in advance of the release of the
president’s 2020 budget. Kudlow says Trump’s budget “points a steady glide path” toward lower federal spending and federal borrowing
as a share of the nation’s economy. The budget proposal will be released on Monday, March 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
    He added the upcoming agreement is aimed at protecting American jobs in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors by making trade with China fair and reciprocal.
    He stressed the final version of the deal will go to President Trump who will decide whether it’s good enough for the U.S., and said he expects the upcoming trade deal to be “positive and bullish.”
    Meanwhile, President Trump expressed confidence about striking a deal with China.

3/10/2019 Macron’s party favors pensions boost for poorest amid protests
FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during the closing session of the Intelligence College in Europe
meeting at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Paris, France March 5, 2019. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    PARIS (Reuters) – France should link pension rises for the poorest retirees with inflation again, the head of President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party said on Sunday, as politicians seek a response to a wave of protests over high living costs.
    “Yellow vest” demonstrators kept up the pressure for the 17th weekend in a row, even as turnout across France fell to its lowest since the movement erupted last November as a backlash against fuel tax hikes.
    An extra 10 billion euros ($11 billion) in support for low income workers and a U-turn on the fuel tax have yet to convince many to end their protests.
    Macron is seeking to stem discontent via a national policy debate, with a marathon of town hall-style consultations with local representatives due to wrap up next week before the president returns his conclusions in April.
    Lawmakers from his own La Republique en Marche party (LREM, or Republic on the Move) – an upstart force behind Macron’s electoral victory in 2017 that has a majority in the lower house of parliament – are also presenting policy proposals.
    One of these would tweak the way pensions are calculated for the poorest, LREM party chief Stanislas Guerini told Le Parisien newspaper on Sunday.
    For 2019, the government had limited pensions rises to 0.3 percent – a modest hike after French consumer prices rose 1.8 percent on average in 2018 and are expected to remain above 1 percent this year.
    Guerini did not flesh out the cost entailed in potentially linking some pensions to inflation.
    Among other measures, LREM will also propose making rentals of cleaner car models available to low income households for under 50 euros ($56) a month, Guerini said.
    The now-scrapped fuel tax hike, heralded by Macron as part of a bid to fight climate change, had especially incensed people in rural areas who depend on their cars to get to work.
    Guerini said LREM would also suggest mechanisms to allow people to put forward law proposals.
    “As soon as a topic mobilizes a certain number of people, let’s say a million, a draft law could be pulled together by an assembly of citizens chosen through lots,” Guerini said in the interview.
(Reporting by Sarah White and Danielle Rouquie; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

3/11/2019 3/11/2019 Trump expected to seek $8.6B for wall by Lisa Mascaro, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump will seek $8.6 billion in his new budget to build the U.S.-Mexico border wall, two administration officials said Sunday, setting up another showdown with Congress, which has resisted giving him more money for his signature campaign promise.
    The request would more than double the $8.1 billion already available to the president after he declared a national emergency at the border in order to circumvent Congress once lawmakers refused his funding demands.    That standoff led to a 35-day partial government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history.
    The officials confirmed that the request was part of Trump’s spending blueprint for the 2020 budget year that begins Oct. 1.
    That document, which sets the stage for negotiations ahead, proposes boosting to defense spending to $750 billion while reducing nondefense accounts by 5 percent, with cuts recommended to safety net programs used by many Americans.    The plan sticks to budget caps that both parties have routinely broken in recent years and promises to come into balance in 15 years, relying in part on economic growth that may be uncertain.
    The officials were not authorized to publicly discuss budget details before Monday’s release of the plan and spoke on condition of anonymity.
    White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Trump’s budget “points a steady glide path” toward lower spending and borrowing as a share of the nation’s economy.    He also told “Fox News Sunday” that there was no reason to “obsess” about deficits, and expressed confidence that economic growth would top 3 percent in 2019 and beyond. Others have predicted lower growth.
    Budget proposals are merely a starting point, but leading Democrats immediately rejected this request.
    “Congress refused to fund his wall and he was forced to admit defeat and reopen the government.    The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York.    They said the money “would be better spent on rebuilding America.”
    The budget arrives as the Senate readies to vote this week to terminate Trump’s national emergency declaration.
    The Democratic-led House already did so, and Trump’s Republican allies in the Senate, uneasy over his move, are expected to follow suit.    Many lawmakers view the declaration as an overreach of executive power.    Congress appears to have enough votes to reject Trump’s action, but not enough to overturn his pledged veto.
    The new border wall request is coming on top of the money Trump already has access to after declaring a national emergency last month.    Trump took that step after Congress approved nearly $1.4 billion for border barriers, far less than the $5.7 billion he wanted.
    Through the national emergency, Trump can tap an additional $3.6 billion from military accounts and shift it to building the wall.    That’s causing discomfort on Capitol Hill, where even the president’s Republican allies are protective of their power to decide how to allocate federal dollars.
White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow told “Fox News Sunday
that there was no reason to “obsess” about deficits. EVAN VUCCI/AP

3/11/2019 Rep. Nunes shares ‘important’ report ahead of Steele deposition release by OAN Newsroom
    Representative Devin Nunes is drawing attention to a report connecting dark money to the group behind the anti-Trump dossier.
    In a Sunday tweet, Nunes encouraged people to read the Daily Caller investigation, which claims a California dark money group gave two billion dollars to another organization that contracted with Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele.
    The money was reportedly handed over to the ‘Democrat Integrity Project’ in 2017, and was allegedly to conduct opposition research on President Trump.
    Nunes said this is important to read ahead of the deposition of Steele in a lawsuit brought against Buzzfeed. According to reports, transcripts may be made public as early as Thursday.
Rep. Devin Nunes. (Photo/J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

    The following was found at
3/11/2019 Devin Nunes cites 'important' report ahead of Christopher Steele deposition release by Daniel Chaitin.
    Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, called attention to an "important" story published Sunday evening related to the opposition research firm and author behind the infamous Trump dossier.
    The Daily Caller reported on what it said was a dark money group based in California that gave $2 million to The Democracy Integrity Project, an organization that has contracted with Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele to conduct research on President Trump.
    In a tweet, Nunes stressed the report bore extra significance due to its timing.    "This is actually important as we wait for the March 14 Steele and [Kramer] depositions to made public," the California Republican said.
    A federal judge overruled late last month the objections of both Steele and David Kramer, a longtime associate of John McCain and former State Department official, to make their depositions public.    The pair gave testimony in a lawsuit brought against BuzzFeed in December 2018 by a Russian Internet entrepreneur.    The depositions could be released as soon as March 14.
    The organization to which Fund for a Better Future donated $2,065,000 in 2017 was founded on Jan. 31, 2017, by Daniel Jones, a former intelligence committee staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.    Last spring it was revealed that Jones told the FBI he hired Fusion GPS to push a narrative that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in order to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.
    Liberal billionaire George Soros has also given The Democracy Integrity Project $1 million.
    The Democracy Integrity Project was created after the 2016 election and is dedicated to investigating election interference.
    Published in full by BuzzFeed in January 2017, the Steele's dossier contains a collection of salacious and unverified claims about Trump's potentially compromising ties to Russia, including the claim that Trump hired prostitutes to urinate on bed in a hotel room in Russia where former President Barack Obama once stayed.
    Republicans including Nunes have raised concerns about the dossier's originals and how it was used by the FBI to obtain the authority to wiretap onetime Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

3/11/2019 Venezuelans scramble for food and water as oil exports hit by blackout by Vivian Sequera and Anggy Polanco
FILE PHOTO: People queue to try to buy potable water during a blackout in Puerto Ordaz,
Venezuela March 10, 2019. REUTERS/William Urdaneta NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
    CARACAS/SAN CRISTOBAL, Venezuela (Reuters) – Much of Venezuela, including parts of the capital Caracas, remained without power on Monday for a fifth day, crimping vital oil exports and leaving people struggling to obtain water and food.
    President Nicolas Maduro, who has blamed the unprecedented blackout on sabotage by the United States at Venezuela’s Guri hydroelectric dam, again ordered the suspension of classes and the working day, as he had on Friday.
    Sources in the energy sector, OPEC member Venezuela’s main source of foreign earnings and a vital generator of revenue for Maduro’s government, said that exports from the main oil terminal of Jose had been halted by the blackouts.
    The opposition-controlled congress called an emergency session to discuss the power cuts, blaming negligence by Maduro’s socialist government.
    Maduro’s rule is being challenged by congress leader Juan Guaido, who in January invoked the constitution to assume the presidency after declaring Maduro’s 2018 re-election a fraud.
    Guaido has been recognized as Venezuela’s legitimate leader by the United States and most Western countries, but Maduro retains control of the armed forces and state institutions.
    The blackout, which began Thursday afternoon, has heightened frustration among Venezuelans already suffering widespread food and medicine shortages, as the once-prosperous nation’s economy suffers a hyperinflationary collapse.
    Food has rotted in refrigerators, hospitals have struggled to keep equipment operating, and people have clustered on the streets of Caracas to pick up patchy telephone signals to reach relatives abroad.    On Monday, people formed lines to fill containers with water from the streams cascading down the mountain overlooking Caracas.
    “This is driving me crazy,” said Naile Gonzalez in Chacaito, a commercial neighborhood of Caracas.    “The government doesn’t want to accept that this is their fault because they haven’t carried out any maintenance in years.”
    Experts consulted by Reuters believe the nationwide blackout originated in transmission lines that transport energy from the Guri hydroelectric plant to the Venezuelan south.
    Venezuela’s electricity network has suffered from years of underinvestment and lack of maintenance.    Restrictions on imports have affected the provision of spare parts, while many skilled technical personnel have fled the country amid an exodus of more than three million Venezuelans in three years.
    In the early hours of Monday morning, a power substation in southeastern Caracas exploded, cutting off supply to nearby areas, according to Reuters witnesses.
    State television on Monday confirmed the incident, which it said left no injuries.    It said the cause was being investigated but provided no further details.
    Other regions, such as the Andean city of San Cristobal near the border with Colombia, were without electricity on Monday, a Reuters witness said.
    The lack of electricity has aggravated a crisis in Venezuelan hospitals, also lacking investment and maintenance in addition to the shortage of medicines.
    Dr Julio Castro, of the non-governmental group Doctors for Health, said in a Twitter message on Sunday night that 21 people have died in public hospitals since the start of the blackout.
(Reporting by Vivian Sequera and Anggy Polanco; Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Brian Ellsworth and Grant McCool)

3/11/2019 Germany not satisfied with readiness of submarines, some aircraft by Andrea Shalal
FILE PHOTO: A German Bundeswehr armed forces Sikorsky CH-53 helicopter is seen during a drill for the upcoming
ILA Berlin Air Show at Holzdorf Air Base, south of Berlin, Germany, May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
    BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s military remains dissatisfied with the combat readiness of its submarines and certain older aircraft, but a spate of reforms are starting to take hold, the military’s top uniformed officer told lawmakers on Monday.
    However, in a letter accompanying the military’s annual readiness report, Inspector General Eberhard Zorn said the actual report would be kept classified for the first time for security reasons, a move criticized by opposition lawmakers.
    “Apparently the readiness of the Bundeswehr is so bad that the public should not be allowed to know about it,” said Tobias Lindner, a Greens member who serves on the budget and defense committees.
    He asked parliament to postpone consideration of the mandatory report – which can be seen only in a secure facility – until next week, instead of Wednesday, to give lawmakers more time to study its conclusions.
    Zorn said the average readiness of the country’s nearly 10,000 weapons systems stood at about 70 percent in 2018, which meant Germany was able to fulfill its military obligations despite increasing responsibilities.
    No overall comparison figure was available for 2017, but last year’s report revealed readiness rates of under 50 percent for specific weapons such as the aging CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters and the Tornado fighter jets.
    Zorn said this year’s report was more comprehensive and included details on five main weapons systems used by the cyber command, and eight arms critical for NATO’s high readiness task force, which Germany heads this year.
    “The overall view allows such concrete conclusions about the current readiness of the Bundeswehr that knowledge by unauthorised individuals would harm the security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,” he wrote.
    Zorn said changes meant to boost availability of spare parts and cut maintenance times were producing results, at least in some areas.
    None of Germany’s six U212A submarines were ready for operations for five months in the first half of 2018, although the number rose to three by the end of the year, he said.
    The readiness levels of the CH-53 helicopter and Tornado fighter jets remained at the low levels seen in 2017, when an average 16 of 72 CH-53 helicopters were combat-ready, and 26 of 93 Tornado fighter jets.
    This underscored the importance of moving forward with replacement programs for both weapons, Zorn said.
    Some improvement was seen in the readiness of the GTK Boxer ground vehicle, and the A400 military transport, he said.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Tassilo Hummel and Frances Kerry)

3/11/2019 German conservative leader sees ‘no rift’ with France over EU vision
FILE PHOTO: Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer speaks at her party's conference
on migration, integration and security topics in Berlin, Germany, February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse/File Photo
    BERLIN (Reuters) – The leader of Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) on Monday played down her differences with French President Emmanuel Macron over his vision for Europe, expressing confidence the two countries could find common ground.
    Last week Macron called for fundamental reform of the EU in a newspaper column published in each of the 28 member states, saying nationalism posed a growing threat to the bloc in the countdown to European Parliament elections in May.
    At the weekend, CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer – a protege of Chancellor Angela Merkel and in pole position to succeed her – offered some overlap with Macron’s vision, while also warning against too much centralization.
    “There’s no rift,” Kramp-Karrenbauer told Welt television on Monday when asked how deep the divisions were between France and Germany on how to strengthen the EU.
    She said progress in EU policy was always made when Germany and France’s traditionally different points of view came together, adding: “We’re in that phase now.”
    In her weekend opinion piece for the Welt am Sonntag weekly, Kramp-Karrenbauer rejected Macron’s call for a European minimum wage and warned against collective debts, reflecting entrenched resistance in Berlin to any moves that could make Germany liable for other states’ debts.
    Her response to Macron helped to fill a void left by Merkel, who had left her spokesman to say last week that Germany supports discussions about the EU’s future.
    On Monday Merkel’s spokesman said: “Mrs Kramp-Karrenbauer has now – and this is good and important – presented the CDU’s proposals and they are in accordance with the chancellor’s thoughts.”
    Kramp-Karrenbauer said on Monday she agreed with Macron on protecting the EU’s external borders, on security and defense policy and on an internal European banking market for banks.
    “The fact that the CDU has a different political view on the issue of redistribution, on the issue of completely uniform social standards … than the French is nothing new,” she said.
    In her weekend opinion piece, Kramp-Karrenbauer also said a joint EU innovation budget should fund new technologies, tax loopholes should be closed in the bloc and a digital tax introduced based on an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) model.
(Reporting Michelle Martin and Andreas Rinke; Additional reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Gareth Jones)

3/11/2019 Border Patrol: 900 alien families per day detained in Texas in February by OAN Newsroom
    Border Patrol officials are sounding the alarm over the rising number of migrant family units trying to illegally cross into the U.S.
    According to reports from agents in the El Paso and Rio Grande sectors Monday, roughly 900 migrant families were detained everyday last month. that’s a 579-percent increase from just 132 families per day during the same period last year.
    Officials said while some migrant families seek to take advantage of the U.S. immigration system themselves, others are trafficked across the border.
FILE – In this June 26, 2018, file photo, vehicles leave the Port Isabel Detention Center, which holds
detainees of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Fresnos, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, file)
    “We have smugglers and traffickers profiting from human misery every single day by exploiting people who are seeking a better life, deceiving them about our laws, and fueling everything from sexual slavery to child exploitation, to the smuggling of illicit goods,” explained Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.    “And at the current pace we are on track to encounter close to one million illegal aliens at our southern border this year.”
    Immigration officials also said many migrants file fraudulent family claims to try and stay in the U.S. without actually being related.

3/11/2019 Pompeo, Kushner, Greenblatt discuss Middle East with Jordan king: source by Steve Holland
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to the media at the Department of Foreign Affairs
in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House senior advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt discussed Middle East peace prospects with Jordan’s King Abdullah on Monday in Washington, an American source familiar with the meeting said.
    The 45-minute meeting took place at the Jordanian ambassador’s residence in Washington, the source said.
    Kushner and Greenblatt returned recently from a tour of Gulf states during which they sought support from Arab leaders on the economic portion of a Middle East peace proposal that U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to unveil in coming months.
    That trip, however, did not include a stop in Jordan.
    Release of the Trump peace plan has been delayed repeatedly, particularly after Palestinians erupted in anger when Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017.
    The current thinking among White House officials is that the plan will be unveiled sometime after Israel holds elections on April 9 that will decide the fate of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    King Abdullah also met Vice President Mike Pence on Monday.
    Pence’s office said he and the king discussed the fight against Islamic State militants and Trump’s decision to maintain a residual U.S. presence in Syria.
    The king is to meet lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, including a coffee with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
    The king also met on Monday with U.S. acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to discuss military and defense cooperation between Jordan and the United States.
    “The meeting covered the latest developments in the Middle East, efforts to reach political solutions to regional crises, and efforts to fight terrorism within a holistic approach and Jordanian-US cooperation in this regard,” the Jordanian embassy said in a statement.
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by David Gregorio and Meredith Mazzilli)

3/12/2019 Oil up $1.56 $57.47, DOW up 201 to 25,651.

3/12/2019 Trump budget is an unlikely wish list by John Fritze, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump called for deep cuts in environmental and safety net programs, billions more for his border wall and a huge boost for the military in a $4.75 trillion proposed 2020 budget that is unlikely to gain any traction in Congress.
    Trump delivered his first budget under a divided government Monday, a road map that would not balance the books for 15 years despite billions in cuts.    The proposal calls for $8.6 billion more for his border wall, a request Democrats immediately rejected.
    Even before Democrats claimed control of the House in last year’s midterm election, similar proposals from Trump failed in Congress.
    The schism between the president’s wish list and the actual spending of taxpayer money only deepened after a dispute over the border wall led to a 35-day government shutdown that ended in January.
    “This is not a serious proposal,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
    Presidential budgets, required by the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, have been widely viewed for decades as having more to do with politics than fiscal policy.    With the 2020 election already underway, the document gives the president an opportunity to lay out a vision for the country that he can trumpet to his supporters.
    The White House is eager to sell three messages with the president’s third budget: that Trump hasn’t given up on building his long-promised border wall, that he wants to increase military spending and that he hopes to slash just about everything else.
    The president requested $8.6 billion more for his wall, just weeks after Congress failed to approve his demand for $5.7 billion. With both sides dug in on the issue, the latest proposal is certain to go nowhere.    Trump declared a national emergency in February, a move the White House says will free up billions for the wall.
    Trump is also requesting billions more in spending at the Defense Department – one of the few priorities that could gain some attention from lawmakers. After initially considering Pentagon cuts last year, the White House embraced a proposal to increase the Defense Department’s budget 5 percent to $750 billion.
    Other proposals include:
  • A $2.8 billion, or 31 percent, reduction for the Environmental Protection Agency and a $327 billion cut to safety-net programs.
  • A new user fee on e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery system products to “address today’s alarming rise in youth e-cigarette use.”
  • Nearly $315 million to hire an additional 1,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and 128 immigration court prosecuting attorneys.
  • Almost $300 million toward the goal of eliminating nearly all new infections of HIV/AIDS within 10 years.    Even Republicans remained noncommittal about the White House proposals.    “I look forward to reviewing additional details,” said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.    “Throughout the next few months, the (committee) will conduct hearings and carefully review the president’s proposal.”
Copies of President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget were delivered to the
House Budget Committee on Capitol Hill on Monday. MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE

3/12/2019 U.S. to withdraw all remaining diplomatic personnel from Venezuela
Security forces are seen after looting during an ongoing blackout in Caracas, Venezuela March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
    (Reuters) – The United States will withdraw all remaining diplomatic personnel from Venezuela this week, the U.S. State Department said late on Monday, citing the deteriorating situation in the country after months of political unrest.
    It followed Washington’s Jan. 24 decision to withdraw all dependents and reduce embassy staff to a minimum in the South American country hit by unrest over a contested presidential election.
    “This decision reflects the deteriorating situation in Venezuela as well as the conclusion that the presence of U.S. diplomatic staff at the embassy has become a constraint on U.S. policy,” the State Department said in a statement.
    It did not give more details or set a day for when personnel would be withdrawn from the embassy in Caracas.
    Venezuela’s congress on Monday declared a “state of alarm” over a five-day power blackout that has crippled the OPEC nation’s oil exports and left millions of citizens scrambling to find food and water.
    Venezuela also suspended school and business activities on Tuesday due to the power blackout, Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said in a televised broadcast on Monday, the third such cancellation since power went out last week.
    The outage has added to discontent in a country already suffering from hyperinflation and a political crisis after opposition leader Juan Guaido assumed the interim presidency in January after declaring President Nicolas Maduro’s 2018 re-election a fraud.
(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; editing by Darren Schuettler)

3/12/2019 Desperate Venezuelans swarm sewage drains in search of water by Brian Ellsworth and Vivian Sequera
People collect water released through a sewage drain that feeds into the Guaire River, which carries most
of the city's wastewater, in Caracas, Venezuela March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
    CARACAS (Reuters) – As Venezuela’s five-day power blackout left homes without water, Lilibeth Tejedor found herself looking for it on Monday in the last place she would have imagined – a drain pipe feeding into a river carrying sewage through the capital, Caracas.
    Tejedor, 28, joined dozens of people who had flocked to the Guaire river, which snakes along the bottom of a sharp ravine alongside Caracas’ main highway, to fill up a four-gallon (15 liter) plastic container.
    Unlike the fetid liquid flowing through the Guaire river, the water emerging from the pipe was at least clear.    Those who gathered to collect it said the water had been released by local authorities from reservoirs.
    They added, however, that it was being carried through unsanitary pipes and should only be used to flush toilets or scrub floors.
    “I’ve never even seen this before.    It’s horrible, horrible,” said Tejedor, preparing to carry the container on a small hand cart back to her home in the neighborhood of San Agustin.
    Tejedor, who works at a computer technology store, has a two-year-old daughter and takes care of two nieces.
    “The ones that are most affected are the children, because how do you tell a child that there’s no water?” she said.
    The lack of water has become one of the most excruciating side effects of the nationwide blackout that the government of President Nicolas Maduro has blamed on U.S.-backed sabotage but his critics call the product of corruption and incompetence.
    The blackout has worsened the situation of a country already facing a hyperinflationary economic collapse that has spurred a mass migration and turned once-basic items like corn flour and toilet paper into unaffordable luxuries for most people.
    After five days without electricity to pump water, Venezuelans from working-class neighborhoods to upscale apartment towers are complaining of increasingly infrequent showers, unwashed dishes, and stinking toilets.     Caracas needs 20,000 liters of water per second from nearby watersheds to maintain service, said Jose de Viana, an engineer who ran Caracas’ municipal water authority in the 1990s.     Last week that had fallen to around 13,000 and since Thursday’s blackout it has halted completely, he said. ‘KILLING US’
    Many worry about the spread of disease.    The lack of water compounds the inability to buy soap due to soaring prices or chronic shortages.
    Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who in January invoked the constitution to assume the interim presidency after declaring Maduro’s re-election a fraud, led the country’s legislature on Monday in declaring a “state of alarm” over power problems.
    Maduro is facing an unprecedented political crisis and the United States, which backs Guaido, has levied crippling oil industry sanctions meant to starve the government of its sources of foreign revenue.
    Up the road from where Tejedor stood, hundreds of angry residents blocked the highway on Monday to demand that local authorities deliver a 20,000-liter cistern to supply water to the neighborhood of La Charneca.
    “They’re killing us with hunger and thirst,” said Gladys Martinez, 52, a homemaker, who joined the demonstration that blocked two lanes of the highway, snarling traffic and drawing dozens of police and National Guard troops to the scene.
    Along the riverbed, teenagers and children accompanied their parents to help carry water.    As two children began stomping in the sewage, a woman warned them: “That water’s dirty!    Don’t start playing around because remember there’s no medicine.”
    Water trucks, a common sight in Caracas, are increasingly struggling to fill up because state-run reservoirs are running low.
    On the northern edge of Caracas, where the city meets the El Avila national park, hundreds of people lined up to collect water from mountain streams.
    Lack of water, along with the power outage, has become a major concern for hospitals – which have for years suffered from lack of equipment and supplies.
    Jose Velez, 58, a security guard who also arrived at the Guaire to collect water, said the blackout had made life unbearable and wished the country’s politicians would agree on how to resolve the situation.
    “I’m not interested in these politicians, they never agree on anything,” said Velez.    “I want my life to go back to normal.”
(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth and Vivian Sequera; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Rosalba O’Brien)

3/12/2019 U.S. expands return of asylum seekers to Mexico to new ports of entry by Yeganeh Torbati
FILE PHOTO: A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent participates in a test deployment during a
large-scale operational readiness exercise at the San Ysidro port of entry with Mexico in San Diego, California, U.S,
as seen from Tijuana, Mexico January 10, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is expanding its program to send asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait out their U.S. court proceedings and so far has returned 240 people since starting the program in January, U.S. officials told reporters on Tuesday.
    The officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said the policy, which was rolled out at the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego earlier this year, has been expanded to the Calexico port, which is also in Southern California on the U.S.-Mexico border.
    In addition, migrants who attempt to cross illegally and then ask for asylum in the U.S. border patrol’s San Diego sector will now also be subject to return to Mexico, the officials said.
    Mexico’s foreign ministry issued a statement confirming the program’s expansion to the Calexico port.    Mexican officials have been in touch with U.S. immigration authorities about the migrants returning to Mexico, the ministry said.
    One official said border authorities had only started turning back people who crossed between ports this past week.    He said that “a very low number” of people who crossed illegally have been returned so far, while the vast majority of those who were sent back presented themselves at legal ports of entry to claim asylum.
    The policy is the latest effort by the Trump administration to try to curb a sharp increase in the number of Central American families that are arriving at the border and claiming asylum.    Administration officials say even though many of the asylum claims are ultimately denied, applicants end up living in the United States for years while their court cases are processed.
    But immigration advocates say that returning vulnerable migrants to dangerous border cities is illegal and violates U.S. obligations under international treaties.    The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups sued in federal court to halt the program.
    President Donald Trump, whose administration has worked to limit both legal and illegal immigration, said in an interview with the website Breitbart published on Tuesday that Mexican drug cartels should be considered terrorist organizations.    He highlighted the danger of Mexican cities close to the U.S. border and said Mexico is “considered one of the most unsafe countries in the world.”
    U.S. officials have previously argued that their policy of making asylum seekers wait in Mexico does not put them at any greater risk, and refer to the return policy as the “Migrant Protection Protocols.”
    DHS officials said the U.S. government is working closely with Mexican authorities to clear the expansion plans.     “We’re not going to open a location if the Mexicans aren’t ready and able to process and provide the humanitarian protections that they agreed to,” one official said.
    But some Mexican officials have warned that the country’s border cities would struggle to look after asylum seekers for long periods of time.
    DHS said the return policy does not apply to Mexican citizens, unaccompanied minors or people with serious medical conditions or disabilities, but families with children are being returned.
(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati in Washington; Writing by Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Bill Trott and Cynthia Osterman)

3/12/2019 U.S. plans ‘very significant’ additional Venezuela sanctions: official by Lesley Wroughton
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a broadcast at Miraflores Palace in
Caracas, Venezuela March 11, 2019. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is preparing to impose “very significant” Venezuela-related sanctions against financial institutions in the coming days, U.S. special envoy Elliott Abrams said on Tuesday.
    Abrams did not elaborate on the fresh measures but his warning came a day after the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on Russian bank Evrofinance Mosnarbank for helping Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA evade U.S. financial restrictions.
    Abrams said Washington was also preparing to withdraw more U.S. visas from Venezuelans with close ties to President Nicolas Maduro.
    Washington has taken the lead in recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s rightful president after the 35-year-old Congress chief declared Maduro’s 2018 re-election a fraud and announced an interim presidency in January.    Most countries in Europe and Latin America have followed suit.
    Abrams’ comments came as Venezuela ordered American diplomats to leave the country within 72 hours.
    Washington said it had decided to withdraw the remaining diplomats due to deteriorating conditions in Venezuela, which has been plunged into its worst blackout on record.
    Abrams emphasized that the withdrawal of diplomats was not a change in U.S. policy.
    “This does not represent any change in U.S. policy toward Venezuela, nor does it represent any reduction in the commitment we have to the people of Venezuela and to their struggle for democracy,” he said, adding that the U.S. intended to keep up pressure on Maduro through sanctions.
    “You will see very soon a significant number of additional visa revocations.    You will see in the coming days some very significant additional sanctions,” Abrams added.
    He said the United States was in talks with other countries that could act as its “protecting power” in Venezuela to ensure the safety of the U.S. embassy’s premises and provide assistance to Americans in trouble.
    A “protecting power” is a country that represents another in cases where two countries have broken off diplomatic relations.    Washington, for example, has appointed Switzerland as its “protecting power” in Iran.
    “We are trying to decide on a protecting power,” Abrams said.
    He said the safety of U.S. diplomats was a key factor in the withdrawal decision reached by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the late hours of Monday night.
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton and David Alexander; writing by Doina Chiacu; editing by Bill Trott)

3/12/2019 Dozens of actresses, executives charged in college admissions cheating scandal by OAN Newsroom
    Dozens of people, including prominent celebrities, are facing charges in connection with a nationwide college admissions cheating scandal.    Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among those charged in the scheme.
    Prosecutors are saying the scheme was orchestrated by William Rick Singer, who is the founder of a for-profit college preparation business based in California and disguised as a charity.    Singer allegedly collected a total of $25 million from parents to bribe administrators and coaches to get their children into top universities, including Yale, Georgetown and USC.
    As part of the scheme, parents would pay Singer to hire other people to take the SAT or ACT tests on behalf of their children to ensure their college admission.
U.S. Attorney for District of Massachusetts Andrew Lelling announces indictments in a sweeping college admissions
bribery scandal, during a news conference, Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
    “Overall today we have charged three people, who have organized these scams, two ACT or SAT administrators, one exam proctor, one college administrator, nine coaches at elite schools, and 33 parents who paid enormous sums to guarantee their children’s admission to certain schools through the use of bribes and fake academic and athletic credentials,” announced attorney Andrew Lelling of the District of Massachusetts.
    Huffman and her husband allegedly gave about $15,000 to get their daughter into college, while Loughlin and her husband agreed to pay about $500,000 in bribes to get their two daughters on USC’s rowing team.
    Singer is facing several charges, including money laundering and obstruction of justice.    He is expected to plead guilty in federal court Tuesday.

3/12/2019 VP Pence: A vote against national emergency order is a vote against border security by OAN Newsroom
    Vice President Mike Pence called the situation at the southern border “a crisis like we’ve never seen before,” while defending the president’s national emergency declaration.
    Pence made the remark while speaking in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, and also outlined the crisis as one of “illegal immigration, drugs, dangerous criminals and human trafficking.”    He suggested those opposed to the national emergency declaration are “trying to stop the president from exercising the authority” given to him by congress.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks to the 2019 Ohio Oil and Gas Association 72nd Annual Meeting,
Friday, March 8, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Phil Long)
    Pence urged every member of the Senate to not vote for the disapproval resolution.
    “A vote against the president’s emergency declaration is a vote against border security, a vote against the President’s emergency declaration is a vote to deny the real humanitarian and security crisis that is happening at our southern border, and so we’re calling on every member of the United States Senate to set politics aside, stand up for border security, stand with this President, and stand with the safety and security of the American people first,” stated the vice president.
    The Senate is expected to vote on the measure later this week.

3/12/2019 GOP move toward nuclear option as Democrats continue to block Trump nominees by OAN Newsroom
    Senate Republicans are inching closer toward deploying their last resort option in the face of Democrat obstruction.
    Members of the GOP leadership caucus met with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday, where they considered the possible use of a procedural tactic called the nuclear option.    This would allow Republicans to advance confirmation votes with only a simple majority instead of the current 60 vote threshold needed.    The nuclear option has been triggered two times during the last six years by Republicans and Democrats alike.
    McConnell said he’d still prefer to strike a deal with Democrats to speed up the confirmation process for President Trump’s nominees, but warned he would move forward with the nuclear option if they continue to block the president from filling a backlog of essential nominations.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks during a news conference on
Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    McConnell explained how Democrats are taking advantage of current rules to eat up valuable floor time to delay nominations, even for candidates that are not considered controversial.    He claimed this has lead to a crisis in the administration due to an enormous amount of vacancies below the cabinet level.    This concern has been echoed by many in the upper chamber.
    “Unfortunately, what we are seeing on the other side is just obstruction, they don’t want to move people,” said Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan.    “Come on down, explain it — tell the American people why assistant secretaries across federal agencies, who have been waiting months to be confirmed by this body, who have been voted out of committee with big bipartisan numbers, sit and wait and wait and wait.”    The measure would allow the Senate to consider an executive nominee or district judge after just two-hours of debate, substantially reducing the current 30-hour wait time after a cloture vote.
    It’s important to note nominations to the cabinet, supreme court or appellate court would be exempt from the rule change.
    At this point, Republicans think they have the 50 votes needed to approve use of the nuclear option if Democrats refuse to work together to pass this measure in the traditional way.
    Senators Roy Blunt and John Cornyn, both members of the caucus, are confident the rules change proposal will receive a vote soon.    They said it could happen as early as this month after senators get back from recess on March 25th.

3/12/2019 White House may elevate acting positions by OAN Newsroom
    According to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, some members of the administration may be seeing promotions in the near future. During a press briefing Monday, Sanders talked to reporters about White House officials holding acting titles.
    President Trump picked Mick Mulvaney to serve as acting Chief of Staff in December, replacing General John Kelly.    Later that month, the president picked Patrick Shanahan to serve as acting Defense Secretary, replacing General James Mattis.
    Although she was vague, Sanders appeared to give credence to rumors both men may be elevated to a more permanent basis.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders speaks during a press briefing at the White House,
Monday, March 11, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    “I can tell you that the president has a great deal of respect for acting Defense Secretary Shanahan, he likes him, and when the president is ready to make an announcement on that front he certainly will,” said Sanders.
    This comes as the president has officially notified the Department of Interior that he is nominating David Bernhardt as secretary.

3/12/2019 President Trump quotes former Greenpeace Canada president on ‘climate change’ by OAN Newsroom
    The president took to Twitter to quote the former president of Greenpeace Canada, who said global warming is a sham.
    In a tweet Tuesday, President Trump quoted Patrick Moore, who said “the whole climate crisis is not only fake news” and “fake science.”
    Moore went on to say there was no so-called “climate crisis,” and pointed out that “carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life.”
    Trump tweet: “Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace: 'The whole climate crisis is not only Fake News, it’s Fake Science.    There is no climate crisis, there’s weather and climate all around the world, and in fact carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life'.' @foxandfriends Wow!
    Moore recently began to speak out against his former organization, and recently called global warming a “fear campaign” by “scientists hooked on government grants.”
Winemaker and director of Peterson Wines, Colin Peterson, walks through a dry dam on his property in Hunter Valley, Australia. (Reuters/Photo)

3/12/2019 White House: Let Cohen serve his time and let’s move on with the country by OAN Newsroom
    The White House recently addressed President Trump’s former associate’s, who are under fire from the Mueller probe.
    At a press briefing Monday, Sarah Sanders was asked if the president has held any talks about offering his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort a pardon.    Sanders would not get into the details, only stating the president would make a decision on the matter at a later date.
    Reporters then asked about President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen, and the questions surrounding his testimony to Congress.
FILE – In this March 6, 2019 file photo, Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, speaks as he departs
after testifying before a closed-door session of the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
    Sanders would not comment on the ongoing investigations, but blasted the former attorney’s false statements to lawmakers.    The press secretary had this to say:
    “I’m not going to get into specifics of things that are currently under review by the Oversight Committee and other committees.    What I can tell you is that Cohen’s own attorney stated and contradicted his client when he said that he was aware that those conversations had taken place.    We know that Michael Cohen lied to Congress prior to his testimony most recently and we know that he’s lied at least twice in that hearing.    I think that it’s time to stop giving him a platform.    Let him go on to serve his time and let’s move forward with matters of the country.”
    The comments come as new report claimed Cohen told several people he wanted to work in the White House after President Trump’s 2016 victory, which he lied to Congress about in public testimony.

3/13/2019 Oil up $0.44 to $57.31, DOW down 96 to 25,555.

3/13/2019 Oil up on reduced U.S. output estimate, stalled Venezuelan exports by Noah Browning
FILE PHOTO: An oil pump is seen operating in the Permian Basin near Midland, Texas, U.S. on May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Ernest Scheyder
    LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Wednesday, buoyed by an official forecast showing slower-than-expected U.S. production, and as U.S. sanctions stall exports from Venezuela.
    International Brent crude oil futures were at $66.89 a barrel at 0955 GMT, up 22 cents, or 0.33 percent, from their last close.
    U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $57.31 per barrel, up 44 cents, or 0.77 percent
    The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Tuesday that U.S. crude production was expected to grow more slowly in 2019 than it had previously expected, averaging about 12.30 million barrels per day (bpd).
    The EIA revised down its projected 2020 production figure from 13.20 million bpd to 13.03 million bpd.
    “While the revision is small, the comforting part for bulls was that the direction of the revision was down rather than up,” Harry Tchilinguirian, global oil strategist at BNP Paribas in London, told the Reuters Global Oil Forum.
    U.S. crude stocks also fell unexpectedly last week, data from the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday, in a good sign for oil demand as supply from various producers was being curbed.
    “The oil market maintained its buoyancy, thanks to Monday’s Saudi commitment to deep supply cuts and power outages in Venezuela crippling the loading of oil at key terminals,” Tchilinguirian added.
    Oil prices have been pushed up this year by supply cuts led by the Middle East-dominated Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
    Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Sunday that the production-curbing agreement would likely last until at least June.    Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, indicated on Monday that it would cut April exports.
    Markets have been further tightened by U.S. sanctions against oil exports from OPEC members Iran and Venezuela.
    Venezuela’s worst blackout on record has left most of the country without power for six days, with hospitals struggling to keep equipment running, food rotting in the tropical heat and exports from the country’s main oil terminal stranded.
    “Failures in the electrical system … (are) likely to accelerate the loss of 700,000 barrels per day” in oil supply, Barclays bank said.
    National Australia Bank reported a mixed outlook for oil, with global economic concerns and strong oil supply growth from the United States keeping prices in check but OPEC supply cuts and U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela driving them up.
(Reporting by Noah Browning in London; Additional reporting by Henning Gloystein in Singapore; Editing by Dale Hudson)

3/13/2019 Pentagon seeks military base to house 5,000 migrant children
    WASHINGTON – The Defense Department is reviewing a number of military bases to find a location that can house up to 5,000 unaccompanied migrant children as the U.S. braces for a surge of people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.    Tens of thousands of families cross the border illegally every month, and officials predict the problem will grow as the weather improves.    The Pentagon last summer approved the use of Goodfellow Air Force Base near San Anjelo, Texas, but that space was never used.

3/13/2019 Lisa Page claims DOJ pressured FBI not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton by OAN Newsroom
    The FBI was reportedly looking at recommending criminal charges against Hillary Clinton over her email scandal until the Obama-era Department of Justice told them not to.    That’s b>according to former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who made the admission under oath last year during her closed door testimony on Capitol Hill.
Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page arriveIing for her House Judiciary Committee deposition. (Photo/Reuters)
    Hundreds of pages of transcript were finally made public on Tuesday, which revealed the former FBI lawyer claimed the Department of Justice pressured the FBI to not to recommend gross negligence charges against Clinton over her alleged mishandling of classified information.
    Republicans have long speculated about a cover-up under the Obama administration.
    President Trump called out Justice Department over its possible mishandling of the email investigation in a tweet Wednesday.    He suggested her damning testimony exposes the Obama-era Justice Department for what it was — a “broken and corrupt machine.”
    Trump tweet: “They just revealed FBI Agent Lisa Page transcripts make the Obama Justice Department look exactly like it was, a broken and corrupt machine. Hopefully, justice will finally be served. Much more to come!
    The president also accused James Comey of lying to Congress for claiming the bureau’s decision was unanimous, which was contradicted by Page’s testimony.

3/13/2019 Paul Manafort sentenced to additional 3.5 years on conspiracy charges by OAN Newsroom
    Paul Manafort is sentenced to an additional three and a half years behind bars in relation to two conspiracy charges.
    Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Manafort to 73-months in a Washington, D.C. federal court Wednesday for charges related to unregistered foreign lobbying work and witness tampering.
    Jackson ruled half of the 60-months for the lobbying sentence must be served concurrently with the time he was given last week.    She also ruled the 13-months he was given for witness tampering must be served consecutively.
Paul Manafort departs from U.S. District Court in Washington, DC, U.S., February 28, 2018. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo)
    Manafort was sentenced to 47-months in prison on charges of bank and tax fraud last week in Virginia.    He will spend a total of seven and a half years behind bars if he is not granted early release.
    None of the charges against Manafort are in anyway related to his time serving as President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman.

3/13/2019 Illegal immigrant arrested in Calif. in connection with fatal stabbing by OAN Newsroom
24-year-old Carlos Arevalo Carranza. (Photo provided by the San Jose Police Department/handout)
    Police in California have arrested an illegal immigrant in connection with the death of a San Jose resident.
    In a statement Tuesday, authorities announced they had taken 24-year-old Carlos Arevalo Carranza into custody for allegedly fatally stabbing Bambi Larson.    59-year-old Larson was discovered in her home back in late February after her son checked on her when she had not shown up to work.
    Authorities are now searching for any connection between Carranza and Larson to pin down a possible motive for the crime.    At this point they believe the suspect may have just been looking for a target, because he was seen on video approaching several homes in the neighborhood.
    Police also said he has a long criminal history, leading to him being deported from the U.S. in 2013.
    "The suspect Carlos Carranza stalked the San Jose neighborhood and his victim.    He is a San Jose transient, who is known to camp near Capitol and Snell, and is a self-admitted gang member.    His criminal history convictions consist of in February of 2013 he was detained by the Department of Homeland Security at the border near McAllen, Texas and deported.” — Chief Eddie Garcia, San Jose Police Department.
    Over the past five years, police say he has also been arrested on charges of possessing drug paraphernalia, burglary, battery of an officer and resisting arrest.    In the months leading up to the killing, he was released from the Santa Clara County Jail twice.
    For their part, ICE had ordered Carranza to be detained on several occasions, but California’s sanctuary policies prevented him from being turned over to authorities.    An arraignment hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

3/13/2019 Don Trump Jr. says Dick Cheney is mad at President Trump for stopping his endless wars by OAN Newsroom
    Donald Trump Jr. is firing back at former Vice President Dick Cheney after he confronted fellow Vice President Mike Pence about the Trump administration’s foreign policy.
    In a tweet Tuesday, Trump Jr. called out Cheney for opposing President Trump’s efforts to stop the “reckless and endless wars” Cheney helped start.
    This comes after reports revealed the vice presidents faced off at a gathering Saturday, where Cheney criticized the White House for taking a tougher stance toward NATO allies, withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria and ending military exercises in South Korea.
    Like Donald Jr., Pence gave a firm defense of the Trump administration, putting America first on the world stage.
FILE – In this Jan. 11, 2017, file photo, Allen Weisselberg, center, stands between President Donald Trump,
left, and Donald Trump Jr., at a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

3/13/2019 Kellyanne Conway slams actresses named in college admissions scandal by OAN Newsroom
    White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is slamming actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, following their indictments in the college admissions cheating scandal.
    In a series of tweets Tuesday, Conway said while the two actresses are getting most of the attention, 48 other high-ranking officials failed their children.     Kellyanne Conway tweet: “2 actresses get most attention for college admissions cheating scandal.     Yet 48 others were charged, too.
    Coaches, athletic directors took millions.
    Author of ironically titled, “The Modern Girls Guide to Life
    Willkie Farr law firm partner
    The New York Times replyReplying to @nytimes
    Federal authorities charged 50 people in what the Justice Department is calling the largest college admissions scandal it has ever prosecuted.
    Here’s a full list of the people who have been charged.
”     She took it a step further by saying the “Full House” and “Desperate Housewives” stars are just worried their daughters are “as stupid as their mothers
Gordon Caplan of Greenwich, Conn., left, walks out of federal court Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in New York.
Fifty people, including Hollywood stars Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, were charged Tuesday in a scheme in which
wealthy parents allegedly bribed college coaches and other insiders to get their children into some of the nation’s most
selective schools. Caplan, who is co-chairman of the international law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, was accused of paying
$75,000 to get a test supervisor to correct the answers on his daughter’s ACT exam after she took it. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
    Meanwhile, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton also chimed in on the scandal.    He criticized the Department of Justice for focusing its time on a Hollywood investigation rather than the FBI targeting the Trump administration.
    Tom Fitton tweet: “Wow, for a sec, I thought DOJ might be announcing a Uranium One indictment or a major breakthrough in exposing DOJ/FBI abuses targeting @realDonaldTrump. Instead, we get a Hollywood investigation targeting rich people and actors breaking rules to get their kids into good schools.”

3/13/2019 Guaido: ‘All options on the table’ on moving office to presidential palace in Caracas by OAN Newsroom
    Interim Venezuelan President Juan Guaido recently announced a plan to move his office into the presidential palace in Caracas.    While speaking at a street rally Tuesday, Guaido said “all options are on the table” as he seeks to force free and fair elections in Venezuela.
    Guaido also urged the peaceful transition of power from the Maduro regime to the National Assembly.
    This comes after the regime’s chief prosecutor accused Guaido of sabotage in connection with the recent national blackout. They have since opened a probe that could see the opposition leader jailed.
National Assembly President Juan Guaido greet supporters during a rally in Caracas, Venezuela,
Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Guaido has declared himself interim president and demands new elections, arguing that
President Nicolas Maduro’s re-election last year was invalid. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
    However, Guaido stressed the Maduro regime is entirely at fault for power outages.
    “We know that the situation of the country is critical, we know it is critical and have denounced it and we have a proposal to improve it,” stated the opposition leader.    “When we say it, it is because we are together, when we say it, is is because we are going with all we have to restore Venezuela’s freedom.”
    Guaido also said his future government would seek international cooperation to resolve the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

3/13/2019 Democrats to tackle tech giants in debate by OAN Newsroom
    Democrat 2020 presidential candidates are planning a debate later this month on how to approach monopolies.    The event was confirmed Tuesday, and will include Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
    Also in attendance will be former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro and Ohio Representative Tim Ryan.
In this Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, photo, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks to voters
during a campaign stop at a home in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
    The event is expected to focus on how monopoly power has led to economic disparity, and the decline of rural America.    The debate comes as candidates are questioning the power corporate giants have over the U.S. political system.
    Last week, Senator Warren expressed how she would approach the problem if she were elected president:
    “It’s a little like baseball — you could be an umpire, a platform, or you could own teams.    That’s fine, but you can’t be an umpire and own one of the teams that’s in the game.    So the principal here, is to break those apart and you can work for the platform part, you can work for one of the teams, but if you work for one of the teams you compete like every other team in America.”
    The focus of the talks will revolve around how tech giants, like Facebook and Google, have damaged democracy.    The debate is expected to take place on March 30th.

3/13/2019 U.S. looks to test ground-launched cruise missile in August by Idrees Ali
The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the U.S. ballistic missile defense system launches during
a flight test from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, U.S., May 30, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is aiming to test a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of about 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) in August, a Pentagon official said on Wednesday, after Washington announced that it plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
    Last month, the United States announced it would withdraw from the INF Treaty in six months unless Moscow ends what Washington says are violations of the 1987 pact.
    Russia announced it was suspending the treaty.    Moscow denies flouting the accord and has accused Washington of breaking the accord itself, allegations rejected by the United States.
    “We’re going to test a ground launched cruise missile in August,” a senior defense official, who declined to be named, said.
    If the testing is successful, the missile could be deployed in about 18 months and would have a range of about 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).
    The official said the United States was also looking to test an intermediate-range ballistic missile in November, adding that both would be conventional and not nuclear.
    The INF treaty, negotiated by then-President Ronald Reagan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and ratified by the U.S. Senate, eliminated the medium-range missile arsenals of the world’s two biggest nuclear powers and reduced their ability to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.
    The INF treaty required the parties to destroy ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 km (310 to 3,420 miles).
    The United Nations has urged the United States and Russia to preserve the treaty, saying its loss would make the world more insecure and unstable.
    Last month Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia is militarily ready for a Cuban Missile-style crisis if the United States wanted one and threatened to place hypersonic nuclear missiles on ships or submarines near U.S. territorial waters.
    The Cuban Missile Crisis erupted in 1962 when Moscow responded to a U.S. missile deployment in Turkey by sending ballistic missiles to Cuba, sparking a standoff that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.
    More than five decades on, tensions are rising again over Russian fears that the United States might deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe, as a landmark Cold War-era arms-control treaty unravels.
    “We haven’t engaged any of our allies about forward deployment,” the U.S. defense official said.    “Honestly, we haven’t been thinking about this because we have been scrupulously abiding by the treaty.” (Reporting by Idrees Ali)
[I think Trump wants Putin to make new missiles if they don't already have them, but he knows that Russian economy is struggling and the cost would put a burden on them.].

3/14/2019 Oil up $1.39 to $58.26, DOW up 148 to 25,703.

3/14/2019 Manafort faces charges in NY by Kevin McCoy, USA TODAY
    NEW YORK – State prosecutors in Manhattan hit Paul Manafort with a new indictment Wednesday, roughly an hour after the former Trump campaign manager received his latest federal prison sentence.
    Unlike the two federal cases in which Manafort has been sentenced to prison, a conviction on the charges announced by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance would likely be beyond the reach of a pardon from President Donald Trump.
    Federal prosecutors have said they suspect Manafort could be angling for a pardon to secure his freedom.    The White House has not ruled out the possibility that he could receive one.
    The 16-count New York indictment alleges that Manafort received more than $1 million by working with unnamed others to willfully submit false financial statements when applying for a residential mortgage loan.
    The charges include residential mortgage fraud, conspiracy, falsifying business records and participating in a scheme to defraud.    The alleged crimes were committed between Dec.22, 2015, and approximately March 7, 2016.
    A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced Manafort to a total of 7½ years in prison, adding 43 months to the sentence Manafort received in another federal case in Virginia last week.

3/14/2019 Trump vs. California immigration suit heads to appeals court
    SAN FRANCISCO – The Trump administration will try to persuade a U.S. appeals court to block California laws aimed at protecting immigrants.    At issue in the hearing Wednesday before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is a 2018 administration lawsuit over three California laws that extended protections to people in the country illegally.    The legal challenge was part of the administration’s broader efforts to crack down on so-called sanctuary jurisdictions that it says allow criminals to stay on the streets.

3/14/2019 UK Parliament acts to avert ‘absolute catastrophe’ Brexit by Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY
    LONDON – British lawmakers voted Wednesday to rule out leaving the European Union without a formal exit deal when Britain leaves the bloc in less than three weeks.
    The outcome, though nonbinding, sets up a vote Thursday, when lawmakers could choose to delay Brexit.
    Parliament rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement with the EU for the second time in as many months late Tuesday in a move that increased political and business uncertainty over what happens next.
    A “no deal” Brexit, according to analysts and political scientists, could lead to chaos at ports, grounded flights, traffic jams and food shortages.    Buckingham Palace repurposed a Cold War-era emergency escape plan for Queen Elizabeth II in the event this default EU-divorce position causes social unrest or other disturbances.
    “I may not have my own voice, but I understand the voice of the country,” May said in Parliament on Wednesday as she battled a sore throat.    She insisted that Britain can leave the EU with a “good deal” but warned lawmakers they face “hard choices.”
    If Britain decides to delay Brexit, it would need to seek approval from an EU that has grown increasingly frustrated with Britain’s inability to speak with a unified voice over the terms of its exit from the bloc.    The EU demanded “credible justification” before it would grant any request to delay Brexit.
    “I don’t see reason to give any extension if first of all we don’t know what the majority position is of the House of Commons,” Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s chief Brexit official, said Wednesday.    “We are waiting now for a proposal from London.    It is now in London that they have to find a way out of this and break the deadlock.”
    Even if Brexit is delayed, Britain will depart the EU without a deal if one is not reached during the delay because that is the default legal position.
    The British government sought to reassure industry leaders Wednesday by publishing details of its contingency plans under a “no deal” scenario.    These include cutting tariffs on a range of agricultural imports from outside the EU and measures to avoid a “hard border” between Britain’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.
    Dominic Grieve, a supporter of staying in the EU from May’s ruling Conservative Party, told BBC radio that crashing out of the bloc without a deal would be an “absolute catastrophe.”    Grieve, who has advocated for a second public vote on whether Britain should leave the EU, has warned that a “no deal” Brexit could force the nation to declare a “state of emergency.”
    “Politicians have spectacularly failed,” said Nigel Green of deVere Group, a financial consultancy.    “Allowing the public to vote and giving them a final say is quite simply the only credible solution now available.”
The Brexit has divided Britain’s populace, as well as its Parliament. Lawmakers
could try to delay withdrawal from the EU. TIM IRELAND/AP

3/14/2019 President Trump denies his national emergency order violates the Constitution by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump is pushing back on Democrats by denying his national emergency declaration is an overreach of power.     In a tweet Thursday, the president said prominent legal scholars agree his executive action to address the national emergency at the southern border is both necessary and legal.    He added, national emergency orders are constitutional and are expressly authorized by Congress.
    Trump tweet: “Prominent legal scholars agree that our actions to address the National Emergency at the Southern Border and to protect the American people are both CONSTITUTIONAL and EXPRESSLY authorized by Congress....”
    On Wednesday the president cautioned both parties against voting to block the order, suggesting this vote carries serious implications.
    “But the Democrats, in order to make things difficult, they are for open borders and they are for crime…the Republicans aren’t,” he stated.    "I also think it’s bad for a Democrat senator to vote against border security and to vote against the wall — I think if they vote that way it’s a very bad thing for them long into the future.”
    In separate tweets, the president said he would be willing to support Congress if it ever decides to change the standards for declaring national emergencies. However, he said right now the issue is border security.
    Trump warned Senate Republicans against voting with Nancy Pelosi, saying a vote for her is a vote for crime and open borders.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office
of the White House, Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
[There has been at least 58 National Emergencies used by presidents since 1976 but the only one Trump does they want to kill it. I hope he sends a message to the Republicans that voted Yes in some form in the future during their next election.    He will Veto this anyway.]

3/14/2019 President Trump talks trade & economic relations with Irish prime minister by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump recently talked Brexit and trade relations with the prime minister of Ireland, while hosting the leader at the White House.
    During an Oval Office meeting with Leo Varadkar Thursday, the president voiced optimism over a new trade deal with the U.K. after Brexit.    He also said his administration will negotiate a new ‘America first’ deal with the European Union or the bloc will face tariffs.
President Donald Trump meets with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office of the
White House, Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    The prime minister said while their views on Brexit differ, the relationship between the U.S. and Ireland remains strong.    Varadkar said he appreciates what the president has done for his country economically.
    “I particularly want to thank you for your help with the plant in the west of Ireland where hundreds of jobs were threatened as a result of the Russian sanctions,” he stated.    “And with the help of the administration, we were able to save those jobs, so thank you very much for that.”
    After the meeting, the prime minster said he appreciated the opportunity to lay out Ireland’s position on Brexit.    The leaders then headed to Capitol Hill, where they attended a “Friends of Ireland” lunch ahead of Saint Patrick’s Day this Sunday.

U.S. to start missile testing in August, considers terminating INF Treaty by OAN Newsroom
    The U.S. military is planning to test a ground-launched cruise missile, following President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear treaty with Russia.
    Citing officials from the Pentagon on Wednesday, new reports are claiming the missile testing could start in August.     Officials said the missile is not nuclear, but it does have a range of over 600 miles.    This exceeds the limits the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) places on ground-launched missiles.
    Last month, President Trump said he would pull out of the 1987 agreement within six-months if Russia continued to violate the terms of the treaty.
    “I hope that we are able to get everybody in a big and beautiful room and do a new treaty that would be much better, cause certainly I would like to see that, but you have to have everybody adhere to it and you have a certain side that almost pretends it doesn’t exist,” stated the president.
    The Kremlin has repeatedly denied accusations of breaking the agreement.    Instead, they are claiming the U.S. is the one in violation of the accord.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left), U.S. President Donald Trump (right). (AP/Photos)
    Russia suspended its side of the long-standing agreement last week as it reportedly continues to develop missile capabilities.
    Russian President Vladimir Putin made a statement last month, claiming if the U.S. were to deploy missiles in Europe then Russia would be forced to respond swiftly.
    “Russia will be forced to create and develop weapons, which can be used not only towards those territories that from which direct threats may be directed at us, but also towards those territories where centers of decision making in employing rocket systems that are threatening to us,” stated the Russian president.
    While no current plans have been announced for the U.S. to deploy missiles in Europe, President Trump has said the U.S. would not back down from developing a military response to counter Russia’s actions.
    The U.S. military plans to roll out the missile for deployment within 18-months if testing proves a success.    There are also plans to test a second intermediate range missile in November.
    With hopes for reconciliation of the INF Treaty quickly fleeting, only time will tell if a new Cold War-style nuclear arms race will soon emerge.

3/14/2019 NATO considering action over Huawei security concerns by OAN Newsroom
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg presents the annual report for 2018 during a media conference at
NATO headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, March 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
    NATO said its discussing the ongoing concerns over Chinese technology and the future of 5G communications.
    In a news conference Thursday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged some of NATO’s 29 allies have raised concerns about Chinese companies like Huawei.
    He said the alliance is consulting closely on the security aspects of 5G investments to figure out the best way to address the coming challenges.
    Stoltenberg refused to speculate on the outcome of these discussions.
    “And of course NATO takes these concerns seriously, that’s also the reason why we will continue to consult and continue to assess and look into whether NATO has a role to play in addressing the security aspects related to this kind of infrastructure,” he explained.
    The secretary general added, NATO has “significantly” stepped up its efforts concerning cybersecurity and cyber defense.

3/14/2019 Police in some sanctuary cities are still working with immigration agents by OAN Newsroom
    Federal immigration officers are reportedly finding ways to work around sanctuary policies.
    Reports from around the country are finding instances of police cooperating with immigration officers off record as a way to protect their communities despite local laws prohibiting the contact.
    This typically involves police giving federal agents access to their databases and jails along with tips about when suspected illegal aliens are set to be released from custody.
    More than 100 local governments have adopted some form of sanctuary policy, which has drawn widespread criticism from law enforcement.
ICE agents arrest an undocumented immigrant. (Photo/AP/CHARLES REED)
    “This legislation prevents the Sheriffs from communicating with our federal law enforcement partners in a way that protects out community,” stated Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson.    “What we really need is everyone working together to promote a healthier, safer community and not interfering with out ability to hold people accountable, who victimize others.”
    Instances of this cooperation can be seen even in Democrat-run cities like Chicago and Philadelphia.
[Even the police know that the Democrat sanctuary policies are harmful to Americans and their own police officers, and the Socialist Democrats can be fooled but not the rest of America.].

3/14/2019 House Oversight Committee taking no legal action against Michael Cohen by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019 file photo, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D- Md., the chairman of
the Committee on Oversight and Reform, presides over the last hour of testimony by Michael Cohen on
Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    The House Oversight Committee is not taking any legal action against Michael Cohen, following contradicting reports about a request for a presidential pardon.
    Chairman Elijah Cummings made the announcement on Wednesday.
    This comes after Cohen’s lawyers sent him a letter, saying Cohen was accurate when he said he never asked for a pardon after he left the president’s joint defense team in June 2018.
    Cohen, however, has admitted his lawyers discussed a pardon with President Trump’s attorney before June 2018, because the president “dangled the possibility of pardons” among his confidantes.
    Cummings said Cohen has clarified his statements, but he will continue to review transcripts from his testimony.
[Well I guessed the Dems and Schiff caused more controversy on themselves than they wanted so they put Cohen back up on the shelf.].

3/14/2019 Italy’s Salvini defends F-35 orders as necessary for country by Steve Scherer and Giuseppe Fonte
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte presents plans on how the 500th anniversary of Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci's
death will be marked in Italy, in Rome, Italy March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Yara Nardi
    ROME (Reuters) – Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini on Thursday defended the country’s plans to buy 90 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets, following recent media reports suggesting that the order would be slashed back.
    “Any effort to slow or review (purchases of the F-35) I would consider harmful” for the country, Salvini told reporters in Rome.
    The comments by Salvini, who leads the ruling far-right League party, follow unsourced reports at the weekend in the Italian media saying Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta was planning to slash the F-35 orders by two-thirds.
    Trenta is from the populist 5-Star Movement, the League’s governing partner.    5-Star has always been critical of the F-35 purchases, saying the money could be better spent on welfare or to boost the economy, now in its third recession in a decade.
    Last July, Trenta announced she was reviewing the F-35 orders, while noting that the penalties for scrapping the orders might be more costly than maintaining them.
    After Salvini’s comments, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who is not a member of either party, met with Trenta to discuss the F-35.
    Conte’s office issued a statement afterward saying defense spending would be reviewed in coming months to ensure that all planned projects respected the country’s strategy and its role in the NATO alliance.
    Disagreements over the F-35 could further build tensions within the populist government.    A deadlock over whether to dig a new rail tunnel under the Alps between Italy and France nearly led to a government crisis only a week ago.
    This week Italy’s air force commander, General Alberto Rosso, defended the fighter during testimony in parliament, saying he was concerned that the uncertainty regarding the F-35 would undermine the quality of the fleet.
    Italy is already using 11 of the aircraft and has trained 25 pilots, Rosso said, adding that Italy owed 389 million euros to Lockheed that had not yet been paid.
    Italy whittled back its F-35 order to 90 jets in 2012, from 131.
    The plane is made by Lockheed Martin Corp, with companies including Northrop Grumman Corp, United Technologies Corp’s Pratt & Whitney and BAE Systems Plc also involved.
    In Italy, defense group Leonardo’s Alenia manages a $1 billion-plus government-owned final assembly and checkout facility in Cameri.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer and Giuseppe Fonte; Editing by Frances Kerry)

3/15/2019 Oil up $0.35 to $58.61, DOW up 7 to 25,710.

3/15/2019 Actor Smollett pleads not guilty to lying by Maria Puente and Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY
    CHICAGO – Jussie Smollett, the “Empire” actor accused by Chicago police of staging a fake hate crime for personal profit, pleaded not guilty Thursday at his arraignment on a 16-count indictment of lying to police.
    One of Smollett’s lawyers, Tina Glandian, entered the plea on Smollett’s behalf.
    Before the arraignment, Judge Steven G. Watkins was assigned to oversee Smollett’s case.    Watkins made a change to the terms of Smollett’s bond, saying he will allow Smollett to travel Los Angeles and New York to meet with attorneys without court approval.
    Smollett’s next court date was set for April 17.
    Smollett and his legal team left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.
    Smollett, 36, told Chicago police he was attacked in the middle of the night on Jan. 29, claiming that two masked men shouted homophobic and racist abuse at him, beat his face, threw bleach on him, hung a noose around his neck and yelled, “This is MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.
[This lying scumbag will never learn, and will have to lie to his own lawyers who will take what jobless money he has.]

3/15/2019 Judge sets Nov. 5 trial date for Trump confidant Stone
WASHINGTON – Trump confidant Roger Stone will go on trial Nov. 5 on charges he lied to Congress, engaged in witness tampering and obstructed a congressional investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, a federal judge said Thursday. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson is still considering whether Stone violated a court order that prohibits him from discussing his case with an introduction to his new book that criticizes special counsel Robert Mueller.

3/15/2019 In 420-0 vote, House says Mueller report should be public
    WASHINGTON – The House voted unanimously Thursday for a resolution calling for any final report in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation to be made public, a symbolic action designed to pressure Attorney General William Barr into releasing as much information as possible when the probe is concluded.    The Democratic-backed resolution, which passed 420-0, comes as Mueller is nearing an end to his investigation.    Lawmakers have maintained there has to be some sort of public resolution when the report is done.

3/15/2019 Democratic lawmakers grill Ross on citizenship question
    WASHINGTON – Democratic lawmakers accused Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Thursday of secretly orchestrating the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census, citing an email they say shows he misled Congress about the decision.    Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the chairman of the House oversight panel, said documents show Ross engaged in a campaign to add the question from the first days he joined the Commerce Department.    Ross testified before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

3/15/2019 Last remaining US diplomats leave embassy in Venezuela
    CARACAS, Venezuela – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the last remaining American diplomats in Venezuela have left the country.    Pompeo said in a statement Thursday that he knows it is a “difficult moment” for the diplomats.    He says the United States remains committed to supporting opposition leader Juan Guaido, who wants to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and hold elections.    A convoy was seen leaving the U.S. Embassy in Caracas in the morning, and the American flag is no longer flying outside the embassy.

3/15/2019 Human rights agency rejects Assange complaint against Ecuador
FILE PHOTO: Julian Assange's cat sits on the balcony of Ecuador's embassy
in London, Britain, July 30, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo
    WASHINGTON/QUITO (Reuters) – An international human rights organization has turned down a request by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that Ecuador, which has sheltered him for more than six years at its embassy in London, ease the conditions it has imposed on his residence there.
    A spokeswoman for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which is linked to the Organization of American States, said the group rejected Assange’s complaint.
    Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson had no immediate comment.
    Assange took refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy in 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where authorities wanted to question him as part of a sexual assault investigation.    That probe was later dropped, but Assange fears he could be extradited to face charges in the United States, where federal prosecutors are investigating WikiLeaks.
    He says Ecuador is seeking to end his asylum and has put pressure on him to leave by requiring him to pay for his medical bills and phone calls, as well as clean up after his pet cat.
    He had sought the support of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in his case against Ecuador.    While the commission did not back Assange, it said it reminded Ecuador of international law that no state should deport, return or extradite someone to another country where that person might face human rights abuses.
    A friend who regularly visits Assange says he privately complains that Ecuador’s government recently replaced Embassy diplomats sympathetic to Assange with officials who are much less friendly.
    Last year, U.S. federal prosecutors in the state of Virginia mistakenly made public a document saying that Assange had been secretly indicted.    Officials have since declined to confirm or deny he has been charged.
    U.S. federal prosecutors in Alexandria, Virginia, have maintained a long-running grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks.    One source said it includes a probe into leaks of Central Intelligence Agency documents to the WikiLeaks website.
    Earlier this month, a federal judge in Alexandria ordered former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to be jailed for contempt after she refused to testify about WikiLeaks before the grand jury.
(Reporting by Mark Hosenball in Washington and Alexandra Valencia in Quito; Editing by Leslie Adler)
[Oh come on, everybody knows this is all about Hillary Clinton's private server files and its everyone that wants to know what was on it.].

3/15/2019 WATCH: President Trump tags OANN on released Peter Strzok testimony by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump recently addressed the Republican released testimony of disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok.    On Twitter Friday, the president cited reports from One America News about new evidence the Obama-era Justice Department was working with the FBI and CIA to spy on the Trump campaign team as early as 2015.
    This comes after the top ranking Republican of the Judiciary Committee — Doug Collins — released transcripts from Strzok’s closed-door hearing. One America’s Kelly Ayers takes a look at what was said behind closed doors.
    New information is coming to light in the Russian collusion investigation after the House Judiciary Committee released a 2018 transcript of Peter Strzok’s testimony.
    Evidence Emerges Obama’s FBI, DOJ and CIA Spied on Trump in 2015 and has more as evidence mounts that the FBI, DOJ, and CIA were all cooperating to take down President Trump.

3/15/2019 White House could send volunteer force to southern border by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump is keeping all options on the table as he considers sending a volunteer emergency response team to the southern border.
    Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials spoke to Politico Thursday, and told reporters the White House is “casting about” for solutions to the rising number of migrants illegally crossing the border.
FILE – In this Dec. 3, 2018, file photo, migrants are escorted by a U.S. Border Patrol agent as they are detained after climbing
over the border wall from Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, to San Ysidro, Calif. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)
    The officials said the president may ask for agents from the DHS Surge Capacity Force, which is made up of volunteers from several federal agencies, to head to the border.    The unit provides additional support during emergency situations.
    Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said he hasn’t been made aware of plans for a volunteer force, but said that he would welcome the help.

3/15/2019 Secretary Nielsen: I fear for our democracy by OAN Newsroom
    Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said she fears for our democracy, while lashing out at Congress for tying the hands of immigration officers.
    While speaking to reporters Thursday, Nielsen said it is a problem for lawmakers to tell law enforcement agents not to do their jobs.    Her comments come amid a flurry of criticism from Democrat lawmakers about the Trump administration’s hardline stance on immigration.
Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen speaks during a roundtable on immigration policy with President Donald Trump
at Morrelly Homeland Security Center, Wednesday, May 23, 2018, in Bethpage, N.Y. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    Nielsen pushed back by asking why it is suddenly “political and partisan” to enforce policies at the border, which have been in effect for decades.
    “We face a crisis, a real serious and sustained crisis, at our borders — we have tens of thousands of illegal aliens arriving at our doorstep every month,” she stated.    “We have drugs criminals and violence spilling into our country every week, and we have smugglers and traffickers profiting from human misery every single day.”
    Nielsen also touched on Thursday’s Senate vote, targeting the national emergency declaration made by President Trump.    She explained that it is within the president’s constitutional authority to do so, adding, if Congress doesn’t like it then they should change the law.

3/15/2019 Secretary of State Pompeo announces sanctions on anyone requesting ICC probes by OAN Newsroom
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently announced new restrictions regarding probes from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
    On Friday at the State Department, Pompeo said he would revoke visas for anyone responsible for an ICC investigation of U.S. personnel.
    The U.S. secretary of state said, “if you are requesting an ICC investigation of U.S. personnel in connection with a situation in Afghanistan, you cannot assume you will get a visa to enter the U.S.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department,
Friday, March 15, 2019 in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    Pompeo went on to say, “this includes persons who take or have taken action to request or further section an investigation — these visa restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue ally personnel, including Israelis , without ally’s consent."
    The head of State said he hopes to convince the ICC to change course in Afghanistan from taking action inconsistent with U.S. views.

3/15/2019 May’s Brexit deal lives: Northern Irish kingmakers report ‘good’ talks with government by William James and Alistair Smout
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) deputy leader Nigel Dodds, speaks to the media outside the
Cabinet Office, in London, Britain March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
    LONDON (Reuters) – The Northern Irish party that is crucial to Prime Minister Theresa May’s hopes of getting her twice-defeated Brexit deal through parliament said it had good talks with British ministers on Friday but differences remained over the Irish border.
    The United Kingdom’s divorce from the European Union has sown chaos throughout May’s premiership and the Brexit finale is still uncertain.    Options include a long delay, exiting with May’s deal, leaving without a deal or even another>     May has essentially handed Brexit supporters an ultimatum – ratify her deal by Wednesday or face a long delay to Brexit that would open up the possibility that Britain never even leaves.
    To succeed, she must win over dozens of Brexit-supporting rebels in her own Conservative Party and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which has 10 lawmakers in parliament.
    “We have had good discussions today.    Those discussions will continue,” DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said after talks with government ministers in London.
    “We want to get a deal.    There has been progress made,” he told reporters.    “We don’t want to leave without a deal but a lot will depend in terms of what the government can do on providing those guarantees that are necessary.”
    He said the British government was “very focused” on addressing the issue of the Irish backstop, an insurance policy that sets out what happens to the Irish border after Brexit.
    Aimed at avoiding post-Brexit controls on the border between the UK province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland, the backstop has been a constant sticking point as May tries to push her deal through.    Many Brexiteers and the DUP are concerned it will trap the United Kingdom in the EU’s orbit indefinitely, and have sought guarantees it will not.
    The DUP said Dodds was returning to Northern Ireland on Friday evening.    He would be in phone contact with the government over the weekend and return to London for more talks on Monday.
    After three dramatic days in parliament this week, lawmakers voted on Thursday to have the government ask the EU for a delay beyond the date Britain is scheduled to leave – March 29.
    May says she wants to minimize any delay in leaving the EU to just three months, but to achieve that she will need parliament to back her deal at the third time of asking early next week, possibly Tuesday.
    Her deal, an attempt to keep close relations with the EU while leaving the bloc’s formal structures, was defeated by 230 votes in parliament on Jan. 15 and by 149 votes on March 12.
    She needs 75 lawmakers to change their vote. If she can swing the DUP behind her, along with several dozen hardliners in her own party, she will be getting close to the numbers she needs.    A handful of Conservatives are unlikely ever to be satisfied but she may draw in a small number of opposition Labour lawmakers.
    “There will be Conservatives who vote against it come what may, that’s why in order for it to pass three things have to happen: she has to get the DUP on board, she has to persuade as many as possible of the 75 (Brexiteer) Conservatives to vote for it, and she will almost certainly need more Labour MPs,” said John Whittingdale, a Conservative lawmaker and member of the pro-Brexit faction.
    “If she can deliver those three things then it might scrape through, but it’s a hell of a big mountain to climb.”
    May’s de-facto deputy, Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, said he hoped the United Kingdom would leave in an orderly fashion but if May’s deal was not approved then a long extension was on the cards.
    “I hope that MPs (lawmakers) of all parties will be over this weekend reflecting on the way forward,” Lidington told BBC radio, adding the legal default was still that Britain would leave on March 29, unless something else is agreed.
    EU leaders will consider pressing Britain to delay Brexit by at least a year to find a way out of the domestic maelstrom.
    Britons voted to leave the EU in a June 2016 referendum. However Brexit comes about, opponents of the divorce worry that it will divide the West as it grapples with the U.S. presidency of Donald Trump and growing assertiveness from Russia and China.
    Supporters of Brexit say that while it may bring some short-term instability, in the longer term Britain will thrive if it moves away from what they cast as a doomed experiment in European integration that is falling behind global powers such as the United States and China.
(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Giles Elgood; Editing by Michael Holden, Janet Lawrence, Jon Boyle and Frances Kerry)

3/15/2019 World must keep lethal weapons under human control, Germany says
FILE PHOTO: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas arrives for the weekly German cabinet meeting
at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse
    BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s foreign minister on Friday called for urgent efforts to ensure that humans remained in control of lethal weapons, as a step toward banning “killer robots.”
    Heiko Maas told an arms control conference in Berlin that rules were needed to limit the development and use of weapons that could kill without human involvement.
    Critics fear that the increasingly autonomous drones, missile defense systems and tanks made possible by new technology and artificial intelligence could turn rogue in a cyber-attack or as a result of programming errors.
    The United Nations and the European Union have called for a global ban on such weapons, but discussions so far have not yielded a clear commitment to conclude a treaty.
    “Killer robots that make life-or-death decisions on the basis of anonymous data sets, and completely beyond human control, are already a shockingly real prospect today,” Maas said.    “Fundamentally, it’s about whether we control the technology or it controls us.”
    Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands signed a declaration at the conference vowing to work to prevent weapons proliferation.
    “We want to want to codify the principle of human control over all deadly weapons systems internationally, and thereby take a big step toward a global ban on fully autonomous weapons,” Maas told the conference.
    He said he hoped progress could be made in talks under the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) this year.    The next CCW talks on lethal autonomous weapons take place this month in Geneva.
    Human Rights Watch’s Mary Wareham, coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, urged Germany to push for negotiations on a global treaty, rather than a non-binding declaration.
    “Measures that fall short of a new ban treaty will be insufficient to deal with the multiple challenges raised by killer robots,” she said in a statement.
    In a new Ipsos survey, 61 percent of respondents in 26 countries opposed the use of lethal autonomous weapons. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
[You know how it is if we do not build them the other side will.    We already have airplanes that fly themselves even with a pilot still crash, so we are on our way to the TERMINATORS.].

3/15/2019 President Trump: ‘Jexodus’ movement asks Jewish people to leave ‘disrespectful’ Democrat Party by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump said the Republican Party is waiting for the Jewish community “with open arms.”    In a tweet Friday, the president cited One America News, and said the ‘Jexodus’ movement encourages Jewish people to leave the Democrat Party.    He noted he was the president who moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and pulled the nation from the “horrible Iran Nuclear Deal.”
    Trump tweet: “The ‘Jexodus’ movement encourages Jewish people to leave the Democrat Party. Total disrespect! Republicans are waiting with open arms. Remember Jerusalem (U.S. Embassy) and the horrible Iran Nuclear Deal! @OANN @foxandfriends.”
    Earlier this week, the president quoted ‘Jexodus’ spokeswoman Elizabeth Pipko by saying the U.S. saw “a lot of anti-Israel policies under the Obama administration,” which has continued to get worse.
    One America’s Jack Posobiec sat down with Pipko this week and has this from Washington.
[If you are a leftist Socialist Liberal Democrat I will let you know that 'Jexodus' means JEWS + EXODUS, ARE LEAVING YOUR PARTY because of your Congresswomen Omar's antisemitic comments that you ignored.].

3/15/2019 Ex-U.S. intelligence officer pleads guilty to attempted espionage for China
FILE PHOTO: U.S. and Chinese flags are placed for a joint news conference by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chinese
Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A former U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency officer pleaded guilty to attempted espionage for China, the Justice Department said on Friday.
    The officer, Ron Rockwell Hansen, was accused of trying to transmit classified U.S. national defense information to China and receiving “hundreds of thousands of dollars” while illegally acting as an agent for the Chinese government.
    Hansen started working at the DIA, which specializes in military intelligence, in 2006 after his retirement from the U.S. Army, and held a top-secret security clearance for many years, according to the Justice Department.
    In 2014, a Chinese intelligence service recruited Hansen, the Justice Department said.
    FBI agents took Hansen into custody in June, when he was traveling to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to take a connecting flight to China.
    He faces up to 15 years in prison.    His sentencing will take place on Sept. 24.    It was not immediately clear who was representing Hansen in his case.
(Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Jonathan Oatis; and Alistair Bell)

3/15/2019 Pompeo seen attending Finland Arctic talks amid China concerns
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Navy safety swimmers stand on the deck of the Virginia class submarine USS New Hampshire after it surfaced through
thin ice during exercises underneath ice in the Arctic Ocean north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska March 19, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to attend the May 6-7 Arctic Council meeting in Finland in a show of Washington’s commitment to the region amid growing U.S. concern about China’s interests there, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.
    Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States are members of the Council, which coordinates Arctic policy and is gaining clout as sea ice thaws to open up new trade routes and intensify competition for its oil, gas and mineral resources.
    Asked if Pompeo was expected to attend the May gathering in Rovaniemi, Finland, the senior Trump administration official said: “We do … unless he gets pulled off to one of his many other issues.”
    “We want to show that we are committed to being an Arctic nation, an Arctic power,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told a small group of reporters.    “Chinese action has really focused everyone’s minds, including the Russians.”
    China became an observer member of the Arctic Council in 2013 and last year it outlined its ambitions to extend President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative to the Arctic by developing shipping lanes opened up by global warming.
    Asked if Pompeo would attend the meeting, a State Department spokesman said he had no travel to announce.
(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Tom Brown)

3/15/2019 Mueller, in U.S. court filing, says multiple probes continue by Susan Heavey
FILE PHOTO: Rick Gates, former campaign aide to U.S. President Donald Trump, departs after a bond
hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Special Counsel’s Office on Friday asked a court to delay sentencing for U.S. President Donald Trump’s former deputy campaign chairman, Rick Gates, amid “ongoing investigations” stemming from the Russia investigation.
    In a filing with the U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller cited Gates’ continued cooperation with multiple probes and asked permission to update the judge on the case again by May 14.
    “Gates continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations, and accordingly the parties do not believe it is appropriate to commence the sentencing process at this time,” Mueller’s team said in the court filing.
    Gates is one of several Trump advisers who have been charged or pleaded guilty to crimes stemming from the federal investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign.
    Gates was the longtime business partner of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who faces more than seven years in prison for financial and conspiracy crimes after sentencing this week in a separate case in federal court in Washington.
    Unlike Manafort, who stood trial and was found guilty in one case in Virginia before pleading guilty in another case in Washington, Gates agreed early on to cooperate with Mueller’s team and took the stand to testify against his former business partner.
    Gates pleaded guilty in February 2018 to conspiracy against the United States and lying to investigators.
    Russia has denied meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.    Trump has said there was no collusion between his campaign and Moscow, and has characterized the Mueller probe as a “witch hunt.”
(Reporting by Susan Heavey; additional reporting by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

3/16/2019 Oil down $0.14 to 58.39, DOW up 139 to 25,849.

3/16/2019 Rick Gates continuing to cooperate by Chad Day, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign aide and key cooperator in the special counsel’s Russia probe, is not ready to be sentenced because he continues to help with “several ongoing investigations,” prosecutors said in a court filing Friday.
    Gates is a central figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian election interference.    But he is also helping federal authorities in New York who are looking into President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee and lobbying on behalf of foreign interests by Washington insiders.
    The joint filing by Mueller’s office and Gates’ attorneys comes amid signs the Russia investigation is winding down.    But it was unclear whether Friday’s delay was an indication that Mueller may submit his report soon.
    The filing asked for an additional 60 days to update U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on whether Gates can proceed to sentencing.    The judge granted the request later Friday.
    Gates pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and false statement charges related to Ukrainian lobbying and political consulting.
[The Dems keep thinking that they still have a collusion but if there was any Mueller would have had it leaked by now.]

3/16/2019 Trump vetoes rebuke on border by Jill Colvin, Lisa Mascaro and Alan Fram, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump issued the first veto of his presidency Friday afternoon, after a bipartisan rebuke of the national emergency he declared to circumvent Congress and fund his long-stalled southern border wall.
    A dozen defecting Republicans joined Senate Democrats on the joint resolution Thursday, which capped a week of confrontation with the White House as both parties in Congress strained to exert their power in new ways.    And Trump made it clear how he planned to respond, tweeting the word “VETO!” in all caps just moments after the vote.
    Trump issued the veto at a ceremony in the Oval Office, flanked by law enforcement and the parents of children killed by people in the country illegally.
    White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said it marks “a sad moment and a very important moment” for the country, and alleged the vote against the president was also a vote “against the America people and their safety and security.”
    The 59-41 tally Thursday, and the Senate’s vote a day earlier to end U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen, promised to force Trump into the first vetoes of his presidency as he faces a now-divided Congress.    The House is planning a vote to override the veto on the national emergency, which is likely to occur March 26 after next week’s recess.    But it is unlikely that Congress will have the votes to override it.
    Two years into the Trump era, a dozen Republicans, pushed along by Democrats, showed a willingness to take the political risk of defecting.    The 12 GOP senators, including the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, Mitt Romney of Utah, joined the dissent over the emergency declaration order that would enable the president to seize for the wall billions of dollars Congress intended to be spent elsewhere.
    “The Senate’s waking up a little bit to our responsibilities,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who said the chamber had become “a little lazy” as an equal branch of government.    “I think the value of these last few weeks is to remind the Senate of our constitutional place.”
    Many senators said the vote was not necessarily a rejection of the president or the wall, but protections against future presidents – namely a Democrat who might want to declare an emergency on climate change, gun control or any number of other issues.
    Thursday’s vote was the first direct challenge to the 1976 National Emergencies Act, just as Wednesday’s on Yemen was the first time Congress invoked the decades-old War Powers Act to try to rein in a president.    Seven Republicans joined Democrats in calling for an end to U.S. backing for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition in the aftermath of the kingdom’s role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
    Even without the numbers needed to override a veto, the twin votes nevertheless sent a message from Capitol Hill.
    “Today’s votes cap a week of something the American people haven’t seen enough of in the last two years: both parties in the United States Congress standing up to Donald Trump,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
President Donald Trump speaks Friday in the Oval Office, flanked by law enforcement plus
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Attorney General William Barr. EVAN VUCCI/AP
[It does not matter because the Democrats would do that anyway, just look at Obama’s corruption of that very subject.    GET EM' TRUMP and tell Jewish Chuck Shumer to go babysit Omar.]

3/16/2019 Pres. Trump’s re-election campaign asks for donations for wall defense fund by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump is turning the table on Democrats, by using their attempt to block his national emergency declaration to build momentum for his 2020 campaign.
    Following Friday’s veto signing, the president’s re-election campaign sent out a letter to supporters asking them to donate to his “wall defense fund.”
President Donald Trump signs the first veto of his presidency in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, March 15, 2019, in Washington.
Trump issued the first veto, overruling Congress to protect his emergency declaration for border wall funding. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    In it, the president slammed the bill attempting to block his emergency declaration as a Pro-Crime, Pro-Drugs, and Pro-Open Borders piece of legislation.
    He went on to say the bill puts illegal immigrants and political games over the safety of the American people.
    “We’re on track for a million illegal aliens to rush our borders,” said President Trump.    “People hate the word invasion but that’s what it is it’s an invasion of drugs and criminals and people who have no idea who they are.”     Political experts said the situation may play out in President Trump’s favor in 2020, because it shows the American people he is fighting to keep his promise on the border wall.
[Trump is going to have a fun time dissing anyone who voted for that during the 2020 elections because the American people will see more and more of those issues occuring around them.].

3/16/2019 Former aide to late Sen. John McCain leaked unverified contents of Steele Dossier to press by OAN Newsroom
    Unsealed court records are shedding new light, on how the unverified Steele Dossier wound up in the hands of the media, as President Trump entered office.
Former British spy Christopher Steele painted a lurid portrait of a purported alliance
between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. (Victoria Jones/AP)
    In his December 2017 testimony in a libel case, David Kramer – a former aide to late Arizona Senator John McCain – said he briefed news outlets on the Dossier.
    BuzzFeed news photographed the document, against Kramer’s requests, and spurred the 2017 article, breaking news of the Dossier’s existence.
    The former aide also admitted to giving the document, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, to the FBI. Kramer has not been reprimanded for his role in the leak.
[David J. Kramer, a United States Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor from 2008 to 2009, was President of Freedom House from October 2010 to November 2014.    He is currently the Senior Director for Human Rights and Human Freedoms at the McCain Institute.
    In 2018, he was on a list of Americans to be questioned by the Russian government.    David Kramer, the then-Sen. John McCain aide who leaked the discredited Christopher Steele dossier on President Trump, testified in a libel case that he spread the unsubstantiated anti-Trump material all over Washington during the presidential transition.    Kramer was identified as the source of the dossier in a recently unsealed deposition related to the libel case brought by Russian businessman Aleksej Gubarev (Russian venture capitalist and tech expert whose name and company is Webzilla) against Buzzfeed.    It has been reported that Kramer says he never intended for the dossier to be published, despite having given it to reporters from McClatchy, NPR, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, BuzzFeed and CNN’s Carl Bernstein, among others which include Obama administration officials.]

3/16/2019 Judge unseals Steele deposition, Sen. McCain associate confirms he gave Dossier to Buzzfeed by OAN Newsroom
    New details come to light about the infamous Steele Dossier, and the players involved in its dissemination.     A federal judge unsealed 43 pages of a deposition on Thursday, from the document’s author Christopher Steele.
Christopher Steele, a former British spy, compiled the dossier for Fusion GPS in 2016. (AP)
    The testimony revolves around a tech executive who Steele claims took part in the hacking of DNC servers.
    The tech executive has denied the claims in the document, and is suing Steele and Buzzfeed over the publication of the Dossier.
    Perhaps the biggest revelation was the deposition given by David Cramer, a long-time associate of the late Senator John McCain.
    He confirmed he gave the Dossier to Buzzfeed, and 11 other reporters including CNN’s Carl Bernstein.

3/16/2019 Secy Nielsen thanks Pres. Trump for standing behind emergency declaration by OAN Newsroom
    DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen thanks President Trump for standing up for the American people, by issuing the first veto of his presidency.
    Following her visit to the White House Friday, Nielsen praised the president for calling the “humanitarian and security crisis at the border exactly what it is, a national emergency.”
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2019,
before the House Homeland Security Committee. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    Her comments come after 12 Republicans joined Democrats in passing a resolution to block President Trump from using Pentagon funding to build a border wall.
    Nielsen reminded lawmakers that it is well within his constitutional authority to declare a national emergency.    She has been a long-time supporter of the president’s efforts to build a wall.
    “Let me be clear, walls work.    That’s not my opinion, that’s not a tagline, its not a political statement, its a fact,” said Nielsen.    “We’ve seen the success of wall’s in El Paso, in Yuma, in San Diego, and in the past, right here in the El Centro sector.”
    Nielsen went on to say, it was a pleasure to meet with Angel parents at the White House, as well as fellow law enforcement agents at the state and local levels.

3/16/2019 Poll: 41% of Americans view Rep. AOC negatively, up from 26% in September by OAN Newsroom
    The public’s perception of New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is becoming more negative.
In this Feb. 27, 2019, photo, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., listens to questioning of
Michael Cohen on Capitol Hill in Washington. Ocasio-Cortez and several of her allies were accused this week by a conservative group
of improperly masking political spending during the 2018 campaign. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    According to a Gallup Poll released on Friday, 41% of American adults now have an unfavorable opinion of Ocasio-Cortez, just two months into her first term.
    That’s up from 26% last September, in the wake of her primary win over longtime Representative Joe Crowley.
    Support for Ocasio-Cortez largely breaks down along party lines, with 56% of Democrats backing the freshman Rep., compared to just 5% of Republicans.

3/16/2019 Gunman suspected of murdering 49 people at New Zealand mosques appears in court by OAN Newsroom
    The man suspected of carrying out mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand, appears in court for his arraignment.
    A heavy police presence was seen, as 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant faced a Christchurch district judge Friday.    He reportedly did not enter a plea for one count of murder.
    The suspect allegedly live-streamed the killings on Facebook, where graphic footage shows countless people being shot at close range.
This image taken from CCTV video obtained by the state-run Turkish broadcaster TRT World and made available
on Saturday, March 16, 2016, shows the arrival of who it says is Brenton Tarrant, the suspect in the New Zealand
mosque attacks, in Istanbul’s Ataturk International airport in Turkey on March 2016. (TRT World via AP)
    The court ordered Tarrant be held without bail, as it awaits additional charges to be filed, in the deaths of 49 Muslim worshipers.
    Meantime, Survivors of the deadly mosque shooting said the death toll may have been much higher without the quick thinking of one man.
    48-year-old Abdul Aziz reportedly confronted the gunman just before he fled the scene on Friday.
    According to reports, Aziz grabbed a credit card machine from inside the mosque, and chased the gunman back to his car.
    He later found one of the gunman’s discarded firearms on the ground, and pointed it at the attacker, causing him to retreat into his car and speed away.
    When speaking to reporters later, Aziz said he wasn’t the one that deserves credit for his quick thinking.

3/15/2019 White House rejects any link to New Zealand mosque gunman by OAN Newsroom
    The White House is firing back at claims linking the New Zealand mosque shooting and President Trump.
    While speaking to reporters outside of the White House Friday, Director of Strategic Communication Mercedes Schlapp rejected any links to the president and the shooters 87 page manifesto.
    This comes as the alleged Australian gunman called the president “a symbol of white identity” after he fatally shot nearly 50 people and injured dozens others at the Christchurch Friday morning.
This image taken from the alleged shooter’s video, which was filmed Friday, March 15, 2019, shows him as he drives and he looks over
to three guns on the passenger side of his vehicle in New Zealand. A witness says many people have been killed in a mass shooting at
a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. Police have not described the scale of the shooting but urged people to stay indoors. (AP Photo)
    “Yeah, it’s outrageous to even make that connection between this deranged individual that committed this evil crime to the president, who has repeatedly condemned bigotry, racism and has made it very clear that this is a terrorist attack,” stated Schlapp.    “And we are there to support and stand with the people of New Zealand.”
    The president sent his condolences to the victims of the New Zealand mosque massacre, and said the U.S. will extend any support necessary.

3/16/2019 French violence flares as yellow vest protests enter fourth month by Leigh Thomas and Simon Carraud
A protester walks past a graffiti during a demonstration by the "yellow vests" movement in
Paris, France, March 16, 2019. The graffiti reads: "Paris burns." REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
    PARIS (Reuters) – Rioters set fire to a bank and ransacked stores on Paris’s Champs Elysees avenue on Saturday, in a new flare-up of violence as France’s yellow vest protests against President Emmanuel Macron and his pro-business reforms entered a fourth month.
    Police fired tear gas and water cannon as the protests turned violent after weeks of relative calm, during which marches had attracted declining numbers of participants.
    A Banque Tarneaud branch spewed flames before firefighters arrived and rescued a woman and her infant from the building, with 11 suffering minor injuries, the fire department said.
    Rioters also set fire to an upmarket handbag store and two news-stands on the Champs Elysees, while scattered bonfires burned on the thoroughfare.
    Protesters hurled cobblestones at riot police through clouds of tear gas in front of the Arc de Triomphe monument, which was ransacked at the peak of the protests in December.
    Police arrested nearly 240 protesters as rioters looted stores around the Champs Elysees and wrecked the high-end Fouquet’s restaurant.
    The canvas awning was later set on fire of the swanky brasserie, known in France as the place where conservative Nicolas Sarkozy celebrated his presidential election victory in 2007.
    Several hundred meters (yards) down the Champs Elysees, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told journalists the latest violence was unacceptable and all would be done to bring perpetrators to justice.
    “We are dealing with several hundred, several thousand in some cases, highly determined people who are there to create disorder,” Philippe said. Police said 42 protestors, 17 of their own officers and one firefighter were injured.
    The interior ministry estimated 10,000 people had participated in the protest in Paris, compared with 3,000 on the previous Saturday.    Nationwide, protesters were estimated at 32,300, compared with 28,600 last week.
    Macron cut short a weekend ski trip in the Pyrenees to return to the capital on Saturday night after the violence, the Elysees presidential palace said.
    Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said that although the protest was relatively small, there had been more than 1,500 “ultra-violent” people out looking for trouble.
    “They decided, perhaps as a swansong, to come attack – and I use their words – Paris,” Castaner said, adding that more than 1,400 police officers were mobilized.
    A separate, peaceful march against climate change through central Paris drew as many 36,000 people, police estimated. Some 145,000 people marched nationwide.
    Yellow vest protesters had promised to draw bigger numbers to mark the fourth month since the movement erupted in mid-November over since-scrapped fuel tax hikes and the cost of living.
    Named after the high-visibility vests French drivers have to keep in their cars and worn by protesters, the revolt swelled into a broader movement against Macron, his reforms and elitism.
    However, the weekly demonstrations, held every Saturday in Paris and other cities, have been generally getting smaller since December, when Paris saw some of the worst vandalism and looting in decades.
    After the spike in violence, Macron offered a package of concessions worth more than 10 billion euros ($11 billion) aimed at boosting the incomes of the poorest workers and pensioners.
    His government ordered police to crack down on the protests in January, leading to complaints of police brutality.
    The 41-year-old former investment banker also launched a series of national debates aimed at determining what policies people want the government to focus on.    Saturday’s protests coincided with the end of the debates.
(Additonal reporting by Emmanuel Jarry and Jean-Baptiste Vey; Editing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian and David Holmes)

3/16/2019 Venezuela’s Guaido launches national tour in ‘new phase’ to oust Maduro by Tibisay Romero
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country's rightful interim ruler, takes part in
a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government, in Guacara, Venezuela March 16, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
    VALENCIA, Venezuela (Reuters) – Venezuelan opposition leader and National Assembly head Juan Guaido said on Saturday he was launching a “new phase” in his push to oust President Nicolas Maduro, pledging to travel across the country before “reclaiming” the presidential palace.
    Guaido, who invoked the constitution in January to assume an interim presidency, saying Maduro’s re-election was illegitimate, called on thousands of supporters to stay committed to what he dubbed “Operation Freedom.”
    “Very soon, when we have visited and organized every inch … we will go to Miraflores and reclaim what belongs to the Venezuelan people,” Guaido said, referring to the palace, in a speech in the industrial city of Valencia 176 km (109 miles) west of Caracas, where he toured shops and walked the streets.
    Most Western countries, including the United States, have recognized Guaido as the OPEC nation’s legitimate head of state and called on Maduro to step aside.    But Maduro, a socialist who says he is the victim of an attempted U.S.-led coup, retains the support of the armed forces and control of state functions.
    While U.S. sanctions on state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela – known as PDVSA – have crimped crucial crude exports, Maduro retains the support of Russia and China.    Maduro did not appear at a Socialist Party rally in Caracas on Saturday, where his allies declared “victory” over the opposition’s efforts to remove him for power.
    “They are threatening to go to Miraflores,” Diosdado Cabello, the party’s vice president who leads the all-powerful National Constituent Assembly, said in a speech.    “We cannot allow that.    They left from there before, and they will never again enter the palace of the revolutionary people.”
    Guaido’s campaign until now has mostly focused on mobilizing supporters in the capital Caracas, where power has largely been restored following a nearly weeklong blackout that paralyzed a country already suffering from a hyperinflationary economic collapse and chronic shortages of food and medicine.
    But the restoration of basic services has been slower in the country’s interior.    In sweltering Maracaibo, the second-largest city, prolonged power outages led to the looting of shops and factories, and many merchants demanded foreign currency for purchases while electronic payment systems were down.
    “I am certain we will move forward,” said hairdresser Irasai Torres, 60, who attended Guaido’s speech in Valencia, which has been hard-hit by factory closures and the departure of foreign firms.    “My life is at a crossroads – we never have water, electricity has been going out for years, and we need to wait in line for food.    We do not deserve this.”
    Maduro has blamed a U.S. cyberattack for the outage, and this week the country’s chief prosecutor asked the Supreme Court to probe Guaido for alleged involvement in “sabotage” of the country’s electricity system.    But local electrical engineers told     Reuters the blackout was the result of years of lack of maintenance.
(Additional reporting by Corina Pons and Luc Cohen in Caracas; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Richard Chang and Nick Zieminski)

3/16/2019 Pres. Trump: I told GOP leadership to vote for ‘transparency’ on Mueller report by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump appears to explain why GOP lawmakers in the House of representatives voted with Democrats, in favor of publicly releasing the Mueller report.
In this March 15, 2019, photo, President Donald Trump speaks about border security in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday,
March 15, 2019, in Washington. Trump’s veto of a bipartisan congressional resolution rejecting his border emergency declaration
is more than a milestone. It signals a new era of tenser relations between the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    In a tweet Saturday, the president said he told Congressional leadership to let all Republicans vote for transparency, in relation to the non-binding resolution.
    The president also suggested the vote makes all Republicans look good, and it essentially doesn’t matter.
    The resolution, which calls on the DOJ to publicly release “Mueller’s findings,” was approved unanimously in the House.
    However, it was blocked from moving forward in the upper chamber by Senator Lindsey Graham.

3/17/2019 Mick Mulvaney Defends Pres. Trump Amid Criticism Over NZ Mosque Shooting Response by OAN Newsroom
    Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney defends President Trump amid criticism that his tough immigration stance influenced the attacks on two New Zealand mosques.
    In an interview on Sunday, Mulvaney called the notion absurd that the President’s rhetoric influenced the shooter.
    FaceTheNation@FaceTheNation “Acting White House Chief of Staff @MickMulvaneyOMB on New Zealand massacre: Donald Trump is no more to blame for what happened than Mark Zuckerberg is for creating Facebook.”
    This comes after critics claimed President Trump did not do enough to condemn the attacks.     Mulvaney went on to criticize the media for politicizing the incident in an effort to attack President Trump.     He also pushed back on claims there has been a recent surge in white nationalism in the U.S.

3/17/2019 John Bolton: North Korea Not Willing to Take Steps to Denuclearize by OAN Newsroom
    National Security Adviser John Bolton says President Trump found North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was unwilling to take steps toward denuclearization.
    His comment on Sunday came after North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister said the Trump administration created an atmosphere of hostility and mistrust that thwarted the Hanoi talks in February.
FILE – In this Feb. 28, 2019 file photo, President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un take a walk
after their first meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi hotel, in Hanoi. John Bolton, President
Donald Trump’s national security adviser, says North Korean allegations that he and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
created an atmosphere of hostility and mistrust at last month’s nuclear summit in Hanoi are “inaccurate.”
North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said Friday that Trump was willing to talk, but was influenced by uncompromising
demands by Pompeo and Bolton. She says the “gangster-like stand of the U.S. will eventually put the situation in danger.” (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    In response, Bolton called those accusations inaccurate.
    Bolton also mentioned the U.S. is willing to let China participate in the nuclear talks if the administration sees some movement on North Korea’s part.

3/17/2019 Venezuela’s Maduro plans ‘deep restructuring’ of government: VP
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during his visit to the Hydroelectric Generation System on the Caroni River,
near Ciudad Guayana, Bolivar State, Venezuela March 16, 2019. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS
    CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is planning a “deep restructuring” of his government, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said on Sunday, as the country recovers from a prolonged blackout amid a power struggle with the opposition.
    “President @NicolasMaduro has asked the entire executive Cabinet to put their roles up for review in a deep restructuring of the methods and functions of the Bolivarian government, to protect the fatherland of Bolivar and Chavez from any threat,” Rodriguez wrote on Twitter, referring to independence leader Simon Bolivar and former President Hugo Chavez.
    The possible reshuffling comes on the heels of a nearly weeklong blackout that paralyzed the OPEC nation, which had already been experiencing a hyperinflationary economic collapse, shortages of food and medicine and the emigration of millions of citizens.
    Maduro has blamed the blackout on a cyber attack perpetrated by the United States and sabotage by the domestic opposition, but local electrical engineers told Reuters it was the result of years of underinvestment and lack of maintenance of the country’s power plants and electricity grid.
    He is facing a challenge to his presidency from Juan Guaido, head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly who invoked the constitution in January to assume an interim presidency, arguing that Maduro’s May 2018 re-election was illegitimate.    Most Western countries have recognized Guaido as the country’s rightful leader.
    Maduro has repeatedly changed Cabinet members since taking office in 2013, with members of the military rising to posts heading the oil, interior and electricity ministries.
    In a visit to electricity workers in southern Bolivar state on Saturday, Maduro pledged a restructuring of state power company Corpoelec and promised to create a unit in the armed forces focused on protecting key infrastructure from cyber attacks.
(Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Peter Cooney)

3/17/2019 Fmr U.S. Attorney: Mueller Probe May Not be Ending Anytime Soon by OAN Newsroom
    A top Obama-era prosecutor said the Mueller probe will not likely end anytime soon.
    In an interview on Sunday, former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said he’s skeptical of the reports that the Mueller probe could be coming to an end, and added he expects more indictments going forward.
    FaceTheNation@FaceTheNation “Former U.S. Attorney @PreetBharara: doesn’t seem to me that “the work of the special counsel is ending anytime soon…” This comes after the Mueller team indicted six former aides to President Trump and 20 Russians — mostly for financial crimes.     Bharara pointed out special counsel Robert Mueller could delegate parts of his investigation to other U.S. attorneys.     Bharara also suggested the delays in the sentencing of Rick Gates might suggest he is cooperating with the Mueller team — which could extend the duration of the probe.

3/18/2019 Border battle goes to courts - ‘Forum-shopping’ common, but not choice of judges by Richard Wolf, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – Congress can’t stop President Trump’s emergency declaration at the Mexican border, but the courts will have the final word.
    After the president’s veto Friday of a congressional resolution rescinding his action, three little-known federal district judges have the best chance to block the emergency declaration.    They will test Trump’s theory that the judiciary is prejudiced against him.
    One is a 25-year veteran of the federal court system who was born near the Mexican border and chosen by President Bill Clinton.
    Another was the last judge named by President Barack Obama to the federal district court in Northern California five years ago.
    A third is a former police officer named to the federal bench by Trump in 2017.
    They run the political gamut from left to right.    Whether that matters depends on who’s talking.
    To hear Trump tell it, the federal courts are run by “Obama judges” and others who bring their personal ideologies to the bench.    He has singled out the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, based in California, as a “dumping ground for certain lawyers looking for easy wins and delays.”
    “They will sue us in the 9th Circuit,” Trump predicted when discussing his emergency declaration last month.    “We will possibly get a bad ruling, and then we’ll get another bad ruling, and then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court.”
    California and 19 other states did file their case in the San Francisco-based Northern District of California, guaranteeing that any appeal would be brought in the 9th Circuit.    The Sierra Club, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, also filed there.
    The states’ case, and possibly the other, will be heard by federal District Judge Haywood Gilliam, an Obama judge.
[The Article 3 Judicial does not have the power to or cannot stop the Executive Branch Article 2’s National Emergency or Veto of his, nor can the Article 1 Legislative since they gave him that power.    The Judicial has no power over National Emergency, even though the left has been weaponizing it illegally for many years and never stopped any presidents for the previous 58, but all of sudden they seem to think they can since it is Donald J. Trump.    And when that happens I expect Trump to do more National Emergencies just to piss off the Congress.]

3/18/2019 Gunman kills three in Dutch tram, police hunt for Turkish man by Bart H. Meijer
A view of the site of a shooting in Utrecht, Netherlands, March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw
    UTRECHT, Netherlands (Reuters) – A gunman shot dead three people and wounded nine on a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht on Monday and police said they were hunting for a 37-year-old Turkish man after an apparent terrorist attack.
    Dutch authorities raised the terrorism threat in Utrecht province to its highest level, schools were told to shut their doors and paramilitary police increased security at airports and other vital infrastructure and also at mosques.
    Prime Minister Mark Rutte convened crisis talks, saying he was deeply concerned about the incident, which came three days after a lone gunman killed 50 people in mass shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand.
    “Our country has today been shocked by an attack in Utrecht… A terrorist motive cannot be excluded,” Rutte said in a statement to the media.
    “The first reports have led to disbelief and disgust.    Innocent people have been struck by violence… We are now doing everything we can to find the perpetrator or perpetrators as soon as possible.    That is now our complete focus.”
    The mayor of Utrecht, Jan van Zanen, said three people had been killed and nine injured, three of them seriously, in the tram incident.
    Dutch police identified the suspect as Turkish-born Gokmen Tanis.    They issued an image of Tanis and warned the public not to approach him.    They gave no further details.
    Local broadcaster RTV Utrecht said the suspect had a long history of run-ins with the police for both minor and major crimes, including a shooting in 2013.    Police spokesman Joost Lanshage, citing the investigation, declined to comment on the reports that Gokmen had a criminal record.
    The shooting took place in Kanaleneiland, a quiet residential district on the outskirts of Utrecht with a large immigrant population.
    “It’s frightening that something like this can happen so close to home,” said Omar Rahhou, who said his parents lived on a street cordoned off by police.    “These things normally happen far away but this brings it very close, awful.”
    The streets of Utrecht were emptier than usual and mosques in the city kept their doors closed on Monday, in part due to fears they might become targets following Friday’s mass killings in Christchurch.
    Police screened off the site where at least one body lay covered near the tram.
    The Algemeen Dagblad newspaper, quoting a witness of the incident, said the gunman had targeted a woman on the tram and then shot other people who had tried to help her.
    Dutch television showed counter-terrorism units surrounding a house in Utrecht, but there was no official confirmation that the gunman might be inside.
    Utrecht, the Netherlands’ fourth largest city with a population of around 340,000, is known for its picturesque canals and large student population.    Gun killings are rare in Utrecht, as elsewhere in the Netherlands.
(Additional reporting by Toby Sterling and Anthony Deutsch; Writing by Gareth Jones; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

3/18/2019 Manhunt underway in the Netherlands, following deadly tram shooting by OAN Newsroom
This image made available on Monday March 18, 2019 from the Twitter page of Police Utrecht shows an image of 37-year old
Gokmen Tanis, who police are looking for in connection with a shooting incident on a tram.(Police Utrecht via AP)
    A manhunt is underway in the Netherlands for a suspect wanted in connection with a deadly tram shooting.
    According to officials, at least three people were killed and seven others were injured when a gunman opened fire on passengers at a tram station in the Dutch city of Utrecht.
    While no arrests have been made, police have identified a suspect as 37-year-old Gokman Tanis.
    The suspect reportedly has a long criminal record, and has been previously arrested over his ties to ISIS.
    Authorities have raised the terror threat to the highest level as shootings have been reported in multiple locations, prompting school lock-downs, road closures and heightened security.
Dutch counter terrorism police prepare to enter a house after a shooting incident in Utrecht, Netherlands,
Monday, March 18, 2019. Police in the central Dutch city of Utrecht say on Twitter that “multiple” people
have been injured as a result of a shooting in a tram in a residential neighborhood. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

3/18/2019 President Trump praises GOP senators who voted against disapproval resolution by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump is commending the GOP senators who voted against the disapproval resolution on the national emergency declaration.
    In a tweet Sunday, the president praised those Republican senators who he said voted in favor of strong border security and the wall.    He also said those lawmakers know there’s a national emergency at the southern border and had the courage to act.
    Trump tweet: “Those Republican Senators who voted in favor of Strong Border Security (and the Wall) are being uniformly praised as they return to their States.    They know there is a National Emergency at the Southern Border, and they had the courage to ACT. Great job!
    All but a dozen GOP members of the Senate voted against the now-vetoed resolution, which sought to undo the president’s declaration.
    The House is expected to vote on overriding the president’s veto later this month.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk to their motorcade after attending service at
Saint John’s Church in Washington, Sunday, March 17, 2019 (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

3/18/2019 Maduro looking to restructure Venezuelan government by OAN Newsroom
    Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro is looking to restructure his government as his people continue to lose faith in leadership.
    The country’s vice president tweeted Sunday, stating that Maduro has asked his cabinet to review their roles as he reanalyzes the government’s methods and functions.
    This comes as Maduro continues to face mounting calls to resign, allowing self-proclaimed interim President Juan Guaido to take over.
Supporters cheer for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim president, at a rally in
Valencia, Venezuela, Saturday, March 16, 2019. Large crowds gathered in the northern Venezuelan city to greet Guaido, who plans
to tour the country as part of his campaign to oust President Nicolas Maduro. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
    These calls increased following the country’s widespread blackout last week, which Maduro blamed on the U.S.
    “When there are attacks of this type made by the country’s opposition, it is without any doubt the result of high-level technology that only the United States government has,” he claimed.    “They have used weapons of high technology and we will know what happened, we always know everything, because God is with us, and the truth will surface from where they did it, how they did it, who did it — you all will see, the truth is written in our destiny.”
    Venezuelan engineers have denied the U.S. played a role in the power outage, saying it was likely a result of poor maintenance of the country’s electricity grid and power plants.

3/18/2019 NATO to receive first Northrop surveillance drone, years late by Andrea Shalal
FILE PHOTO - A German soldier holds NATO flag during a ceremony to welcome the German battalion being deployed to Lithuania
as part of NATO deterrence measures against Russia in Rukla, Lithuania February 7, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
    BERLIN (Reuters) – NATO is to receive the first of five Northrop Grumman high-altitude drones in the third quarter after years of delays, giving the alliance its own spy drones for the first time, the German government told lawmakers.
    Thomas Silberhorn, state secretary in the German Defence Ministry, said the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) drone would be delivered to an air base in Sigonella, Italy, followed by four additional systems, including drones and ground stations built by Airbus, later in the year.
    NATO plans to use the aircraft, a derivative of Northrop’s Global Hawk drone, to carry out missions ranging from protection of ground troops to border control and counter-terrorism.    The drones will be able to fly for up to 30 hours at a time in all weather, providing near real-time surveillance data.
    Northrop first won the contract for the AGS system from NATO in May, 2012, with delivery of the first aircraft slated for 52 months later.    However, technical issues and flight test delays have delayed the program, Silberhorn said.
    Andrej Hunko, a member of the radical Left opposition party, called for Germany to scrap its participation in the program, warning of spiraling costs and the risk that it could escalate the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
    “The drones are closely linked to a new form of warfare,” he said.    “They stand for an arms race that will see existing surveillance and spy systems replaced with new platforms.”
    Silberhorn, in a previously unreported response to a parliamentary query from Hunko, said NATO had capped the cost of the program at 1.3 billion euros ($1.47 billion) in 2007.
    Germany, which is funding about a third of system, scrapped plans to buy its own Global Hawk drones amid spiraling costs and certification problems, and is now negotiating with Northrop to buy several of its newer model Triton surveillance drones.
    Fifteen NATO countries, led by the United States, will pay for the AGS system, but all 29 alliance nations are due to participate in its long-term support.
    Germany has sent 76 soldiers to Sigonella to operate the surveillance system and analyze its findings, Silberhorn said.    He said a total of 132 German soldiers would eventually be assigned to AGS, of whom 122 would be stationed in Sigonella.
    NATO officials had no immediate comment on the program status or whether Northrop faced penalties for the delayed delivery.
    No comment was available from Northrop.
(1 euro = $1.1336)
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal, editing by Ed Osmond)

3/18/2019 French PM: police will ban ‘yellow vest’ protests if violent groups take part
FILE PHOTO: A man stand in front of a damaged shop on the Champs Elysees avenue during a demonstration by the
"yellow vests" movement in Paris, France, March 16, 2019. Picture taken March 16, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
    PARIS (Reuters) – France will shut down any anti-government “yellow vest” protest if violent groups are identified taking part with an intent to wreak havoc in Paris and other major cities, the prime minister said on Monday.
    “From next Saturday, we will ban ‘yellow vest’ protests in neighborhoods that have been the worst hit as soon as we see sign of the presence of radical groups and their intent to cause damage,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in a televised statement.
    Rioters set fire to a bank and ransacked stores on Paris’s Champs Elysees avenue on Saturday, the latest flare-up of violence in four months of protests against President Emmanuel Macron and his pro-business reforms.
(Reporting by Richard Lough)

3/18/2019 On Paris’ Champs Elysees, shattered glass and smoking ruins by Luke Baker
People take pictures of a newspaper kiosk burned during the last "yellow vests" protest on the
Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France, March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
    PARIS (Reuters) – It is meant to be one of the world’s most elegant streets: more than a kilometer of boutiques, restaurants, sidewalk cafes and fashion outlets vying for tourists’ attention.    But on Monday, the Champs Elysees looked more like a construction site.
    On their 18th Saturday of protests against President Emmanuel Macron and his policies, France’s Gilets Jaunes (‘yellow vest’) movement targeted the tree-lined avenue that runs from the Arc de Triomphe, smashing banks, ransacking restaurants, burning newspaper kiosks and looting luxury stores.
    From GAP to leather goods maker Longchamp, from Levis to high-end bakery Laduree, a hard core of violent protesters threw cobble stones through pane-glass windows, scrawled graffiti on walls, set fire to half a dozen newspaper stands and torched famed restaurant Le Fouquet’s in an orgy of destruction.
    Whether the Disney store or Samsung, Tissot, Zara or Dior, few major retailers were left untouched by the rampage, which also took in a cinema, Hugo Boss, a Renault branded cafe, an Iran Air office and banks from Societe Generale to HSBC.
    Among those that did emerge unscathed, perhaps thanks to heavy boarding-up after previous bouts of vandalism, were Apple’s flagship store, Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton.
    Carpenters were cutting wood to board up shattered windows on Monday morning, and glass panes were being replaced in some bus-stops and storefronts, but stretches of the wide avenue remained a mess, with the smell of charred paper and metal hanging over the incinerated carcasses of newspaper kiosks.
    “It’s a bit of a mess,” said Michael Bilaniuk, a tourist from Ontario, Canada who said he had come straight to the Champs Elysees to check out the scene after arriving in France, aware that the Gilets Jaunes had been on the rampage. “It’s almost part of the tourist attraction — we’ve heard and seen so much about the protests, you kind of want to come and see for yourself what’s happened. It’s interesting.” Nearby, protesters’ slogans were written across a storefront and the elegant entranceway to a gallery of shops.     “They have millions, we are the millions” read one.    Another threatened: “We are a legion, you are pawns, be careful.”
    Since the ‘yellow vest’ movement began in November, originally as a protest against fuel taxes before morphing into a general denunciation of Macron’s politics, the government has struggled to neutralize the threat.
    While there has been a protest every Saturday in Paris and other cities since November, not all of them have been as violent and destructive as Saturday’s, which has made it hard for businesses to predict how to prepare.
    While some retailers began boarding up their shops after rioting in early December, in recent weeks the numbers joining the protests declined sharply and many storeowners may have thought it was safe to operate normally again.
    France’s overall retail sales were affected at the end of 2018 because of nationwide disruption in the run-up to Christmas, and after Saturday’s vandalism, Paris’ Chamber of Commerce called for action from the government.
    “Employers and their staff have been traumatized by the intensity and repetition of the violence,” the chamber said in a statement on Monday, pointing out that more than 90 businesses had been affected.
    “Last Saturday’s demonstrations have taken things too far,” it said, demanding that the government take “firm measures that will allow retailers to go about their business normally.”
(Writing by Luke Baker, Editing by William Maclean)
[As I said 17 weeks ago that Macron would kick this down the road and would hope that it would blow over without him having to make consessions of his policies for the EU Elite, that Poland's Orban is probably laughing at today as well as me.].

3/18/2019 Congressman advocates to open Space Force Command Center in La. by OAN Newsroom
    Republican Congressman Ralph Abraham recently sent a letter to President Trump urging him to consider Louisiana as the home for a proposed Space Force headquarters.    He commended the president for his efforts to advance the U.S. Space Command, and expressed his support for additional defense funding in the president’s recent budget proposal.
    Abraham said Louisiana is the “ideal location” for a Space Force headquarters, because the state has a strong relationship with both the Air Force and NASA. The congressman proposed the Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City as the new site.    He also noted NASA’s existing Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, which has contributed to the nation’s space program for years.
    “Im a huge fan of the president’s agenda too getting this Space Command started and Louisiana should be the leading candidate for that particular arena,” Abraham stated.    “This is just a match literally made in heaven for our Air Space Command to come to Louisiana, marry up with Barksdale Air force Base, and just do some good stuff.”
    The Space Force would be the first new military service since 1947, and the Pentagon hopes for the program to begin in 2020.
    Last week, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan defended the president’s proposed Space Force on Capitol Hill. He said funding is needed to avoid the potential of space-related threats from foreign countries.
    “This is the largest research development training and evaluation budget in 70 years,” he explained.    “The budget includes double digit increases in our investments in both space and cyber.”
U.S. President Donald Trump shows off a ‘Space Policy Directive’ after signing it during a meeting of the
National Space Council at the White House on June 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    In his proposed budget, the president requested $72.4 million dollars for a new Space Force headquarters and an additional $83.8 million to start up a Space Command program.
    “The Space Force will organize, equip and train the next generation of warriors to deter aggression and defend the nation,” said President Trump.    “Space — that’s the next step and we have to be prepared.”
    However, the fate of the Space Force is still unclear.    Congress must first approve the president’s proposed budget.    If approved by Congress, the Space Force would be part of the Air Force.    This is similar to how the Marine Corps falls under the administration of the Navy.

3/18/2019 After Paris violence, pressure mounts on Macron’s post-debate response by Michel Rose
French President Emmanuel Macron flanked by his cabinet director Patrick Strzoda and Elysee general secretary
Alexis Kohler holds a meeting with Prime Minister's cabinet director Benoit Ribadeau-Dumas, Justice Minister
Nicole Belloubet, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and Interior Junior Minister
Laurent Nunez at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France March 18, 2019. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS
    PARIS (Reuters) – Just when Emmanuel Macron thought he had regained the upper hand over the yellow vest protest movement with his “great debate,” the latest flare-up of violence reminded the French leader that putting his reform agenda back on track won’t be easy.
    Town hall meetings across France launched two months ago to defuse the unrest helped Macron reconnect with voters, boosting his popularity and lifting the gloom in the Elysee, even if some participants felt the encounters were a pointless talk shop.
    But images of burning banks and ransacked restaurants on the famed Champs-Elysees in Paris this past weekend have put Macron back on the defensive – just as he mulls new policies to appease the “yellow vest” protesters.
    “Saturday’s images of the Champs-Elysees threaten the early signs of appeasement that national debate seemed to have created,” Bernard Sananes of polling institute Elabe said.
    Organizers of Saturday’s protest called it an “ultimatum,” seeking to intensify pressure on the 41-year-old president as he digests hours of facetime with mayors, high school students, workers and stay-at-home mothers, as well as 1.4 million online contributions.
    His debate may be finished but we are still here on the streets,” 43-year old unemployed Agnes told Reuters TV during the yellow vest march in Paris.    “And if he does not satisfy our demands, we will take back the roundabouts, we will go and block everything.”
    Whether it was a protesters’ swansong, as his interior minister suggested, or sign of an “endless crisis” as newspaper Le Monde put it in its editorial, Saturday’s destruction pointed to the tense environment in which Macron must make decisions that will shape the rest of his five-year mandate.
    Aware of the dangers of high expectations and the limited wiggle room French public finances allow, Macron had visibly instructed his ministers to play down the scope of the announcements he said he would make before mid-April.
    “Will we be able to implement all the recommendations and meet all expectations?    No, because politics is about making choices,” government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said.
    But Macron’s aides acknowledge he will have to change both his style – critics say he is too controlling while voters have been angered by his perceived loftiness and arrogance – and allow for more participatory democracy.
    The option of a referendum – which has the advantages of appealing to those nostalgic for Charles de Gaulle’s taste for plebiscites while responding to the yellow vests’ key demand for more people’s votes – remains on the table.    But the policy issues that could be put to a plebiscite are yet to be decided.
    “The worst thing would be to end up with a great disappointment,” one presidential adviser said.    “The president was clear, he does not want the post-debate period to be like the one before the debate.”
    Less than three months before European elections that anti-establishment nationalists want to use as a show of force across the continent, a lost referendum could also backfire and offer Macron’s opponents an opportunity to challenge his legitimacy.
    The anti-government protests have shown the French crave less inequality, between Paris and the poorest parts of the country as much as between the poor and the rich in general
    That’s why the worst violence since November has targeted the Champs-Elysees boulevard and its boutiques, symbols of an opulent, successful, bourgeois Paris that those who struggle to make ends meet in the provinces resent.
    Reducing territorial inequalities and “making work pay” for the poorest was an integral part of Macron’s 2017 manifesto, his aides say, and they are confident households will start to feel the benefits of measures put in place in the last 22 months.
    He gave priority early in his presidency to pro-business tax cuts over measures to help low-income workers, and that angered left-leaning voters.
    With France having one of the world’s highest tax burdens, financing costly measures to reduce the sense of isolation in small towns and the countryside by adding more hospitals or re-opening closed schools would be difficult, Macron’s aides say.
    That means his response is more likely to be a mix of symbolic measures meant to give more say to people and changes to education and training systems.
    “We’ve reached the limits of spreading wealth,” one adviser said.    “But the potential is huge for tackling the roots of inequalities.    So we may have lost sight of some of our goals initially, but we’re firmly back on track now and accelerating.”
(Additional reporting by Marine Pennetier, Elizabeth Pineau and Jean-Baptiste Vey; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

3/18/2019 French minister expresses concern about long-term U.S. commitment to NATO by Idrees Ali
FILE PHOTO - French Defence Minister Florence Parly stands with marine officers as she visits the aircraft carrier "Charles de Gaulle,"
on the occasion of the completion of its 18 month-long renovation in Toulon, France, November 8, 2018. Christophe Simon/Pool via REUTERS
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said on Monday that Europe was concerned about the United States’ long-term commitment to NATO and implicitly criticized President Donald Trump’s approach toward the military alliance.
    Trump, as the alliance’s de facto leader, has made defense spending a priority after years of defense cuts following the 1945-90 Cold War.    He has questioned NATO’s value to Washington.
    “What Europeans are worried about is this: will the U.S. commitment be perennial?,” Parly said during an event in Washington.    She will meet with her American counterpart at the Pentagon on Monday to discuss issues including Syria.
    “The alliance should be unconditional, otherwise it is not an alliance.    NATO’s solidarity clause is called Article 5, not article F-35,” Parly added, in a reference to the Lockheed-Martin F-35 jet fighter.    She did not mention Trump specifically.
    NATO treaty’s Article 5 is a provision that means an attack against one ally is considered an attack against all of them.
    Trump has been a strong proponent of military products made by U.S. defense companies.
    In December, Jim Mattis resigned as defense secretary. Mattis, who was seen as a reassuring presence by European allies, mentioned NATO twice in his resignation letter and laid bare what he saw as an irreparable divide between himself and Trump.
    In the past Trump has called NATO obsolete.    He has also pushed NATO allies to spend more on defense and during a NATO meeting in July, told them in a closed-door meeting that governments needed to raise spending to 2 percent of economic output or the United States would go its own way.
    Parly also said that a push toward greater European autonomy should not be seen as a move against the United States and should not lead to Washington being less engaged in the region.
    Trump lashed out at French President Emmanuel Macron in November, saying it was “very insulting” for him to suggest Europe should create its own army to protect itself from potential adversaries.
    Macron had said that Europe needed a real army to reduce reliance on the United States for defense in the face of a resurgent Russia.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by James Dalgleish)
[If you remember Trump told Macron he would now be speaking German if it was not for the U.S. stopping Hitler.].

3/19/2019 Oil up $0.57 to $59.09, DOW up 65 to 25,914.

3/19/2019 Poll: Half say Trump is victim of ‘witch hunt’ - Still, nation is skeptical of president’s honesty by Susan Page and Deborah Barfield Berry, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – Amid signs that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference may be near its conclusion, a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds that trust in Mueller has eroded and half of Americans now agree with President Donald Trump’s contention that he has been the victim of a “witch hunt.”
    Support for the House of Representatives to seriously consider impeaching the president has dropped since October by 10 percentage points, to 28 percent.
    Despite that, the survey shows a nation that remains skeptical of Trump’s honesty and deeply divided by his leadership.    A 52 percent majority say they have little or no trust in the president’s denials that his 2016 campaign colluded with Moscow in the election that put him in the Oval Office.,br>     But that number does reflect an improvement from previous polls.    One year ago, 57 percent had little or no trust in his denials; in December, 59 percent did.
    What’s more, Trump’s relentless attacks on Mueller and his inquiry have taken a toll on the special counsel’s credibility.    Now, 28 percent say they have a lot of trust in the former FBI director’s investigation to be fair and accurate.    That’s the lowest level to date, and down five points since December.
    In comparison, 30 percent express a lot of trust in Trump’s denials, the highest to date.
    Mueller has indicted 34 people, including Russian intelligence operatives and some Trump aides and advisers.
    The indictments have detailed the eagerness of the Trump campaign to benefit from a sophisticated Russian effort to influence the 2016 election, but have not accused the president’s aides of participating in that operation.    Last week, Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was sentenced to a total of 7 1 /2 years in federal prison for financial crimes filed by the special counsel’s office.
    The poll’s findings set the stage for a ferocious partisan battle when Mueller submits his report to Attorney General William Barr, expected soon.
    Fifty percent say they agree with Trump’s assertion that the special counsel’s investigation is a “witch hunt” and that he has been subjected to more investigations than previous presidents because of politics; 47 percent disagree.    Just 3percent don’t have an opinion.
    There is, unsurprisingly, a stark partisan divide on that question: 86percent of Republicans but just 14 percent of Democrats say Trump is the victim of a “witch hunt.”    Among independents, 54 percent say he is; 42 percent say he isn’t.
    The poll of 1,000 registered voters, taken by landline and cellphone Wednesday through Sunday, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
A new poll indicates President Donald Trump’s relentless attacks on Robert Mueller have taken a toll on the special counsel’s credibility. CAROLYN KASTER/AP

3/19/2019 Emerging online threats changing Homeland Security’s role
    WASHINGTON – Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Monday that her department was founded to combat terrorism, but its mission is shifting to also confront emerging online threats.    China, Iran and other countries are mimicking the approach that Russia used to interfere in the U.S. presidential election in 2016, she said.    Under threat are Americans’ devices and networks.    “It’s not just U.S. troops and government agents on the front lines anymore,” Nielsen said.    “It’s U.S. companies.”
[And I thought it was the Obama administration who used the NSA with its surveillance systems on Americans was the threat instead of the Russians, so now they say the Chinese are going to do it to us.].

3/19/2019 Judge: Feds can post information on FBI raid of Trump’s ex-lawyer
    NEW YORK – A judge directed prosecutors Monday to publicly release documents related to the search warrant for last year’s FBI raids on the home and office of President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen.    U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III ordered that redacted versions of the documents be released Tuesday.    Pauley sentenced Cohen to three years in prison in December for crimes including lying to Congress and paying two women to stay silent about affairs they claimed to have had with Trump.

3/19/2019 Unsealed Cohen warrants show Mueller’s investigation dating back to 2017 by OAN Newsroom
    Hundreds of pages of redacted search warrants and other documents were unsealed Tuesday per a February ruling by a U.S. district judge.
    Last April the FBI raided the home, office, and hotel room of former President Trump attorney Michael Cohen.    They seized more than four million electronic and paper files as well as multiple electronic devices, but these warrants also show special counsel Robert Mueller’s interest into Cohen goes further back than previously known.
    In July of 2017, agents working for Mueller obtained warrants to search Cohen’s communications just two months into Mueller’s appointment as the head of the Russia probe.
    This information was referred to federal prosecutors last February, who — two months later — executed warrants on Cohen’s properties.
FILE – In this March 6, 2019 file photo, Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer,
returns to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
    Cohen pleaded guilty last summer to failing to report more than four million dollars in income to the IRS, making false statements to financial institutions, and campaign finance violations stemming from money paid to Stormy Daniels as well as a former Playboy model.
    Redacted details in the documents include personal information about Cohen, and information about several third parties who cooperated in the inquiry.    The documents do, however, include details related to charges against Cohen for tax evasion and bank fraud.
    Information related to the ongoing Russia probe was also redacted, which is something Cohen himself declined to speak about during a congressional testimony in February.
    “Unfortunately this topic is something that’s being investigated right now by the southern district of New York, and I’ve been asked by them not to discuss it, not to talk about these issues,” he stated.
    President Trump himself has continued to deny allegations of Russian collusion, and has repeatedly called the investigation a “witch hunt.”
    “But the fact is, there is no collusion and I call it the ‘witch hunt’ — this should never happen to another president, this is so bad for our country, so bad,” said the president.
    The warrants and documents were unsealed as part of a petition by members of the media to have the documents released citing “high public interest” in the case.
    Cohen is set to begin serving a three-year prison sentence in New York next month.

3/19/2019 Pollster analyzes Trump probes, says Americans ‘don’t care’ about most of investigations by OAN Newsroom
    A prominent pollster is saying she doesn’t think most Americans care about the investigations into President Trump.
    On Monday, Emily Ekins from the Cato Institute told The Hill both the congressional and federal probes may not necessarily be politically damaging.    She explained how only 30 to 40-percent of Americans recognize names such as Robert Mueller or Paul Manafort.
FILE – In this June 21, 2017 file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel
probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, arrives on Capitol Hill for a closed door meeting before
the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
    This likely comes as good news for the president, who has repeatedly called the investigations an unfounded “witch hunt.”
    Ekins explained that as of now, there’s nothing tangible for the American people to look to when trying to determine any wrong doing.
    “I think that a lot of Americans out there just don’t care that much about these investigations,” she stated.    “Now if the investigation uncovered something real and concrete and clear that would absolutely make a difference, including for a certain set of pivotal voters in Trump’s coalition, they would turn against him, surveys have shown they would turn against him.”
    These findings build on another poll, which the president capitalized on.    When asked if they agreed with the president that the probe was a witch hunt, half of the respondents agreed with that assessment with 47-percent saying they did not.

3/19/2019 President Trump donates $100K to DHS by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump is donating his first paycheck of the year to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
    The president tweeted out a photo of the $100,000 check on Monday, while slamming the mainstream media for refusing to report on his charitable donations.
    He went on to say, the media doesn’t like writing about him donating his salary.
    Trump tweet: “While the press doesn’t like writing about it, nor do I need them to, I donate my yearly Presidential salary of $400,000.00 to different agencies throughout the year, this to Homeland Security.    If I didn’t do it there would be hell to pay from the FAKE NEWS MEDIA!
    Aside from the Department of Homeland Security, President Trump has given away his entire salary to different agencies since taking office.    Other agencies include the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the Small Business Administration.
President Donald Trump speaks during a reception for Greek Independence Day, Monday, March 18, 2019,
in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

3/19/2019 Sen. Warren calls for abolishing electoral college in presidential elections by OAN Newsroom
    2020 Democrat hopeful Elizabeth Warren is taking aim at the electoral college, and is calling for its abolishment.
    During a CNN Town Hall in Mississippi Monday, Warren suggested eliminating the electoral college completely in presidential elections and replacing it with a national popular vote.
    Specifically, Warren said candidates avoid “i>non-swing” states such as Mississippi or Massachusetts, and pay more attention to “battleground” states.
In this March 15, 2019, photo, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.,
speaks at a campaign house party in Salem, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
    Warren went on to say that “every vote counts.”     “We need to put some federal muscle behind that and we need to repeal every one of the voter suppression laws that is out there right now,” she stated.
    This comes as fellow Democrat candidates in the running have also called for the abolishment.    South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said the practice is “less and less Democratic.”
[She obviously does not understand why the framers of our constitution put this in.    It was to prevent persons like her to keep from cheating the system to get elected as Hillary already did, but lost because she did not know where Wisconsin was.    By the way every Electoral College vote counts also.]

3/19/2019 Sen. Gillibrand downplays immigration, says no such thing as illegal human by OAN Newsroom
    Senator and 2020 hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand is downplaying the threat of illegal immigration by saying it’s not a matter of national security.
    The New York lawmaker made the comments Monday during her Town Hall on MSNBC. In fact, she went as far to say there’s no such thing as illegal immigration.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., speaks during a campaign meet-and-greet,
Friday, March 15, 2019, at To Share Brewing in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
    Gillibrand instead turned the issue onto President Trump, condemning what she called his “inhumane and intolerable” policies at the border.
    “He is separating families, children from parents, mothers from babies, and locking up people in facilities that are run by for-profit prison companies — it’s an outrage,” she stated.    “I would get rid of all of that, that should not be under ICE, it should not be under Homeland Security…immigration is not a security issue, it is an economic and a humanitarian, and a family issue.”
    Gillibrand’s views on immigration have drastically changed over the years.    Back in 2006, she was against amnesty, and proposed increasing funding for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.    She has since called for abolishing the agency.

3/19/2019 U.S.-Russia talks on Venezuela stall over role of Maduro by Philip Pullella
FILE PHOTO: United States diplomat Elliott Abrams listens during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council
called to vote on a U.S. draft resolution calling for free and fair presidential elections in
Venezuela at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
    ROME (Reuters) – High-level U.S.-Russian talks on how to defuse Venezuela’s crisis ended on Tuesday with the two sides still at odds over the legitimacy of President Nicolas Maduro.
    Russia has said Maduro remains the country’s only legitimate leader whereas the United States and many other Western countries back Juan Guaido, head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly who invoked a constitutional provision in January to assume an interim presidency.
    “No, we did not come to a meeting of minds, but I think the talks were positive in the sense that both sides emerged with a better understanding of the other’s views,” U.S. special representative Elliot Abrams told reporters.
    The Russian side also said the two sides now understood their respective standpoints better after the two-hour talks in Rome but Moscow’s delegation chief, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was blunter.
    “Perhaps we failed to narrow positions on this situation…,” Russian state news agency TASS quoted Ryabkov as saying.    “We assume that Washington treats our priorities seriously, our approach and warnings.”
    Ryabkov was quoted by Russia’s RIA news agency as saying the talks were difficult but frank and that Moscow had warned Washington not to intervene militarily in Venezuela.
    Abrams said “who gets the title of president” in Venezuela was still a point of contention.
    He called Tuesday’s talks useful, substantive and serious and said both sides agreed “on the depth of the crisis.”    Ryabkov said Russia was increasingly concerned by U.S. sanctions on the Latin American country.    Hours earlier, the United States imposed sanctions against Venezuela’s state-run gold mining company Minerven and its president, Adrian Perdomo.
    U.S. President Donald Trump has said all options are on the table for Venezuela, a position Abrams said the Russian side brought up at Tuesday’s meeting.
    High-ranking military officers are seen as crucial to keeping Maduro in power in the face of a hyperinflationary economic meltdown that has spread hunger and preventable disease and led to an exodus of some 3 million people since 2015.
    Maduro’s government, which retains the backing of Russia and China, drew widespread international condemnation after he was re-elected last year in a vote widely regarded as fraudulent.
    Abrams cited recent estimates that over the next few months Venezuela’s vital oil exports would fall below a million barrels a day and that the country’s oil exports were declining by about 50,000 barrels a month.
    “This a catastrophe for Venezuela,” Abrams said.
(Additional reporting by Andrey Kuzmin and Tom Balmforth in Moscow; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Mark Heinrich)

3/19/2019 Opposition accuses French interior minister over yellow vest violence by Julie Carriat
FILE PHOTO: French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner attends a ceremony at the
Police Prefecture in Paris, France, December 20, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
    PARIS (Reuters) – Opposition leaders accused French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, an ally of President Emmanuel Macron, of incompetence after he said on Tuesday he was unaware of policing decisions made during rioting on the Champs Elysees.
    After another flare-up of violence in Saturday’s yellow vest protest, which left the landmark Paris avenue looking like a battleground, calls for heads to roll have grown in France, despite its traditional tolerance for street protests.    Rioters set fire to a bank and ransacked stores.
    Prime Minister Edouard Philippe sacked Paris police chief Michel Delpuech on Monday and two other officials, his chief of staff Pierre Gaudin and Frederic Dupuch of the local police force, a police source said on Tuesday.
    But politicians piled pressure on Castaner who has been in the job for five months.    He was booed in parliament on Tuesday, before an expected grilling from lawmakers.
    “The Paris police chief is only a fall guy supposed to cover for Castaner’s blatant incompetence,” Jordan Bardella, far-right Marine Le Pen’s candidate for European elections said on Twitter.
    Castaner faced criticism from opposition politicians after a video of him dancing in a trendy Paris nightclub on the night of the violence surfaced in French media.
    Castaner told French radio a tougher police approach, decided after rioters looted shops on the Champs Elysees in early December, had not been applied on March 16 as he had ordered.
    He said he was only made aware that senior police officials had instructed their teams on the ground to hold back on using flash-balls when he visited a police station near the Champs Elysees on Sunday.
    France has long taken a tolerant approach to protests, farmers have poured manure in front of ministries and trade unions have held creative demonstrations.
    But the violent, balaclava-clad protesters among the yellow vest demonstrators for such a sustained period has forced the government to introduce increasingly tough policing tactics.
    This month, United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called for an investigation into the possible excessive use of force by police during the protests, adding to criticism from the European Parliament and national human rights bodies.
    This criticism had contributed to “inhibiting” police ranks, Castaner suggested.
    “There was a form of inhibition.    Some officials in the hierarchy, some police officers have doubts.    Such doubt is not acceptable when you’re faced with ultra-violent behavior,” Castaner said.
    Macron’s office and Castaner denied French media reports that the president had threatened to fire his minister.
    What began as a movement against a since-scrapped fuel tax hike and the high cost of living, the yellow vest protests have become a broader movement against Macron, his reforms and elitism.
    Even before Saturday’s destruction, insurance companies had registered 170 million euros of damage since the start of the yellow vest weekly marches in mid-November.
(Additionnal reporting by Sarah White, Emmanuel Jarry, Marine Pennetier and Simon Carraud, Editing by Michel Rose and Janet Lawrence)

3/19/2019 Trump endorses Bolsonaro at White House, mulls bringing Brazil into NATO by Lisandra Paraguassu and Roberta Rampton
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro and U.S. President Donald Trump arrive for a joint news conference in
the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump gave Brazil’s new far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro a ringing endorsement in the Oval Office on Tuesday, saying he was looking at a NATO membership or some other alliance for Brazil.
    At the outset of their first meeting, the two populist presidents exchanged soccer jerseys from their national teams, with Trump’s name emblazoned on Brazil’s famous yellow shirt and Bolsonaro’s on the USA uniform.
    Bolsonaro, a former army captain who styled his 2018 campaign on Trump’s 2016 run, has declared himself on unabashed admirer of the U.S. president and his politics and the American way of life.
    Despite the friendly rhetoric, no major breakthroughs were expected from the White House meeting.
    Trump did give his verbal support, however, to expanding Brazil’s presence in major multinational organizations, like NATO and the OECD.
    “We’re going to look at that very, very strongly in terms of – whether it’s NATO or it’s something having to do with alliance,” Trump told reporters, sitting next to Bolsonaro.
    Brazilian government officials had said last week that they expected the United States to name Brazil as a major non-NATO ally.    But proposing Brazil for NATO membership would take that a step further.
    Colombia became in 2018 the only Latin American nation to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as a “global partner,” which means it will not necessarily have to take part in military action.
    Trump also said he supported Brazil’s efforts to join the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a club of the world’s advanced economies.
    Brazil, the world’s eighth-largest economy, applied in 2017 to join the OECD, which has around three dozen members including Latin American countries Mexico, Chile and Colombia.
    A senior member of Bolsonaro’s economic team said last week Brazil did not expect the U.S. government to announce support for its bid to join the OECD during Bolsonaro’s visit.
    Trump said he and Bolsonaro would also discuss improving trade between the two largest economies in the Western Hemisphere and cooperation on the crisis in Venezuela, where both leaders want to oust President Nicolas Maduro.
    “Brazil makes great product and we make great product, and our trade has been never as good as it should be in the past.    And in some cases it should be far, far more,” Trump said.
    China long ago surpassed the United States as Brazil’s biggest trading partner and Bolsonaro’s economy minister on Monday urged the United States to open its market more to Brazil if it wanted to change the status quo.
    Ahead of Tuesday’s Oval Office meeting, Bolsonaro waived a visa requirement for U.S. visitors to Brazil and later in a Fox News interview on Monday night threw his weight behind Trump’s immigration agenda, which includes a wall on the Mexican border.
    “We do agree with President Trump’s decision or proposal on the wall,” Bolsonaro said, in remarks translated to English by the broadcaster.    “The vast majority of potential immigrants do not have good intentions.    They do not intend to do the best or do good to the U.S. people.”
(Writing by Marcelo Rochabrun and Mary Milliken; Editing by Bill Trott and Rosalba O’Brien)

3/19/2019 SCOTUS gives Pres. Trump victory on immigration, upholds push to detain illegals by OAN Newsroom
    The Supreme Court recently issued a ruling on immigration, favoring the Trump administration’s policy proposals.    In a five-to-four vote Tuesday, the nations highest court ruled to restrict parole or bail for illegal aliens during their deportation proceedings.
    The Supreme Court said ‘catch and release’ may not be available for criminal aliens, and those who are seen as potentially able to commit a crime. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have previously criticized ‘catch and release’ as well as weak immigration laws.
File – Central American migrants walking to the U.S. start their day departing Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico. (Photo/Moises Castillo/AP)
    The ruling allows ICE to detain deportable aliens at any time, and is said to mark a major victory for President Trump.
    “We’re on track for a million illegal aliens to rush our borders,” stated the president.    “People hate the word invasion, but that’s what it is, it’s an invasion of drugs and criminals…we capture them because border security is so good.”
    The Supreme Court ruling also reverses last year’s decision of the notoriously leftist Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which mandated to release certain illegals from detention.
[See what happens when you do not have leftist courts making bad laws, and use common sense decisions, and below article is the fake news information.].

3/20/2019 Oil down $0.06 to $29.03, DOW down 27 to 25,887.

3/20/2019 Justices rule against migrants by Richard Wolf, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court handed the Trump administration a victory Tuesday by making it easier b>to detain noncitizens with criminal records.
    The justices reversed a lower court decision that required immigration officials to detain noncitizens subject to deportation almost immediately after their release from jail or prison, rather than months or even years later.    Advocates for immigrants had argued that such detentions must occur within 24 hours or not at all.
    The 5-4 ruling was a victory for the court’s conservative justices, who complained during oral argument in October that the government cannot detain every immigrant immediately – particularly when money and manpower are limited, and state and local “sanctuary city” governments may be opposed.
    It was the first decision of the court’s term, which began in October, that resulted in a straight conservative- liberal breakdown.    Justice Samuel Alito wrote the opinion and was joined by four conservatives.
    Justice Stephen Breyer issued a stinging dissent on behalf of the liberals.
    Breyer delivered his dissent from the bench, which is rarely done, to warn that the decision gives too much power to the federal government.

3/20/2019 Va. Democrat with independent streak pushes back against House leadership by OAN Newsroom
    Democrat Virginia Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger is pushing back against party leadership in the House.    On Tuesday, the former CIA officer said she would not be “cowed” from working with Republicans when she believes its important to help all citizens in her district.
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly called out 26 moderate Democrats like Spanberger, who are not always “on board” and do not always “fall in line” with the party’s national agenda.
Virginia Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
    “I think voters are tired of people in D.C. bickering along partisan lines, because the bottom line is there are Republicans who cannot afford their prescription drug prices just the same as Democrats,” said Spanberger.    “We’re trying to meet the needs of American people — it’s something both parties should be willing to find common ground on.”
    According to reports, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also threatened to put more moderate Democrat colleagues “on a list,” and try to unseat them with upcoming primary challengers.
[I am glad to see there are some Democrats with common sense, not totally off the scale of the Left.].

3/20/2019 Research shows mounting problems with Green New Deal’s energy plan by OAN Newsroom
    The Green New Deal is offering, among other things, a plan to convert the U.S. to 100-percent clean energy by 2030.    However, mounting research suggests the proposed plan would both be costly and difficult to apply due to massive infrastructure changes that would be essential for it to work.
    The Democrat-proposed bill has faced a host of criticism from both politicians and economists in regards to the pricing and implementation of the bill.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks during a press conference to announce the
Green New Deal” on February 7, 2019. (AP Images / dpa, Alex Edelman)
    Some studies, such as one from the non-profit American Action Forum, has suggested the proposed bill would cost between 51 to 93 trillion dollars in taxpayer money over the next decade.
    Another major issue plaguing the potentially costly bill is the proposal of the U.S. switching to 100-percent clean energy by 2030.    Experts warn without proper updates to the country’s transmission lines it would essentially be impossible to transport an adequate amount of wind and solar energy from energy farms, which would be in mostly rural areas.    This means cities would be left with insufficient energy unless they implement large-scale infrastructure overhauls.
    However, a new report released this month by economists from The Brattle Group found 30 to 90 billion dollars would have to be spent on transmission lines by 2030 to serve the deal’s plans for clean energy.    This translates a 20 to 50 percent increase in average annual transmission spending compared to the past decade.
    Another problem is how the nationwide infrastructure overhaul would be implemented.    Approving transmission lines is a decade-long process between proposals and approval from local and state governments.    In fact, states have most of the power in approving transmission lines, not the federal government.    This means if state governments decide they do not wish to upgrade their power lines, the federal government would have little to no ways of combating their decision.
    So, as a growing number of Democrats continue to support the bill, questions continue to arise surrounding its practicality.

3/20/2019 Acting Defense Secretary Shanahan emphasizes need for Space Force by OAN Newsroom
    Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently reiterated the need for a Space Force.    While speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Wednesday, Shanahan said the force is needed to protect the U.S.
    “We can’t afford to lose our margin of dominance,” he stated.    “What is vital is that we protect a $19 trillion economy and the systems our military runs on.”
    The acting defense secretary said China and Russia already treat space as a war fighting domain.    He mentioned China is rapidly growing its presence in space.    Shanahan said their government put 38 rockets in orbit last year, which is more than double the 17 the U.S. launched in 2018.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan speaks at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies in Washington, Wednesday, March 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    The proposed Space Force would be a potential sixth military branch, with about 15,000 to 20,000 personnel.    It would be under the Department of the Air Force (DAF), which is similar to the Marine Corps’ relationship with the Navy.
    The Pentagon has requested more than $72 million for fiscal year 2020 to set up the branch.    It submitted its proposal to Congress, which must authorize the new service.
    “To move forward effectively, space needs an advocate — that advocate will be the Space Force,” stated Shanahan.

3/20/2019 President Trump: Popular vote takes away power from small states, Midwest by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump is pushing back on the radical platform pushed by many Democrats to abolish the Electoral College.
    In a series of tweets on Tuesday, the president explained how it is easier to campaign for the popular vote, because candidates would only have to make stops in big cities.    He said that’s the brilliance of the Electoral College, because it forces candidates to go to smaller states to pick up votes.
    Trump tweet: “Campaigning for the Popular Vote is much easier & different than campaigning for the Electoral College. It’s like training for the 100 yard dash vs. a marathon. The brilliance of the Electoral College is that you must go to many States to win. With the Popular Vote, you go to....
    “I beat crooked Hillary, and the Electoral College is hard.    Its frankly, if we didn’t know better and maybe we are starting to find things out that we didn’t know, its hard and harder to win than the popular vote. Popular vote you go to three or four states and boom, boom, boom you win the, its like 100-yard dash versus running the mile, you practice differently.    She forgot that.    She forgot to go to a couple very important states.” — President Trump.
    The president added, he used to like the idea of the popular vote until he realized it would take away power from Americans living in places like the Midwest.
    Trump tweet: “....just the large States - the Cities would end up running the Country. Smaller States & the entire Midwest would end up losing all power - & we can’t let that happen. I used to like the idea of the Popular Vote, but now realize the Electoral College is far better for the U.S.A.
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in the Rose Garden
of the White House, Tuesday, March 19, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

3/20/2019 Bharara mulled recording President Trump, says decision came ahead of his firing by OAN Newsroom
    A former U.S. attorney said he also thought about secretly recording President Trump.    In an interview Tuesday, Preet Bharara elaborated on phone calls he had with the president roughly two years ago.    The calls in question came around the time Bharara was fired in 2017, when he claimed he already had a certain level of mistrust in the president.
    Despite never following through on the plan, Bharara said this gives credence to allegations made against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Pete Bharara was fired by President Trump in March, along with dozens of other federal prosecutors
who had been appointed by the Obama administration. (AP/Photo)
    The Justice Department has maintained Rosenstein was joking when he threatened to wear a wire around the president. However, Bharara isn’t buying that explanation.
    “And I tend to believe that he (Rosenstein) was not joking, because there has been a certain kind of conduct that happens and when you’re use to someone, seeing someone tell untruths about what happens in a conversation and you care about your own integrity — I didn’t want anybody to say you had some side conversation with the President of the Untied States,” explained Bharara.
    After the Trump administration took over the White House, he and 46 other attorneys were fired after refusing to resign.    Skeptics have said this likely fueled the latest outburst against the president.

3/20/2019 Kamala Harris struggles to name policy differences from Democrat competitors by OAN Newsroom
    Running on identical political agendas may not be a smart move for Democrat 2020 hopefuls looking to stand out from a packed primary field.
    During a recent interview with Jimmy Kimmel, presidential candidate Kamala Harris struggled to distinguish herself from her 14 Democrat competitors in terms of policy.
    When asked why voters should elect her as the Democrat Party’s primary pick, Harris struggled to name a single policy difference that separates her from the crowd of candidates looking to challenge President Trump.
In this March 9, 2019, photo, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks during an event in St. George, S.C. Elizabeth Warren is betting
voters are looking for a policy guru. Harris thinks they want a candidate who moves them with a personal story. As they roll out their
president campaigns, the two senators are field-testing dramatically different theories about how to connect to with electorate. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)
    “I think one of the distinctions is I have a background of having been a leader, and I think that the voters are going to decide who will be the next commander and chief, the President of the United States, based on experience of leading,” said Harris.
    However, political experience may not be enough if Harris wants to gain an edge over her Democrat competitors since 13 of the candidates running are politicians.
[They are all socialist all on the same platform claiming universal this universal that, and she is getting the Press as well as Beto.]

3/21/2019 Oil up $1.09 to $60.12, DOW down 142 to 25,746.

3/21/2019 Venezuela’s Guaido says intelligence agents seize his chief of staff by Brian Ellsworth and Vivian Sequera
FILE PHOTO: Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country's rightful interim ruler, takes
part in a rally against President Nicolas Maduro's government in Valencia, Venezuela, March 16, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso/File Photo
    CARACAS (Reuters) – .Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said on Thursday intelligence agents had arrested his chief of staff following a pre-dawn raid, signaling that President Nicolas Maduro may be cracking down on the opposition’s challenge to his rule.
    Guaido invoked the constitution in January to assume the interim presidency after declaring Maduro’s 2018 re-election a fraud, and has been recognized by dozens of Western nations as the country’s legitimate leader.
    Maduro, who has overseen a dramatic collapse of the OPEC nation’s economy, has called Guaido a puppet of the United States and said he should “face justice,” but has not explicitly ordered his arrest.
    “They have kidnapped @ROBERTOMARRERO, my chief of staff,” Guaido said in a post on Twitter, adding the Caracas residences of Marrero and opposition legislator Sergio Vergara had been raided before dawn.    “We do not know their whereabouts.    They should be freed immediately.”
    Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    Guaido traveled around South America in February to drum up diplomatic support for his government, defying a travel ban imposed by the pro-government Supreme Court.    He later entered the country via Venezuela’s principal airport without being detained by immigration officials.
    Dozens of countries including the United States, major European powers and most South American nations have backed Guaido and say Maduro’s rule is illegitimate.
    Venezuela is reeling from annual inflation topping 2 million percent, which has fueled malnutrition and preventable disease and spurred an exodus of more than 3 million citizens in since 2015.
    Maduro says his government is the victim of an “economic war” led by his political adversaries and blames U.S. financial and oil sector sanctions for the country’s situation.
(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth and Vivian Sequera; Additional reporting by Corina Pons; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Bernadette Baum)

3/21/2019 Merkel: Germany will meet pledge to spend 1.5 percent of GDP on defense by 2024
German Chancellor Angela Merkel checks her phone at the lower house of parliament (Bundestag), ahead of a Brussels
summit for Brexit delay discussions, in Berlin, Germany March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
    BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany will meet the obligation it has made to NATO allies to spend 1.5 percent of economic output on defense by 2024, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday.
    “i>The 1.5 percent target by 2024 is an obligation to NATO … I guarantee and the German government guarantees that we will meet that obligation.    And that will require effort,” Merkel told the lower house of parliament.
(Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Writing by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Michelle Martin)

3/21/2019 Top Ukrainian prosecutor opens probe into possible pro-Clinton bias in government by OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 8:19 AM PT — Thursday, March 21, 2019     Ukraine’s top prosecutor is opening an investigation into what role his country may have played in trying to sway the 2016 U.S. election in favor of Hillary Clinton.    The mission of this investigation is to uncover exactly why the “black ledger” files were leaked to the media in the U.S.
    The move lead to the firing of Paul Manafort from the Trump campaign, because it showed him being paid under the table by Ukraine.    This fueled accusations of collusion with Russia.
    The prosecutor said he was forced to act after hearing a tape recording of Ukrainian officials claiming they released the information to help Clinton’s campaign.
    “This member of Parliament had even alleged that on tape were several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Minister Sytnyk, discuss the matter,” stated Yurii Lutsenko, Ukraine prosecutor general.
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko speaks during a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine. (Photo/REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko)
    The prosecutor will also look into how much contact members of the Obama administration had with Ukrainian officials at the embassy in Kiev.
    In a ruling last December, a Ukrainian court claimed the decision to publish the ledger amounted to interference in the United State’s election.,br> [I found the following at
3/20/2019 As Russia collusion fades, Ukrainian plot to help Clinton emerges by John Solomon, opinion contributor, The Hill.
    After nearly three years and millions of tax dollars, the Trump-Russia collusion probe is about to be resolved. Emerging in its place is newly unearthed evidence suggesting another foreign effort to influence the 2016 election — this time, in favor of the Democrats.     Ukraine’s top prosecutor divulged in an interview aired Wednesday on Hill.TV that he has opened an investigation into whether his country’s law enforcement apparatus intentionally leaked financial records during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign about then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in an effort to sway the election in favor of Hillary Clinton.
    The leak of the so-called black ledger files to U.S. media prompted Manafort’s resignation from the Trump campaign and gave rise to one of the key allegations in the Russia collusion probe that has dogged Trump for the last two and a half years.
    Ukraine Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko’s probe was prompted by a Ukrainian parliamentarian's release of a tape recording purporting to quote a top law enforcement official as saying his agency leaked the Manafort financial records to help Clinton's campaign.
    The parliamentarian also secured a court ruling that the leak amounted to “an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” Lutsenko told me.    Lutsenko said the tape recording is a serious enough allegation to warrant opening a probe, and one of his concerns is that the Ukrainian law enforcement agency involved had frequent contact with the Obama administration’s U.S. Embassy in Kiev at the time.
    “Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko told me.
    Lutsenko, before becoming prosecutor general, was a major activist against Russia’s influence in his country during the tenure of Moscow-allied former President Viktor Yanukovych.    He became chief prosecutor in 2016 as part of anti-corruption reforms instituted by current President Petro Poroshenko, an ally of the U.S. and Western countries.
    Unlike the breathless start to the Russia collusion allegations — in which politicians and news media alike declared a Watergate-sized crisis before the evidence was fully investigated — the Ukraine revelations deserve to be investigated before being accepted.
    After all, Ukraine is dogged by rampant corruption.    It is a frequent target of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s dirty tricks.    And it is a country that, just last year, faked a journalist's death for one day, reportedly to thwart an assassination plot.
    But the chief prosecutor, a member of parliament and a court seemingly have enough weight to warrant serious scrutiny of their allegations and an analysis of the audio tape.
    Furthermore, the mystery of how the Manafort black ledger files got leaked to American media has never been solved.    They surfaced two years after the FBI investigated Manafort over his Ukraine business activities but declined to move forward in 2014 for lack of evidence.
    We now have strong evidence that retired British spy Christopher Steele began his quest in what ultimately became the infamous Russia collusion dossier with a series of conversations with top Justice Department official Bruce Ohr between December 2015 and February 2016 about securing evidence against Manafort.
    We know the FBI set up shop in the U.S. embassy in Kiev to assist its Ukraine–Manafort inquiry — a common practice on foreign-based probes — while using Steele as an informant at the start of its Russia probe.    And we know Clinton’s campaign was using a law firm to pay an opposition research firm for Steele’s work in an effort to stop Trump from winning the presidency, at the same time Steele was aiding the FBI.
    Those intersections, coupled with the new allegations by Ukraine’s top prosecutor, are reason enough to warrant a serious, thorough investigation.
    If Ukraine law enforcement figures who worked frequently with the U.S. Embassy did leak the Manafort documents in an effort to influence the American election for Clinton, the public deserves to know who knew what, and when.
    Lutsenko’s interview with Hill.TV raises another troubling dynamic: The U.S. Embassy and the chief Ukrainian prosecutor, who America entrusts with fighting corruption inside an allied country, currently have a dysfunctional relationship.
    In our interview, Lutsenko accused the Obama-era U.S. Embassy in 2016 of interfering in his ability to prosecute corruption cases, saying the U.S. ambassador gave him a list of defendants that he would not be allowed to pursue and then refused to cooperate in an early investigation into the alleged misappropriation of U.S. aid in Ukraine.
    Lutsenko provided me with a letter from the embassy, supporting part of his story by showing that a U.S. official did in fact ask him to stand down on the misappropriation-of-funds case.    “We are gravely concerned about this investigation for which we see no basis,” an embassy official named George Kent wrote to the prosecutor’s office.
    The State Department on Wednesday issued a statement declaring that it no longer financially supports Lutsenko’s office in its anti-corruption mission and considers his allegation about the do-not-prosecute list “an outright fabrication.”
    My reporting, however, indicates Lutsenko isn’t the only person complaining about the U.S. Embassy in Kiev.
    Last year, when he served as House Rules Committee chairman, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) wrote a private letter asking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to recall the current U.S. ambassador, alleging that she made disparaging statements about President Trump.
    The ambassador “has spoken privately and repeatedly about her disdain for the current administration in a way that might call for the expulsion” of America’s top diplomat in Ukraine, Sessions wrote.
    Such dysfunction does not benefit either country, especially when Russia is lurking around the corner, hoping to regain its influence in the former Soviet republic.
    Investigating what's going on in the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, and whether elements in Ukraine tried to influence the 2016 U.S. election to help Clinton, are essential steps to rebooting a key relationship.
    John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption.    He serves as an investigative columnist and executive vice president for video at The Hill.
    Tags Hillary Clinton, Paul Manafort, Pete Sessions, Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, Ukraine Russia 2016 presidential election

Yuriy Vitaliyovych Lutsenko.
    Yuriy Vitaliyovych Lutsenko, a Ukrainian politician and the current Prosecutor General of Ukraine (since 12 May 2016).
    Lutsenko is a former Minister of Internal Affairs. He occupied this post in the two cabinets of Yulia Tymoshenko and in cabinets of Yuriy Yekhanurov, and Viktor Yanukovych.    The Ministry of Internal Affairs is the Ukrainian police authority, and Lutsenko became the first civilian minister in February 2005.    Lutsenko is also a former leader of the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko party and a former leader of its faction in parliament.
    On December 13, 2010 Lutsenko was charged with abuse of office and forgery by Prosecutor General of Ukraine Viktor Pshonka.    On February 27, 2012 Lutsenko was sentenced to four years in jail for embezzlement and abuse of office.    Lutsenko was held at the Lukyanivska Prison from December26, 2010 until April 7, 2013 when he was released from prison because Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych pardoned him (among others) for health reasons.    Both Lutsenko and his political allies regard his trial as an act of political persecution by the regime of Viktor Yanukovych.    The European Union, the United States Department of State, Canada, human rights organizations, and other international organizations protested against the sentence and questioned whether it was a "fair, transparent and independent legal process."
    Lutsenko's wife Iryna Lutsenko is a current member of the Ukrainian parliament.]

3/21/2019 Pentagon sends over 300 troops to Germany for rapid-deployment drills by OAN Newsroom
United States ambassador in Germany Richard Grenell, center back ground, welcomes soldiers from the 1st Armored Division,
based in Fort Bliss, Texas, at the airport Tegel in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, March 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Dorothee Thiesing)
    The Pentagon is testing its new rapid-deployment strategy in Europe in the face of unconventional security threats.
    Around 300 U.S. troops arrived in Berlin Thursday ahead of a planned military exercise in neighboring Poland.    The troops flew in from their base in Texas to practice new deployment and response tactics in the face of the growing Russian military presence in Eastern Europe.
    Pentagon officials said they will also test the new “readiness initiative.”    The goal is to be able to deploy 30 battalions, 30 air wings, and 30 warships as reinforcements within 30 days in case of conflict.
    “The purpose is really all about readiness, building readiness, and also inter-operability with our NATO allies such as Germany and Poland — two very essential allies in the NATO alliance,” stated Mj. Gen. John Gronski, Deputy Commanding General of the Army National Guard.
    NATO is set to establish two new military commands in Norfolk, Virginia and in Ulm, Germany to streamline the movement of troops during security crises.

3/21/2019 President Trump hails Ford’s plan to invest $900M in Flat Rock, Mich. facilities by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks at Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, Wednesday, March 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
    President Trump is welcoming Ford Motor’s plans to expand production of cars and parts in Michigan.
    In a tweet Wednesday, the president praised Ford over its plans to invest $900 million into manufacturing facilities in Flat Rock, Michigan.
    Trump tweet: “Great news from @Ford! They are investing nearly $1 BILLION in Flat Rock, Michigan for auto production on top of a $1 BILLION investment last month in a facility outside of Chicago. Companies are pouring back into the United States - they want to be where the action is!
    According to President Trump, corporate investments are on the rise and companies are coming back to the U.S. Ford’s plan is expected to create at least 900 new jobs.    Local residents welcomed the news, saying it brings hope for a better life in their communities.
    “I’m gonna send my daughter out there, I’m gonna send her up there for a job. 23 — let’s get her out going to a good place, right?” — Robin Deck, resident – Flat Rock, Michigan
    President Trump reiterated that Ford wants to be where the action is after reports found lower taxes and a qualified workforce boost Michigan’s investment appeal.
    Ford Motor Company said it will increase the production of electric and self-driving cars at its Flat Rock facility.
In a photo provided by The Henry Ford Museum, a Chevrolet Bolt, one of General Motors’ first self-driving test vehicles is shown.
The Henry Ford announced Tuesday, March 12, 2019, that the modified pre-production Bolt electric vehicle, which originally made its
debut in 2016, is the first autonomous car to be added to its collection. The vehicle will be displayed at the “Driving America
exhibit that chronicles the history of the automobile at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. (Rudy Ruzicska/The Henry Ford via AP)

3/21/2019 Venezuelan opposition leader’s wife builds case against Maduro in Chile by OAN Newsroom
    Venezuela’s opposition leader’s wife has entered the political fray to build a case against embattled President Nicolas Maduro.
    Juan Guaido’s wife — Fabiana Rosales — was in Chile on Wednesday, where she spoke at a university and met with the country’s First Lady.    There she called on Venezuela to return to democracy and protect human rights.
    “I don’t think democracy has a political distinction, I don’t think human rights have a political distinction — the case of Venezuela is a case for humanity,” she stated.    “When they massacre indigenous people at the border, when children die due to a lack of food and medicine, that goes beyond any political position — Venezuela is a case for humanity.”
Fabiana Rosales de Guaido, wife of Venezuela’s self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido,
shakes hands with a supporter during a meeting with Venezuelan residents in Chile, in Santiago, Chile,
Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Rosales is in Chile for the Democracy Forum Santiago 2019. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
    On the same day as her visit the United Nations human rights commissioner — Michelle Bachelet — released a report on the country, warning of a crackdown on political protests from the Maduro regime that is eroding democracy.
    “My office documented numerous human rights violations and abuses by security forces and pro-government armed groups, including excessive use of force, killings, arbitrary detentions, torture and ill-treatment in detention, and threats and intimidation,” stated Bachelet.
    Chile’s First Lady promised the international community would continue to support a return to democracy in Venezuela.
    “You are not alone…we will be by your side on this difficult but inspiring road,” said Cecilia Morel.    “The most important thing is that we have hope, and sooner than later liberty and light will come to Venezuela.”
    Rosales struck a positive tone in her visit, saying change is underway.    She even told Venezuelans who fled to Chile to pack their suitcases, because there will soon be food, jobs and opportunity in their home country once again.

3/21/2019 GOP raises monthly record of $14.6M in February compared to $11.6M by Democrats by OAN Newsroom
NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer. (AP/Photo/Jim Mone)
    Republican supporters are helping raise tens of millions of dollars for future House campaigns.
    The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) announced it raised $14.6 million in February.    It is being reported as a new record for the month in a non-election year.    60-percent of it was given to the committee by small dollar donors.
    The amount is more than double the GOP ‘s monthly record set in January when more than five million dollars was raised.    It also beats the amount raised by the other side of the aisle by three million dollars.
    Before Republican’s released their figure, the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) was bragging about bringing in more than $11 million in the second month of the year.
    Nearly 40-percent of the Democrat’s total came from grass root fundraising.    Another quarter of it was raised online.    When looking at their web page, their goal is to hold the president accountable.    However, it does not say for what.
    On the other hand, the GOP is focused on electing more Republicans to defend conservative values.

3/22/2019 Oil down $0.25 to $59.98, DOW up 217 to 25,963.

3/22/2019 Schiff: Don’t cover up Mueller’s report - No excuse to bury findings on Trump and security by Adam B. Schiff
    Last week, the House voted 420-0 to make special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings and report public.    I hope Attorney General Bill Barr was watching.
    Contrary to the public’s near universal support for making Mueller’s conclusions known, transparency is not assured.    Barr, who expressed skepticism about the investigation before his nomination, may claim that Department of Justice regulations and policy justify withholding nearly all of Mueller’s work from Congress and the public.
    The overwhelming House vote makes clear that would be unacceptable.    With narrow redactions for classified information, we expect the public release not only of Barr’s report on Mueller’s activities, but also of Mueller’s complete report to Barr.
    That is not all.    Mueller’s probe began as a counterintelligence investigation, first made public by former FBI Director James Comey.    The evidence uncovered, whether or not it results in criminal charges, is of utmost importance.    It may reflect on a threat to the country’s security, and it cannot be withheld.
    Congress has an overriding interest in obtaining this underlying evidence.    If the president or anyone around him has been compromised by a hostile foreign power — criminal or not — that must be exposed to protect the country.
    Nevertheless, there are troubling suggestions that Barr may resist.    Outgoing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recently cast doubt on the need for transparency.    Last week, two anonymous sources described as senior department officials told ABC News it would be consistent with past practices if Justice withheld information from Mueller’s investigation.
    This claim withers under scrutiny and an examination of the department’s actions over the past two years.
    During the last session of Congress, the Republican majority sought voluminous discovery from the department regarding the Hillary Clinton email investigation, as well as the ongoing Mueller investigation.    Last July, the department informed me that it had given more than 880,000 pages of internal investigative records from the Clinton probe to the GOP-led Congress, with more to come.    These documents also included highly sensitive material related to the Mueller investigation.
    I made clear to top department officials that if they reinforced a precedent of this kind, they would have to live with it, even if Congress changed hands.    Surely the department could not provide information about Clinton but then withhold equivalent information about a sitting president.
    Yet this appears to be where the department is heading.    The justification given by the two anonymous Justice sources is head-spinning: They blame Comey.    In this view, by publicly foreclosing prosecution of Clinton while also criticizing her, Comey gave the department no choice but to oblige congressional requests for materials.
    But DOJ gave Congress the documents in response to subpoenas issued after Comey’s firing, not before.    And it was not an aberration.    Since Watergate, DOJ and the intelligence community have given investigative and counterintelligence records to Congress in matters of surpassing public interest.
    Congress’ institutional interest in obtaining Mueller’s evidence meets and exceeds this bar.    Because President Donald Trump is positioned to interfere in an investigation in which he may be implicated — and indeed has sought to do so repeatedly — the prospect of a cover-up is far from speculative.    That was not the case in the Clinton investigation; there was no risk the candidate could influence a probe during someone else’s administration.
    Finally, the Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted makes the need for transparency even more compelling.    If the department holds that the president cannot be indicted, but at the same time withholds evidence of his wrongdoing from Congress and the public — that is a recipe for impunity.    No one is above the law.    Not this president.    Not any president.    Should Justice abandon its own practices and employ a double standard when the need for transparency is most vital, it will stain the department’s reputation for years to come.    Attorney General Barr, do not make that your legacy.
    Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., is chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
[Well Adam Schiff is getting desperate for his 2 year rampage for collusion, which if Mueller had found some he would have indicted him by now.    Trump has even told them to show the information so he can prove to all his innocense, from the "with hunt."    Poor Schiff he is going to be badly disappointed.].

3/22/2019 President Trump accuses Democrats of being anti-Israel, anti-Jewish by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump is doubling down on his claims the Democrat Party has become increasingly anti-Semitic.
    While speaking to reporters outside the White House Friday, the president accused Democrats of being anti-Israel after leaders of the party condemned the administration for recognizing Golan Heights as Israeli territory.    He said he doesn’t know what happened to the party, but he believes the left has become anti-Jewish.
    “The Democrats have very much proven to be anti-Israel, there’s no question about that, and it’s a disgrace,” stated President Trump.    “I mean, I don’t know what’s happened to them, but they are totally anti-Israel — frankly I think they are anti-Jewish.”
President Donald Trump listens to a question as he speaks with reporters before boarding Marine One
on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, March 22, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    Earlier this year, the president blasted freshman Democrat Ilhan Omar for her “weak” apology after she was condemned by both parties over her apparent anti-Semitic comments.
    President Trump’s latest response comes as several 2020 Democrat hopefuls have pulled out of an American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) event due to organization’s pro-Israel position.
[You can see that the Democrats put themselves above the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and they must be worshipping you know who.].

3/22/2019 President Trump says the Federal Reserve hurt U.S. economy’s growth in 2018 by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump is calling out the Federal Reserve for slowing the economy’s growth. During an interview on Thursday, the president explained how the economy would have grown over four-percent last year if the Fed hadn’t raised interest rates.
    He added, the U.S. is not experiencing the same slowdown as the rest of the world, so the economy should have had greater growth than 3.1-percent.
    The Federal Reserve has now signaled it will not raise rates this year despite an earlier prediction of at least two increases for 2019.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell gathers his notes as he concludes his news conference
in Washington, Wednesday, March 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    “Our policy rate is in the range of neutral, the economy is growing at about trend, inflation is close to target, unemployment is under three percent.    It’s a great time for us to be patient and watch and wait and see how things evolve.” — Jerome Powell, chairman – Federal Reserve
    President Trump said he doesn’t know if his comments had any influence on the pause in interest rates, but he said it proves one thing — he was right.

3/22/2019 President Trump reveals nomination for chief technology officer by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump recently revealed his nominee to fill the role as the administration’s first chief technology officer.
    In a statement Thursday, the White House announced 32-year-old Michael Kratsios has been tapped to take on the position.
Michael Kratsios at the State of the Net Conference 2019 at the Newseum in
Washington on Jan. 29, 2019. (Photo/MICHAEL BROCHSTEIN/AP)
    Kratsios previously served as the deputy U.S. chief technology officer and deputy assistant to the president for technology policy since 2017.
    According to the White House, he has played a key role in policies such as 5G expansion, broadband, artificial intelligence and drone usage.
    If confirmed he is expected to fill the CTO position that has been vacant since the beginning of the Trump administration.

3/22/2019 GOP looking to weaponize Democrat push to expand Supreme Court by OAN Newsroom
    Republicans are pointing to Democrats’ effort to expand the number of Supreme Court justices as yet another sign the party is moving further left.
    Conservative analysts have called the move “desperate” as several lawmakers prepare to use a constitutional amendment to block the proposal.
    Tennessee Congressman Mark Green floated a bill Thursday, which would lock the current number of justices at nine.
    Florida Senator Marco Rubio is also expected to introduce a similar legislation sometime next week.
    Mark Green on SCOTUS justices.
    Republican members of Congress have acknowledged an amendment will likely not go far in the Democrat-led House, but said forcing a vote would help further drive a wedge between progressives and moderate-leaning Democrats.
The west facade of the Supreme Court Building bears the motto “Equal Justice Under Law,”
in Washington, Wednesday, March 20, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

3/22/2019 Hillary Clinton discussed foreign policy with world leaders before becoming secretary of state by OAN Newsroom
    Newly recovered emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server appear to show Clinton discussed classified intelligence with world leaders before she was sworn in as secretary of state.
    Judicial Watch released the emails this week, which appear to contradict Clinton’s 2015 testimony when she claimed she had already given all of her classified emails to the State Department.
    The documents show Clinton exchanged several emails with then-U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair about Israeli foreign policy concerns days before she was sworn-in.    She even advised him to continue emailing her through her blackberry server.
    There was also discussion about setting up a private, off the record back channel with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Former US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, attends an international conference focusing
on gender equality at BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo, Friday, March 8, 2019. (Berit Roald/NTB scanpix via AP)
    The case against Hillary Clinton is really quite simple,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.    “She created and took government documents that she didn’t have a right to take, so she stole government documents.”
    Separately, the emails show Clinton aided in an application process to help one of her daughter’s friends get a job at the State Department.    It also revealed there was close coordination between the department and the Clinton Foundation.
    The documents also show Hillary privately met with a close confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin before the official was elected as the prime minister of Georgia.

3/22/2019 South American presidents announce creation of new regional bloc
Guyana’s Ambassador George Talbot, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, Argentina's President
Mauricio Macri, Colombia's President Ivan Duque, Peru's President Martin Vizcarra, Paraguay's President
Mario Abdo Benitez, Chile's President Sebastian Pinera and Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno attend the Prosur summit,
at the presidential palace La Moneda, in Santiago, Chile March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido
    SANTIAGO (Reuters) – A group of South American leaders signed a declaration on Friday to create a bloc they say is open to any country, regardless of ideology, to collaborate on solving regional problems.
    Presidents from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Peru attended the summit in the Chilean capital of Santiago.    Chile and Colombia had led the push for the new ‘Prosur’ political grouping after criticism that a previous bloc, Unasur, failed to take action on crisis-stricken Venezuela.
    “This will be a forum with a firm and clear commitment to democracy, freedom and a respect for human rights,” said Chilean President Sebastian Pinera following the signing ceremony.
    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was not among the leaders invited to meet in Santiago on Friday.
    Some leaders have criticized the organizers for leaving out Maduro and instead inviting Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, recognized by many countries as head of state after he assumed the interim presidency in January.    Guaido did not send a representative to the summit.
    Bolivian President Evo Morales, a close ally of Maduro, and Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez also did not attend.
    Unasur was created in 2008 when leftist populism advocated by Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez was at its strongest in South America.    But in recent years, the bloc has been paralyzed by divisions as center-right governments have risen to power.
(Reporting by Fabian Cambero, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

3/22/2019 U.N. experts rebuke U.S. ‘threats’, visa ban on ICC investigators
FILE PHOTO: The International Criminal Court building is seen in The Hague, Netherlands,
January 16, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw
    GENEVA (Reuters) – United Nations human rights experts called on the United States on Friday to stop its “threats” and visa bans against the International Criminal Court (ICC), which they rejected as “improper interference.”
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said a week ago that the United States will withdraw or deny visas to any ICC personnel investigating possible war crimes by U.S. forces or allies in Afghanistan.    The visa restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis, he said.
    The Hague-based court has responded that it was an independent and impartial institution and would continue to do its work “undeterred” by Washington’s actions.
    In a joint statement, U.N. experts rejected the warnings of measures by Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton last September.
    “These threats constitute improper interference with the independence of the ICC and could hinder the ability of ICC judges, prosecutors, and staff to carry out their professional duties,” the statement said.
    “We are particularly concerned in light of recent reports of senior ICC staff resigning from their positions as a consequence of these threats,” it said.
    The U.S. mission in Geneva had no immediate comment on the statement.
    The United States did not ratify the Rome treaty that established the ICC in 2002.    U.S. President Barack Obama took some steps to cooperate with it.
    The U.N. experts, Diego Garcia-Sayan, special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, and Michael Forst, special rapporteur on human rights defenders, said that were in touch with U.S. authorities on the issues.
    Activist groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), welcomed the experts’ “condemnation.”
    “The purpose of the visa restrictions is to block and deter legitimate criminal investigation into serious crimes under international law,” they said.
    “Not only might they have a chilling effect on ICC personnel and others advocating for accountability, but they will set a dangerous precedent with serious implications on the overall fight for impunity,” said the ACLU, International Commission of Jurists and International Service for Human Rights.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

3/22/2019 REPORT: No New Indictments Recommended In Mueller Probe, AG Barr Reviewing Final Report by OAN Newsroom
    The DOJ says no additional indictments are coming from Robert Mueller and Attorney General William Barr is currently reviewing the Special Counsel’s final report.
    Barr sent a letter to congress Friday after receiving the report and described it as “comprehensive” saying he could hand his summary over to Congress as soon as this weekend.
    It is widely expected Congress will make the report public.
    White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said “the white house has not received or been briefed on the special counsel’s report,” but she looks forward to the process running its course.
    The Special Counsel’s Investigation into alleged Russian Collusion with the Trump Campaign has been playing out for nearly two years and has cost American taxpayers at least $25M.
    President Trump dubbed the probe a “witch hunt” and has maintained no collusion will be found.
[As you watch the "Fake News" for the coming days they will promote there still is collusion.    That is very insulting in that we paid $25 million dollars for a 2 year witch hunt and there is no collusion except the Clinton campaign which is where the investigation should have been done in the first place, which I hope will occur now.].

3/23/2019 Oil down $0.90 to $58.97, DOW down 460 to 25,502.

3/23/2019 Trump free-speech order aims at colleges by Chris Quintana, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday aimed at ensuring colleges uphold free speech by threatening to withhold billions in research funding.    It’s not entirely clear how the order will work.
    Trump issued the order in response to concerns from conservatives, including those in his voting base, that college campuses have become too liberal.    Colleges and their faculty have been leery of conservative speakers and have unfairly labeled some of their ideas as bigoted, conservatives say. Protests surrounding conservative speakers on campus have sometimes turned violent.
    “My administration seeks to promote free and open debate on college and university campuses,” the executive order reads.    “Free inquiry is an essential feature of our nation’s democracy.”
    At the signing, Trump said the executive order was just the first in a “series of steps” the administration would take to defend the free speech of students.    He didn’t say what those future steps would be.
    He was joined on stage by college students, who he said “stood up to the forces of political indoctrination,” because they loved their country.
    “Now you have a president that is fighting for you,” he said.    “I am with you all the way.    Universities that want taxpayer dollars should promote free speech, not silence free speech.”
    The president’s remarks didn’t offer more clarity about how the program would work, but he did threaten to pull “billions and billions” of federal research funding from universities if they didn’t comply with the concept of free speech.
    “All of that money is now at stake,” he said.    “That’s a lot of money.”
    The order doesn’t make clear, and neither did Trump’s comments, what criteria would bar a university from getting federal money – and how many colleges risk violating those criteria.     The executive order would direct 12 federal agencies that give money to colleges via grants to build in conditions that direct universities to uphold free speech on their campuses.    Those agencies include the Departments of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation.
    The order doesn’t make clear how it differs from the protections already demanded of public universities by the First Amendment.
    A senior administration official who briefed reporters on the order Thursday morning did not offer more details about how the order would work.    Rather, the official said the Office of Management and Budget would work with the agencies to figure how the program will work over the next few weeks and months.

3/23/2019 REPORT: No New Indictments Recommended In Mueller Probe, AG Barr Reviewing Final Report by OAN Newsroom
    The DOJ says no additional indictments are coming from Robert Mueller and Attorney General William Barr is currently reviewing the Special Counsel’s final report.
    Barr sent a letter to congress Friday after receiving the report and described it as “comprehensive” saying he could hand his summary over to Congress as soon as this weekend.
    It is widely expected Congress will make the report public.
    White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said “the white house has not received or been briefed on the special counsel’s report,” but she looks forward to the process running its course.
    The Special Counsel’s Investigation into alleged Russian Collusion with the Trump Campaign has been playing out for nearly two years and has cost American taxpayers at least $25M.
    President Trump dubbed the probe a “witch hunt” and has maintained no collusion will be found.

3/23/2019 Don Jr. slams ‘collusion truthers’ following end of Mueller probe by OAN Newsroom
    The president’s eldest son issues a simple response to the conclusion of the special counsel’s Russia investigation.
    In a tweet on Friday, Donald Trump Jr. mocked the Left and those out to get President Trump as “collusion truthers.”
    Donald Trump Jr tweet: “collusion truthers.”
    His reaction came just moments after news broke that Robert Mueller was not blocked from taking any specific actions during his investigation.
    He went on to slam Democrats and the mainstream media, saying even though it’ll be hard for them to do, they’ll still find a way to spin the news.
    Meanwhile, Attorney General William Bar, said he’s expecting to release information on the special counsel’s final report as soon as Saturday evening.
FILE – In this June 21, 2017 file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference
in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill following a closed door meeting in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
    This comes after he sent a letter to House and Senate leaders Friday, saying he expects to release some information in the report this weekend.
    He said he was working with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and Mueller to determine what information can, and cannot be made public.
    Barr, also said after reading the report, he did not find any of Mueller’s proposed actions to be inappropriate or unwarranted.
    However, top level Democrats said they will continue to investigate the president and his associates, despite the final report.
    Congressional Democrats sounded off on Mueller’s decision to not issue further indictments in his investigation.
    House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler threatened to subpoena Mueller if the Justice Department attempts to keep any parts of his findings private.
    House Intel Chair Adam Schiff echoed Nadler’s remarks, saying the House’s investigations into the president will end only if they fail to uncover “sufficient evidence” that he has done anything wrong.
[As you can see above the MOB rule will continue even if no new indictments of collusion will occur.    So I added the definition of collusion truther: "a person who doubts the generally accepted account of an event, believing that an official conspiracy exists to conceal the true explanation; a conspiracy theoris," if they are having trouble understanding those words.    In this case a two year investigation with no collusion by Donald Trump.].

3/23/2019 Kushner cooperating with House Dems, turns over requested docs by OAN Newsroom
    White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner is cooperating with House Democrats.    The president’s son-in-law reportedly turned over some material to the House Judiciary Committee this week.
FILE – In this Aug. 29, 2018 photo, White House adviser Jared Kushner waves as he arrives at the Office of the United States
Trade Representative for talks on trade with Canada, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
    The panel is requesting information related to Kushner’s role in the 2016 Trump campaign, as well as documents relating to the inner workings of the administration.    At this point, it remains unclear how extensive the material provided by Kushner is.
    This comes after chairman Jerry Nadler said he was “encouraged” by the amount of documents he’s received so far.    About half of the 80 people contacted by the committee have responded.

3/23/2019 Fed. Reserve’s Raphael Bostic: I am open to all possibilities by OAN Newsroom
    The Federal Reserve elaborates on claims made earlier this week, adding there is no guarantee they will leave interest rates where they are for the remainder of 2019.
    In a conference at the San Francisco Fed on Friday, Raphael Bostic, president of the Atlanta Federal Reserve, said all options are still on the table regarding interest rates.
    This comes after the agency announced a stunning turn around on Wednesday, declaring they will not manipulate rates, despite earlier predictions of at least two increases in 2019.
FILE PHOTO: President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Raphael W. Bostic speaks at a European
Financial Forum event in Dublin, Ireland February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyn/File Photo -@ Copyright : Clodagh Kilcoyne(Reuters)
    "The U.S. economy is in a good place and we will continue to use our monetary policy tools to help keep it there,” said chairman Jerome Powell.    “The data that we’re seeing are not currently sending a signal which suggests moving in either direction for me, which is really why we’re being patient.”
    Now, Bostic is emphasizing he hasn’t ruled out possible rate hikes later in the year, citing inflation or labor market decline as two data points that could trigger rises.
    However, forecasts from the fed show 11 out of 17 policymakers anticipate no rate increases this year, compared to last year’s ratio of only 2 of 17.

3/23/2019 Venezuela’s Guaido says Maduro is in his final phase by Diego Oré
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognized as the country's rightful interim ruler,
meets his supporters in El Tigre, Venezuela March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
    LECHERIA, Venezuela (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s administration has reached its final stage and there will soon be a change in government, opposition leader Juan Guaido said, adding that his allies have spoken with high-ranking military members about changing sides.
    In an interview with Reuters on Friday, Guaido said Maduro had lost the ability to “finance political blackmail” to retain power thanks to pressure brought by foreign governments who have recognized him as the South American country’s rightful leader in the midst of a hyperinflationary economic collapse.
    “They are isolated, alone, they are falling apart day by day,” Guaido, the president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, said in Lecheria, a city in northeastern Anzoategui state, where he held several rallies with supporters over the weekend.
    “The citizens do not like them, they reject them, they hate them, because that is what they have received from them: hate.”
    Venezuela plunged into a deep political crisis in January, when Guaido invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing Maduro’s May 2018 re-election was illegitimate.    He has been recognized by most Western countries, including the United States, as Venezuela’s rightful leader.
    Maduro, a socialist, says Guaido is a puppet of the United States and is attempting to lead a coup against him to wrest control of the OPEC nation’s oil reserves, the largest in the world. He retains control of state functions and the loyalty of the military top brass.
    But Guaido said that hold was slipping thanks in part to pressure from abroad.    The United States slapped sanctions on state oil company PDVSA in January, and on Friday sanctioned several state-run banks in Venezuela. Guaido has also taken control of U.S. refiner Citgo, a PDVSA subsidiary and the country’s most important overseas asset.
    “The diplomatic pressure has worked, the economic pressure and the pressure on assets have worked,” Guaido said.
    Shortly after assuming the interim presidency, Guaido offered amnesty to members of the military who took his side. While hundreds have deserted, with many fleeing to neighboring Colombia, the top brass has stood by Maduro’s side.
    Guaido estimated that between 80-85 percent of military members were “convinced of the need for a change in Venezuela,” and that his team has been meeting with higher-ranking members.
    “What’s missing?    That the leadership, the high command of the armed forces, take the side of the constitution,” he said.
    The 35-year-old engineer, who had a low profile before assuming the presidency of the National Assembly this year, said he was prepared for more members of his team to be detained after his chief of staff, Roberto Marrero, was arrested on Thursday under accusations of terrorism.
    Venezuela’s Supreme Court has initiated an investigation of Guaido on the grounds that he had helped foreign countries interfere in internal matters.    During a prolonged blackout this month, the chief prosecutor has asked that he be probed for alleged involvement in “sabotage” of the country’s electrical system.
    Guaido said Maduro’s aim was “to generate fear.”
    “The risk of participating in politics in Venezuela is your life, your freedom, and the persecution of those closest to you,” Guaido said.
    He added that his team is evaluating “all the options” to possibly make a payment of some $72 million on PDVSA bonds that come due in April.    The bonds have shares in Citgo as collateral, and a failure to make payment could allow creditors to seize part of the company.
    Guaido said his team has also been in touch with companies whose Venezuelan assets were expropriated by the late former President Hugo Chavez, Maduro’s mentor and predecessor, about returning to the country should Maduro leave power.
(Reporting by Diego Ore; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Robert Birsel)

3/23/2019 Clashes break out in latest French ‘yellow vest’ protests
French riot police officers check people on the Champs-Elysees avenue during the Act XIX (the 19th consecutive national
protest on a Saturday) of the "yellow vests" movement in Paris, France, March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
    PARIS (Reuters) – Police and demonstrators clashed sporadically in Paris and other French cities on Saturday as “yellow vest” protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s government took place for a 19th consecutive weekend.
    The demonstration in the capital was largely peaceful for most of the day, but later in the afternoon police fired tear gas on protesters near boulevard de Strasbourg, close to the capital’s Gare du Nord and Gare de L’Est railway stations.
    Skirmishes also erupted in cities including Lille in northern France, and Toulouse and Montpellier in the south, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.
    For the first time this Saturday, the government deployed “Operation Sentinelle” military units to back up police after shops on the capital’s famous Champs Elysees avenue were looted and vandalized during last weekend’s protests.
    Protesters were banned from gathering on the Champs Elysees this Saturday, but demonstrators gathered in other parts of the capital.    Earlier in the day, they marched from Denfert Rochereau in southern Paris up to the Sacre Coeur church in the north.
    A yellow awning was briefly draped across the top of the Sacre Coeur, before being taken down by authorities.
    Turnout estimates for this week’s demonstrations were due to be announced later on Saturday.
    The “yellow vests” protests, named after the high-visibility vests French drivers have to keep in their cars and worn by protesters, began in November after public anger against fuel tax rises.
    The movement has morphed into a broader backlash against Macron’s government, despite it scrapping the fuel taxes, and it has often been marred by violent clashes and looting.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Alexander Smith and Helen Popper)

3/24/2019 Barr sifting report; summary to come later - Trump, lawmakers say little as work continues by Bart Jansen, Kevin Johnson and Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – The Justice Department will wait at least one more day to deliver the conclusions of special counsel Robert Mueller’s long-awaited report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
    What the Justice Department provides could supply its answer to questions that have loomed over the first two years of President Donald Trump’s administration: Did his campaign coordinate with a Russian effort to sway the 2016 election, and did he seek to obstruct the inquiries that followed?
    A department official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said officials would not release those conclusions on Saturday.
    Mueller submitted his confidential report on Friday.
    Rather than delivering the full report directly to lawmakers, Attorney General William Barr said he would review the document to determine what could be released to Congress and the public.    In his notification, Barr said neither the attorney general nor acting attorney general had blocked Mueller from pursuing any aspect of his investigation.
    Barr and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, spent Saturday reviewing Mueller’s report, as staff shuttled between their office suites. An official said that “very few” people have access to the report.
    The delay all but assures another day of waiting for a report that could shape the future of Trump’s presidency.    Yet, even the president known for bombastic tweets has been uncharacteristically subdued on Saturday, ensconced in his private Mar-a-Lago resort.
    Members of Congress seemed calm.    Meanwhile, congressional Democrats and Republicans, many of whom had left Washington for the weekend, worked to determine how to respond when Mueller’s conclusions arrive, but had little to say publicly.    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose chamber is conducting its own investigations of Trump, spent Friday night bowling at her granddaughter’s birthday party.
    Mueller’s report signaled the end of an investigation launched in secret months before Trump was elected, when the FBI began gathering clues that made them suspicious of aides to Trump’s campaign.    The investigation mushroomed to include whether the campaign coordinated with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, and whether the president himself attempted to obstruct it.    And it produced a cascade of other criminal investigations targeting people around Trump, which have not yet concluded.
    Mueller’s investigation revealed an extensive Russian intelligence operation that used hacking, stolen documents and phony social media campaigns to sew discord in U.S. politics.
    But the investigation has not resulted in charges that anyone associated with Trump coordinated with the Russians, and a Justice Department official said Mueller’s report did not recommend that anyone else be indicted.
Attorney General William Barr departs his home Saturday. He is expected to brief
Congress on Robert Mueller’s report soon. WIN MCNAMEE/GETTY IMAGES

3/24/2019 Mueller does not find Trump campaign knowingly conspired with Russia
The U.S. Capitol is seen after Special Counsel Robert Mueller handed in his report to Attorney General William Barr
on his investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election and any potential
wrongdoing by U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, U.S., March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election did not find that any U.S. or Trump campaign officials knowingly conspired with Russia, according to details released on Sunday.
    Attorney General William Barr sent a summary of conclusions from the report to congressional leaders and the media on Sunday afternoon.    Mueller concluded his investigation on Friday after nearly two years, turning in a report to the top U.S. law enforcement officer.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Andy Sullivan; Editing by Leslie Adler)

    I found this at
3/24/2019 READ: Barr's letter to Congress summarizing Mueller findings by The Hill Staff
    Attorney General William Barr has sent a letter to Congress summarizing the key findings in special counsel Robert Mueller's recently concluded probe.     Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, announced earlier that lawmakers had received the letter, which says that the Department of Justice "determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgement" in the investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
    Read the full text of the letter here in the next 4 pages.

3/25/2019 ‘No chance’ that Trump will let up on McCain by Ronald J. Hansen and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Arizona Republic USA TODAY NETWORK
    PHOENIX – President Donald Trump’s recent barrage of attacks on the late Sen. John McCain landed with a thud in many quarters.
    But political experts expect Trump to keep heaping abuse on the legacy of his foil, a six-term Arizona Republican, into 2020.
    With Arizona expected to be among a handful of states that could swing the presidential election next year and Trump’s penchant for grievance-driven politics, McCain and his home state could play an outsized role in the national conversation.
    “Sadly, there is no chance that this is going to go away,” said Rachel Bitecofer, a professor of political science who specializes in campaigns and polarization at Christopher Newport University in Virginia.
    Trump will likely spend time during the 2020 presidential campaign in Arizona talking about his long-promised border wall, and he has ignored pleas from Republicans in the past to not discuss his views on McCain, she said.
    “He gets into those rallies and he just can’t help himself,” Bitecofer said.
    Trump and McCain publicly battled from 2015 until McCain’s death from brain cancer in August.    Seven months later, Trump is keeping the feud going amid the conclusion of an investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, whose inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was fueled in part by a salacious dossier McCain gave to the FBI.
    Trump has lashed out at McCain, blaming him for peddling the dossier he claimed was the work of Democrats, sinking Trump’s health care plans by refusing to help roll back the Affordable Care Act and saying he wasn’t thanked for approving McCain’s funeral services in Washington.
    Some are wondering how the attention on McCain may shape the legacy of the former prisoner of war and the 2008 presidential nominee.
    Rick Davis, McCain’s presidential campaign manager and member of his inner circle, said McCain probably would have welcomed the continued attention.
    “I’m sure there is a wry smile on John’s face today knowing he’s as relevant now as he was when he was still with us,” Davis said.    “I wouldn’t expect it will be any different in the future.    John McCain cast a wide shadow on Earth and now from heaven.”
    Trump’s fixation with McCain creates more discomfort for U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., who faces voters again in 2020, many political observers agree.    Trump and McSally will top the GOP ballot in Arizona next year.
    McSally holds the seat McCain held from 1987 to 2018 and, like him, draws on her experience as a combat pilot.
    It’s why she seems caught in the middle when Trump, who is wildly popular among Republicans, attacks McCain, who remains popular with a sizable slice of Arizona voters.
    “Politically speaking, there’s no bigger loser than Martha McSally,” Bitecofer said. “She is absolutely one of the most-endangered Republican incumbents.    It’s complicating for her because she can’t really distance herself from the president without isolating Republican voters."
President Donald Trump’s attacks on John McCain create discomfort for Sen. Martha McSally,
who faces voters in 2020. CHERYL EVANS/ARIZONA REPUBLIC

3/25/2019 Mueller finds no conspiracy - Report does not clear Trump of obstruction by Kevin Johnson, Bart Jansen and Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation did not find evidence that President Donald Trump or members of his campaign conspired with Russia’s efforts to sway the 2016 election, delivering a boost to the president in a case that has shadowed his administration.
    But the special counsel’s report leaves “unresolved whether the president’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction,” Attorney General William Barr said in a letter to Congress delivered Sunday.
    “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” on whether he obstructed justice, Mueller said in the report, according to Barr’s four-page summary.
    Because the special counsel did not reach a conclusion on obstruction, Barr wrote that the ultimate decision was left to him, adding that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined that Trump’s conduct did not constitute a crime.
    Trump immediately declared the letter a “complete and total exoneration.”
    “It’s a shame that our country had to go through this.    To be honest, it’s a shame that your president had to go through this,” Trump said Sunday before returning to Washington from Florida, where he spent the weekend.
    Trump’s lawyers, including Rudy Giuliani, also characterized the findings as “total vindication of the president.”
    Barr told lawmakers that Mueller’s report described two efforts by Russia to interfere in the presidential election.    One was a hacking operation that targeted Democratic political organizations; the other was a “disinformation and social media” effort to sow discord.
    Mueller’s investigation also concluded that Trump’s campaign received “multiple offers” of assistance from people linked to Russia.    The central question of the investigation was whether Trump or anyone in his campaign collaborated with those efforts.
    Barr said that Mueller concluded that neither Trump nor other Americans had joined a Russian conspiracy. The evidence Mueller gathered “does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference,” Barr wrote.
    That determination was part of Barr’s decision that the president could not be prosecuted for obstruction of justice.    A Justice official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said that Barr did not consult with Mueller while preparing the summary letter.
    Barr indicated that his determination that Trump’s conduct did not constitute obstruction was made without regard to the constitutional considerations of whether a sitting president can be prosecuted.    Long-standing Justice Department guidelines state that a president cannot be charged while in office.
    The attorney general’s obstruction conclusions are likely to cast a new spotlight on Barr, who wrote a memo critical of Mueller’s inquiry in 2018.
    Democrats in the House and Senate immediately signaled that they wanted to know far more about the facts Mueller gathered, and Barr’s conclusion that Trump had not committed obstruction.
    “Attorney General Barr’s letter raises as many questions as it answers,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York in a joint statement.    “The fact that special counsel Mueller’s report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public without any further delay.    Given Mr. Barr’s public record of bias against the special counsel’s inquiry, he is not a neutral observer and is not in a position to make objective determinations about the report.”
    Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said lawmakers would call Barr to testify.
    Mueller’s findings seemed destined to fuel a highly political fight unfolding against the backdrop of a presidential campaign – with a crowded field of Democrats vying to unseat a president who has been trailed by criminal investigations almost since he took office.    Although the summary of Mueller’s findings lifted that cloud, the special counsel’s probe produced a cascade of criminal investigations targeting people around Trump that have not concluded.
    Barr’s summary described a massive investigation by Mueller’s staff of 19 lawyers.    The special counsel’s office issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants and interviewed about 500 witnesses.    Mueller’s investigators also obtained dozens of communication records and requests to foreign governments for evidence, the letter states.
    How much of the report Barr is willing to disclose remains unclear.    Barr warned that he might withhold some aspects of Mueller’s report because it was based on grand jury testimony, which under law is supposed to remain secret.    He said other parts of the report could contain information relevant to “other ongoing matters” that Mueller referred to prosecutors elsewhere in the Justice Department.
A summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report says he found no grounds
to bring charges against President Donald Trump. CLIFF OWEN/AP
[Well it is obvious that Mueller and Barr will probably have there lives run down and become enemies of the Democrat Leftist witch hunt under mob rule as they will probably continue their no evidence and pitiful excuse for Legislation practices.    The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is watching you Nadler, Schiff, Waters, Pelosi, Shumer as he has put the bait on the hook for you to stare at and Rep Lindsey Graham is sending in the troops to round up the truthful corruption.]

3/25/2019 ‘An illegal takedown that failed’ by Michael Collins and John Fritze, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump claimed vindication from a summary made public Sunday of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
    “It was a complete and total exoneration,” the president said as he boarded Air Force One in Palm Beach, Florida, en route to Washington.
    “It’s a shame that our country had to go through this,” Trump said.    “To be honest, it’s a shame that your president has had to go through this.”
    Trump called the investigation an “illegal takedown that failed.”
    Mueller’s inquiry did not find evidence that Trump or members of his campaign conspired with Russia’s efforts to sway the 2016 election, but it left unresolved whether Trump’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction of justice, Attorney General William Barr said in a letter to Congress.
    “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” on whether he obstructed justice, Mueller said in.
President Donald Trump speaks to reporters briefly about the special counsel’s report before boarding
Air Force One on Sunday in West Palm Beach, Fla., on his way back to Washington. CAROLYN KASTER/AP

3/25/2019 Democrats ready to start building on Mueller report - House committees plan multiple investigations by Bart Jansen, Deborah Barfield Berry and Eliza Collins, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – After Attorney General William Barr gave Congress his summary of the nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, lawmakers planned Sunday to pick up the baton with multiple investigations of President Donald Trump, his administration and his business.
    Lawmakers of both parties parsed Barr’s four-page summary for statements that supported their positions.    Barr said special counsel Robert Mueller “did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia,” which Republicans said vindicated Trump.
    Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called it a “good day for the rule of law” and a “great day for President Trump and his team.”
    “No collusion and no obstruction.    The cloud hanging over President Trump has been removed by this report,” Graham said.    “Bad day for those hoping the Mueller investigation would take President Trump down.”
    Barr’s summary said Mueller didn’t draw any conclusions about whether Trump obstructed justice.    “The special counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,’” Barr said.
    Democrats said dozens of indictments and convictions against some of Trump’s top aides pointed to the need for a variety of expanded investigations.
    House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said the panel will call on Barr to testify “in the near future” about discrepancies in the decisions about Trump and the underlying evidence Mueller collected.
    “But special counsel Mueller clearly and explicitly is not exonerating the president, and we must hear from AG Barr about his decision making and see all the underlying evidence for the American people to know all the facts,” Nadler said in a tweet.
    The first fight could be over the documents themselves as lawmakers of both parties seek more than the summary Barr provided of Mueller’s report.    House Democratic chairmen said they will build on Mueller’s foundation with investigations of possible foreign influence on Trump, obstruction of justice or public corruption.
    Barr reiterated in his summary that his goal is “to release as much of the special counsel’s report as I can consistent with applicable law, regulations and departmental policies.”
    Federal law prohibits the release of grand jury evidence to protect the integrity of that system, and Barr said he asked for Mueller’s assistance in identifying that material before releasing more of his full report.
    House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Mueller focused on criminal issues and may not shed light on intelligence findings Schiff’s panel will explore about “whether the president or others around him have been compromised by a foreign power.”    He listed meetings of Trump campaign aides with Russians and negotiations during the 2016 campaign for a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Robert Mueller and his wife, Ann, leave St. John’s Episcopal Church, across from the White House. CLIFF OWEN/AP

3/25/2019 Caravan of migrants in Mexico starts moving towards U.S.
FILE PHOTO - The U.S.-Mexico border fence is seen in El Paso, Texas, U.S., March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A caravan of some 1,200 migrants from Central America and Cuba began moving towards the U.S. border from southern Mexico this weekend, migration authorities said on Sunday.
    The National Migration Institute said the migrants were already inside Mexico when they opted to form a caravan in the southern city of Tapachula on the border with Guatemala.
    Early on Saturday, the large group of people set off towards the town of Huixtla in the southern state of Chiapas, a route followed by previous groups heading north, the institute said.
    Caravans of migrants bound for the United States have sparked friction with U.S. President Donald Trump, who has accused Mexico of failing to contain illegal immigration and wants a border wall built to stop people crossing.
    The new government of leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has pledged to curb the migrant flows by better regulating the movement of people, and by offering job opportunities and better pay for those willing to stay.
    The migration institute said the roughly 1,200 migrants were from Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Cuba.
(Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by Sandra Maler)

3/25/2019 Trump lashes out after Russia probe, cites ‘treasonous’ and ‘evil’ acts by Jeff Mason and Susan Heavey
U.S. President Donald Trump reacts as he returns to the White House after U.S. Attorney General William Barr reported to congressional
leaders on the submission of the report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump, cleared by Special Counsel Robert Mueller of conspiring with Russia in the 2016 U.S. election, on Monday vented his anger at the inquiry and vowed investigations into unnamed political enemies who did “evil” and “treasonous things.”
    The Republican president and his allies in Congress went on the offensive a day after the release of a summary of Mueller’s report gave him a political victory ahead of his 2020 re-election bid, with no allegations of criminal wrongdoing brought against him at the end of a nearly two-year-long inquiry.
    U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Sunday released a four-page summary of the findings of the investigation that detailed Russian interference in the 2016 election.
    “There are a lot of people out there that have done some very, very evil things, very bad things, I would say treasonous things against our country,” Trump told reporters at the White House, without mentioning anyone by name or citing specific actions.
    Senator Lindsey Graham, the Republican Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and a Trump ally, said he would ask Barr to appoint a special counsel to investigate the origins of the Russia probe, which was first handled by the FBI and then by Mueller after the president fired the agency’s director, James Comey, in May 2017.
    The Republican president pledged new investigations but did not specify who would conduct them or who should be targeted.    Trump in the past has called for investigations of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate he defeated in 2016.
    “Those people will certainly be looked at.    I’ve been looking at them for a long time,” Trump said in the Oval Office sitting alongside visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.    “And I’m saying: why haven’t they been looked at? They lied to Congress.    Many of them.    You know who they are.”
    White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders called for congressional hearings to investigate prominent Trump critics including former U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, Comey and other FBI figures.
    The end of the Mueller inquiry did not spell the end of the investigative pressure on Trump.    Democrats gave no indication of easing up on their multiple congressional investigations into his business and personal dealings.
    Graham said it was time to look at the Clinton campaign and the origins of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant for former Trump adviser Carter Page, which was based in part on information in a dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who co-founded a private intelligence firm.    Republicans said the FBI failed to disclose that Steele was hired by a firm funded by Democrats to do opposition research on Trump’s business dealings.
    “I love this country as much I can love anything: my family, my country, my God,” Trump said.    “But what they did.    It was a false narrative.    It was terrible thing.    We can never let this happen to another president again.”
    Trump had repeatedly accused Mueller, a former FBI director, of running a “witch hunt” with a team of “thugs” and having conflicts of interest.    But when asked on Monday if Mueller had acted honorably, Trump said, “Yes.” [MUELLER SHOWED THAT HE WAS BIPARTISAN AND NOT A OBAMA, CLINTON, SCHIFF, NADLER AND SHUMER PUPPET.].
    Trump also said he had not thought about pardoning anyone convicted or who pleaded guilty in the Mueller probe.    They include several of his former aides such as former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.    The special counsel also detailed extensive contacts between Trump associates and Russia.
    “We’re glad it’s over.    It’s 100 percent the way it should have been,” Trump said.    “I wish it could have gone a lot sooner, a lot quicker.”
    A fierce fight was brewing over how much of Mueller’s findings should be made public.    Democrats, who control the U.S. House of Representatives, demanded a full release but one of Trump’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow, said at least part of the Mueller report should be withheld.
    Sekulow said it “would be very inappropriate” to release the president’s written answers to questions posed by the special counsel, calling the responses provided in November confidential.    After lengthy negotiations, Trump reversed his previous stance that he would be willing to submit to an in-person interview with the Mueller team, ultimately agreeing only to provide written answers.
    Mueller, who submitted his confidential report on his findings to Barr on Friday, neither accused Trump of obstruction of justice in trying to impede the investigation nor exonerated him of obstruction, according to the summary.
    Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, concluded the investigation’s evidence “is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”
    The Mueller investigation had cast a cloud over Trump’s presidency but he has declared himself fully exonerated by Barr’s summary, despite what it said on the obstruction of justice issue.
    Mueller told top Justice Department officials three weeks ago he would not reach a conclusion on the obstruction question – an unexpected move, a department official said.
    Democrats have vowed to call Barr – a Trump appointee who before taking the job had criticized Mueller’s obstruction investigation – to appear before lawmakers to answer questions.    Trump on Monday said “it wouldn’t bother me at all” if the report were released, but it was up to Barr.
    In an appearance on NBC’s “Today” program, spokeswoman Sanders said, “The media and Democrats have called the president an agent of a foreign government.    That is an action equal to treason, which is punishable by death in this country.”
    Asked if Trump owed Mueller an apology, Sanders added, “I think Democrats and the liberal media owe the president and they owe the American people an apology.”
    Justice Department regulations give Barr broad authority to determine how much of the Mueller report to release.    Democrats have threatened to go to court to win its release, if necessary.
    The Kremlin on Monday said President Vladimir Putin was ready to improve ties with the United States following the release of Barr’s summary and called on the United States to formally recognize there was no collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign.    Russia repeated its denial of election meddling.
    Mueller, in previous legal filings, described a Russian campaign to interfere in the election through hacking and propaganda to sow discord in the United States, harm Clinton and boost Trump.    Mueller charged 12 Russian intelligence officers, 13 other Russians accused of taking part in a disinformation campaign and three Russian companies in the meddling.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell, Mark Hosenball, Sarah N. Lynch, Doina Chiacu, Makini Brice and Lawrence Hurley in Washington and Tom Balmforth and Maxim Rodionov in Moscow; Writing by Will Dunham; Editing by Bill Trott and Grant McCool)

3/25/2018 Barr’s summary vindicates House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s caution toward impeachment by OAN Newsroom
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s cautions toward impeachment of the president are vindicated in wake of the attorney general’s findings of the Mueller report.
    For months, she has warned impeachment is not a “magic wand” to quickly remove President Trump from office.
    Pelosi faced mounting pressure from her fellow Democrats to push for impeachment, and has even been accused of setting the bar too high.
FILE – In this Friday, March 8, 2019 file photo, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks at
an Economic Club of Washington luncheon gathering in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
    Just last week, the House speaker was fighting off those attacks from colleagues as she waited for results of the Mueller report.
    “I have no idea nor should I have any idea what the Mueller report will say, but what I’m saying is from our standpoint, our day to day work, it’s not about him (President Trump) — it’s about the American people,” she stated.
    Pelosi has always maintained unless the Mueller report comes out with clear and conclusive evidence, the Democrat Party is wasting its time.

3/25/2019 Secretary Sanders says ‘Democrats and the liberal media owe’ President Trump, American people apology by OAN Newsroom
    White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the American people deserved better, and didn’t deserve for the election of President Trump “to try to be taken down.”    Sanders made the comment in an interview Monday after being asked if special counsel Robert Mueller deserved better from the president than his constant criticisms.
    She further defended the president’s rhetoric on the issue by pointing out the Democrats and media accused him of being an agent of a foreign government.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders speaks to reporters outside the West Wing of the
White House in Washington, Monday, March 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    Sanders also suggested Democrats and “liberal media” are the ones who should apologize.
    “I think Democrats and the liberal media owe the president and they owe the America people an apology — they wasted two-years and created a massive disruption and distraction from things that impact everyone’s day to day life,” she stated.    “I mean lets not forget this took place under the Obama administration — you had people like Clapper and Brennan lying to Congress to perpetuate this idea of Russia collusion against the president.”
    Secretary Sanders also slammed the Mueller probe as a two-year waste of taxpayer time and dollars.

3/25/2019 Giuliani calls for release of full Mueller report by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is calling for the full release of the special counsel’s report.
    Shortly after the summary was released to Congress Sunday, Giuliani called on the Justice Department to publicize the findings.    He said if the report were to stay in the shadows, critics of the president would claim there was something being hidden.
    Guiliani classified the findings as a full exoneration of the president, and reiterated the president did nothing wrong.
President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. (AP/Photo)
    “The attorney general does, kind of, a brilliant analysis of it, and he says that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein have concluded that the evidence is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice,” he stated.
    Guiliani gave credit to Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for their handling of the report.
    Meanwhile, he also said he expects Democrats on Capitol Hill to continue their attacks.

3/25/2019 President Trump signs proclamation recognizing Israel sovereignty in Golan Heights by OAN Newsroom
    The president recently sounded off on Israel’s right to defend itself, following a Hamas rocket attack on the Gaza Strip.
    During a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday, he signed a presidential proclamation recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights region.
President Donald Trump smiles at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, after
signing a proclamation in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington, Monday, March 25, 2019.
Trump signed an official proclamation formally recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    Netanyahu announced he was cutting his U.S. visit short in response to the strikes.    He also said Israel will not tolerate aggression on the strip, adding, his country is prepared defend itself.
    This comes after Israel’s military began launching counter strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza.
    The Israeli prime minister also thanked the president, saying Israel has never had a better friend than President Trump.

3/25/2019 Border Patrol checkpoints shut down in El Paso sector amid influx of asylum seekers by OAN Newsroom
    With hundreds of people arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border each day, intense strain has been put on Border Patrol.
    Over the weekend, the El Paso sector was forced to shut down its checkpoints, so agents could help process asylum applicants.
    The Texas Monthly magazine was the first to break the news, revealing agents who usually inspect cargo were reassigned indefinitely.    This impacted all checkpoints spanning from New Mexico to the Rio Grande in Texas.
    While border apprehensions are down from last year, it comes at a time when the country is grappling with an influx of migration.
This photo taken March 4, 2019, shows Jose Francisco Juárez and his daughters, 5-year-old Perla Victoria
and 17-year-old Helen, who traveled from Honduras to ask for asylum in the United States. They were part of
a group of Central American migrants that included a teenager, left, traveling alone from Honduras. All waited for
Border Patrol to transport them to a processing center in El Paso. (Roberto E. Rosales/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)
    Several caravans from Central America have traveled to the U.S. in the last year, bringing thousands of migrants to the border and driving up wait times to file for asylum.    This influx is putting intense strain on Border Patrol, who have said their facilities were not designed to process so many people at once.
    It doesn’t appear that this wave of migration will be slowing any time soon.    Smugglers in Central America have reportedly been stepping up their operations by advertising that they can get migrants to the U.S. border in a matter of days.    Once they do arrive, however, migrants face the long battle of convincing U.S. immigration judges their asylum claims are valid and they deserve to stay in the U.S.

3/25/2019 U.S.-Russia tensions rise over Maduro by OAN Newsroom
    As the political crisis continues in Venezuela, Russia is stepping up their presence in the region.    Two Russian Air Force planes, with nearly 100 troops and a Russian defense official, landed in Caracas on Sunday.
    This comes after Russia’s speaker of the upper house of Parliament said they will do everything possible to prevent U.S. military intervention in Venezuela.
    “We are very much concerned that the U.S. could carry out any provocations to shed blood, to find a cause and reasons for an intervention in Venezuela, but we will do all in order not to allow this,” stated Valentina Matviyenko, chairwoman of the Federation Council.
    Recent high-level U.S.-Russia talks on how to defuse the crisis ended with the two sides still at odds over the legitimacy of President Nicolas Maduro.    Along with differences on who’s leading the nation, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Russia is defying U.S. sanctions by buying oil from Venezuela.
    “Russia’s state-owned oil company, Rosneft, continues to purchase crude oil cargoes from PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, in defiance of U.S. sanctions,” explained Pompeo.    “And Rosneft’s CEO, Igor Sechin, continues to throw a lifeline to the regime.”
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks during an anti-imperialist rally for peace, in Caracas, Venezuela,
Saturday, March 23, 2019. The U.S. withdrew all embassy personnel from Caracas due to safety concerns after
Maduro severed ties with the U.S. over its support for opposition leader Juan Guaido. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
    Embattled President Maduro is also stepping up his attacks against the Trump administration.
    “Donald Trump believes that he is superior to the rest of the world, and believes that people like him should rule the world and rule the people from all continents according to their designs and interests,” stated Maduro.    “There is a neo-Nazi current that governs the White House.”
    President Trump has warned of more sanctions, and is leaving the door open for other ways to topple Maduro’s grasp.     “As I said all options are open, I think of all possibilities – all options are open,” said the president.

3/25/2019 Trump admin. expands public’s access to federal lands for recreation by OAN Newsroom
    The Trump administration is working to improve conservation efforts in regards to federal lands, while increasing public access.
    Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt recently signed secretarial order 3373 to give Americans a bigger say in how U.S. acreage is controlled.    The order pertains to the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the sale and utilization of government grounds.
    It will now be required to take into full consideration the effects of potential land sales and how it will impact the public before pursuing transactions.    This is due in part to some private buyers purchasing land, which leaves only a small strip of connecting areas for hunting and fishing among other activities.
FILE – This file photo shows deer seeking foliage in retreating snow in grasslands near Miles City, Mont. This area is typical of other
grasslands and similar tracts that are included in a policy by acting U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who is ordering
federal land managers to give more consideration to public access concerns when selling or trading public land. (Steve Allison/Miles City Star via AP, File)
    Bernhardt’s move has received heavy praise from prominent conservation groups.    This could play in the secretary’s favor as his presidential nomination as the agency’s permanent secretary undergoes consideration this week.    The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is set to conduct his confirmation hearing on Thursday.

3/25/2019 Sen. Cruz says Democrat calls for impeachment to continue despite Mueller report by OAN Newsroom
FILE – U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference
at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., U.S., March 1, 2019. (Photo/REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
    Senator Ted Cruz said House Democrats will likely continue their push to impeach President Trump. In an interview Sunday, Cruz said Democrats are looking for other ways to hurt the president after the Mueller report found no evidence of Russian collusion.
    The Texas Republican said new efforts to dismantle this administration include congressional probes into President Trump’s finances and businesses.
    Cruz stressed House Democrats admit they don’t care if the president ever did anything wrong.
    “We’re going to see Democrats moving forward with impeachment whatever the evidence, that’s why you’re seeing Democrats like Congressman Nadler say ‘don’t worry about crimes…our focus is not crimes, that’s just Bob Mueller’s focus, our focus in broader’ — what their focus is politics,” said the Texas lawmaker.    “We’re seeing in the Democratic Party, their focus is obsessively on trying to destroy the President, this administration.”
    Senator Cruz also urged lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to work together, saying partisan warfare is not good for the American people.

3/25/2019 Canadians question ratification of new North American trade deal: Ottawa
FILE PHOTO: Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland attends the annual Munich
Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert/File Photo
    OTTAWA (Reuters) – Many Canadians question why Ottawa should ratify a new North American free trade deal given Washington’s refusal to lift U.S. tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from its northern neighbor, a top Canadian official said on Monday.
    Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland made her remarks to reporters in Washington after meeting U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to insist on the removal of the sanctions, which the U.S. administration announced last May, citing national security reasons.
    Canada is the single largest supplier of both aluminum and steel to the United States.    Freeland said it made no sense to retain the tariffs, given that the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement had been formally signed last November.
    “I have heard from a lot of Canadians that they would be really troubled by Canada moving forward with ratification while the tariffs are still in place,” she said in televised remarks.
    Freeland did not answer directly when asked whether she had made any progress in trying to persuade Lighthizer to lift the tariffs.    Washington worries that countries could try to ship supplies through Canada and pretend the metals had been produced in Canadian facilities.
    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to U.S. President Donald Trump on March 1 about the matter but well-placed sources said there was little sign of progress.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy).

3/25/2019 Avenatti arrested on federal charges in Calif., N.Y. by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Dec. 12, 2018 file photo, Michael Avenatti, lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels, speaks outside court in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
    Attorney Michael Avenatti is facing federal charges in California and New York.
    Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles announced wire and bank fraud charges against him Monday for allegedly embezzling money from a client as well as defrauding a bank through fake tax returns.
    The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York said Avenatti allegedly tried to extort Nike for $20 million.
    Prosecutors said he threatened to release damaging information about the company if it did not meet his demands.
    Avenatti was arrested Monday in Manhattan after the FBI reportedly recorded his phone calls, revealing he threatened a law firm working with Nike.
[I think he should run for the 2020 Democrat presidential platform since he can yell louder than the other 15 plus that are running and his record of attacks on Trump, Kavanaugh, ex-girlfriends, and his stellar lawyer techniques make him compatible with the rest.].

3/26/2019 Oil down $0.22 to $58.82, DOW up 15 to 25,517.

3/26/2019 Democrats push for Mueller report to Congress by next week, Republicans resist by Jeff Mason and Susan Heavey
U.S. President Donald Trump reacts as he returns to the White House after U.S. Attorney General William Barr reported to congressional
leaders on the submission of the report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A fight brewed between Democrats and Republicans over the public release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, while President Donald Trump kept up attacks on his critics on Monday.
    As the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Republican chairman called for an investigation into the origins of the probe of any Trump campaign links with Russians, the Senate leader blocked a second attempt by Democrats to pass a measure aimed at pushing the Justice Department into full disclosure of the report.
    Six committee chairs in the Democratic-led House of Representatives called on U.S. Attorney General William Barr, in a letter seen by Reuters, to release the full Mueller report to Congress by April 2.    Earlier this month, the House voted 420-0 in favor of making the report public, with no Republican opposition.
    Barr on Sunday released a four-page summary of conclusions of the investigation that detailed Russian interference but cleared the Republican president’s campaign team of conspiring with Moscow.
    No one outside the Justice Department has yet seen the report, including the White House.    The Justice Department has not said whether it will release Mueller’s full report, but Barr has said he will be as transparent as possible.
    A person familiar with the matter said there were no plans at this time to show the Mueller report to the White House.
    Trump on Monday vented his anger at the inquiry and vowed investigations into unnamed political enemies who did “evil” and “treasonous things.”    The probe left unresolved the question of whether Trump engaged in obstruction of justice.
    Senator Lindsey Graham, the Republican Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and a Trump ally, told reporters he would ask for an investigation.    Barr told Graham in a telephone call that he would be willing to testify to the panel about the Mueller probe, according to a spokesman for the senator.
    Republican U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, noting that it took nearly two years for Mueller to conduct his investigation, said after blocking the Democratic measure: “It’s not unreasonable to give the special counsel and the Justice Department just a little time to complete their review in a professional and responsible manner.”
    Trump said on Monday that “it wouldn’t bother me at all” if the report were released but that it was up to Barr.
    The end of the Mueller inquiry did not spell the end of the investigative pressure on Trump by Democrats, who gave no indication of easing up on their multiple congressional investigations into his business and personal dealings.
    Democratic lawmakers were likely to face a protracted legal battle that will turn on Trump’s right to keep communications with his advisers private, legal and political experts said.
    One of Trump’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow, said at least part of the report should be withheld.
    Sekulow said it “would be very inappropriate” to release the president’s written answers to questions posed by the special counsel, calling the responses provided in November confidential.    After lengthy negotiations, Trump reversed his previous stance that he would be willing to submit to an in-person interview with the Mueller team, ultimately agreeing only to provide written answers.
    The president and his allies in Congress went on the offensive as the summary gave him a political victory ahead of his 2020 re-election bid, with no allegations of criminal wrongdoing brought against him.
    “There are a lot of people out there that have done some very, very evil things, very bad things, I would say treasonous things against our country,” Trump told reporters at the White House, without mentioning anyone by name or citing specific actions.
    Trump pledged new investigations but did not specify who would conduct them or who should be targeted.    Trump in the past has called for investigations of Hillary Clinton, the Democrat he defeated in 2016.
    White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders called for congressional hearings to investigate prominent Trump critics including former U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey and other FBI figures.
    In an appearance on NBC’s “Today” program, Sanders said: “The media and Democrats have called the president an agent of a foreign government.    That is an action equal to treason, which is punishable by death in this country.”
    Asked if Trump owed Mueller an apology, Sanders added: “I think Democrats and the liberal media owe the president and they owe the American people an apology.”
    Trump had repeatedly accused Mueller, a former FBI director, of running a “witch hunt” with a team of “thugs” and having conflicts of interest. But asked on Monday if Mueller had acted honorably, Trump said: “Yes.”
    Mueller, who submitted his confidential report on his findings to Barr on Friday, neither accused Trump of obstruction of justice in trying to impede the investigation nor exonerated him of obstruction, according to the summary.
    Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, concluded the investigation’s evidence “is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”
    The Mueller investigation had cast a cloud over Trump’s presidency but he has declared himself fully exonerated, despite what Barr’s summary said on the obstruction of justice issue.
    On March 5, Mueller visited the Department of Justice’s main office in Washington to meet with Barr and Rosenstein and told them he would not be reaching a conclusion with respect to obstruction, a decision that was unexpected, a department official said.
    The Kremlin said on Monday that President Vladimir Putin was ready to improve ties with the United States following the release of Barr’s summary and called on Washington to formally recognize there was no collusion.    Russia repeated its denial of U.S. intelligence agencies’ findings that it meddled in the election.
    Mueller, in previous legal filings, described a Russian campaign to interfere in the election through hacking and propaganda to sow discord in the United States, harm Clinton and boost Trump.    Mueller charged 12 Russian intelligence officers, 13 other Russians accused of taking part in a disinformation campaign and three Russian companies.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell, Mark Hosenball, Sarah N. Lynch, Doina Chiacu, Makini Brice, David Morgan and Lawrence Hurley in Washington and Tom Balmforth and Maxim Rodionov in Moscow; Writing by Will Dunham and Grant McCool; Editing by Bill Trott and Peter Cooney)

3/26/2019 Prosecutors drop all charges against ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett by OAN Newsroom
    In a stunning reversal, state prosecutors are dropping all charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, who was charged with staging a hate crime assault.     In a statement Tuesday, the actor’s legal team said all state charges have been dropped and sealed.
According to prosecutors, the change in direction came after the details of his case were reviewed and he was deemed innocent of all charges.
    Officials also took into account Smollett’s long history of volunteer service in the community as well as his voluntary agreement to forfeit his bond money to the city of Chicago.    His attorneys clarified no deal was made.
Actor Jussie Smollett leaves the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago on Tuesday, March 26, 2019,
after prosecutors dropped all charges against him. Smollett had been indicted on 16 felony counts related to making
a false report that he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
    “I would also like to thank the state of Illinois for attempting to do what’s right,” Smollett stated.    “Now I’d like nothing more than to just get back to work and move on with my life, but make no mistakes — I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality and betterment of marginalized people everywhere.”
    Although all state charges have been dropped, Smollett could still face federal charges.

3/26/2019 Chicago Police & Mayor outraged over Smollett by OAN Newsroom
    Chicago Police and the city’s mayor express outrage after prosecutors drop charges against Jussie Smolett in connection with allegations of planning and carrying out a hate crime against himself.
    During a press briefing Tuesday, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson accused prosecutors of brokering a deal with defense attorneys to clear Smollett of state charges.    Johnson said justice was not served in this case.    He stands by the evidence, and said charges were rightfully filed.
    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the unexpected move sends a clear message that if you’re in a position of influence you will be treated differently.
    “Mr. Smolett is still saying that he is innocent, still running down the Chicago Police Department — how dare him, how dare him after everybody saw, and I want to remind you this is not the superintendent’s word against his…the grand jury…a sliver of the evidence…they came to a conclusion as did the state’s attorneys office,” he stressed.    “This is not superintendent and the detective’s department’s word against his, and even after this white wash, still no sense of ownership of what he’s done — he says that, in fact, he is the wronged in this case.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, right, and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson appear at a news conference in Chicago, Tuesday,
March 26, 2019, after prosecutors abruptly dropped all charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, abandoning the case barely five
weeks after he was accused of lying to police about being the target of a racist, anti-gay attack in downtown Chicago. The
mayor and police chief blasted the decision and stood by the investigation that concluded Smollett staged a hoax. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)
    Donald Trump Jr. applauded Emanuel for his response.
    Prosecutors said they made the decision, because they believe a jury would not find Smollett guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
    Others argue the <>Cook County State attorney — Kim Foxx — did it for political reasons, citing her previous recusal from the case over conflict of interest. Reports also cited Foxx’s connection to left-wing Hollywood players, and the nearly half a million dollar donation she received from billionaire liberal George Soros.
    Smollett could still face federal charges.

3/26/2019 Report: Pentagon approves transfer of $1B to build southern border wall by OAN Newsroom
    According to a recent report, the Pentagon has revealed one billion dollars of military funds will be transferred to begin construction of a southern border wall.    That’s according to a budget reprogramming document that was obtained by CNN.
    This money will be used to build nearly 60 miles of fencing along the southern border to prevent drug smuggling, human trafficking, and cut back on illegal crossings.
In this March 11, 2019 photo, construction crews replace a section of the primary wall separating San Diego, above right,
and Tijuana, Mexico, below left, seen from Tijuana, Mexico. The Pentagon has sent a 20-page list of military construction projects to
lawmakers, who want to know which might be cut to pay for the wall along the border with Mexico. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
    This comes after President Trump declared a national emergency earlier this year, so funds from different agencies could be used to fund border wall construction.     Democrats hoped to stop the transfer as they have claimed the Pentagon did not get congressional approval before moving forward with the transfer.     “The fact is… many killings, murders, crime, drugs pouring across the border, our money going out and the drugs coming in…I said we need to build a wall, and it has to be built quickly.” — President Donald Trump.

3/26/2019 Former UN Ambassador Haley, Sen. Cruz urge President Trump to end Iran oil waivers by OAN Newsroom
    Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is urging President Trump to toughen up sanctions on Iran.
    While speaking at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington, D.C. Monday, Haley said the U.S. should abandon oil waivers for Iran’s trading partners.
    She stressed the Ayatollah regime must face greater economic pressure amid its ongoing destabilizing activities in the Middle East.
Former Ambassador to the U.N Nikki Haley speaks at the 2019 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference,
at Washington Convention Center, in Washington, Monday, March 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
    Oil waivers have allowed several countries, including Iraq and India, to continue buying Iranian oil amid a U.S. embargo. This has kept oil prices low.
    For his part, Texas Senator Ted Cruz echoed Haley’s remarks by saying oil waivers must end.

3/26/2019 Secretary of State Pompeo: Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism by OAN Newsroom
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made his position on Israel very clear by going on record to say anti-Zionism is the same as anti-Semitism.
    Pompeo made the comment Monday, while speaking at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington, D.C. He explained how the bigotry of anti-Semitism is making a comeback on college campuses and in the media through the Boycott, Bivestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement.
    While he said its okay to publicly criticize the policies of Israel, he said it’s not acceptable to question if the country even has the right to exist.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the 2019 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
policy conference, at Washington Convention Center, in Washington, Monday, March 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
    Secretary Pompeo then pointed the finger at members of Congress for pushing this narrative.
    “So friends let me go on record, anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism,” he stated.    “But frankly worst of all, some politicians think anti-Semitism can actually win them votes, and we have to correct the record — we all have an obligation to do so.”
    While Pompeo held back from giving specific names, it is widely believed he was calling out Representative Ilhan Omar and Representative Rashida Tlaib as well as the Democrat presidential candidates who are boycotting AIPAC.

3/26/2019 House Speaker Pelosi speaks out against anti-Semitism during AIPAC address by OAN Newsroom
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said support for Israel in Congress “remains ironclad and bipartisan.”    She made the remark during a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference Tuesday in Washington, D.C., where she also vowed to never allow Israel to become a “wedge issue.”
    Pelosi also condemned calls to impose sanctions on Israel by calling the proposal a bigoted ideology that’s masquerading as policy.    The House speaker pointed out the movement, which is backed by far-left lawmaker Illhan Omar among others, does not recognize the right of the Jewish people.
    She also touted the House’s recent resolution to condemn various forms of hate, which was passed partly in response to controversial comments by Omar.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. speaks at the 2019 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
policy conference, at Washington Convention Center, in Washington, Tuesday, March 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
    “This month the full House came together to condemn the anti-Semitic myth of dual loyalty and all forms of bigotry with a resolution that, quote, ‘rejects the perpetuation of anti-Semitic stereotypes in the United States and around the world,’ including the pernicious myth of dual loyalty and foreign allegiance — especially in the context of support for the United States-Israel alliance,” stated the House speaker.
    Pelosi also said to be anti-Semitic is to be anti-American, adding, it has no place in the country.

3/26/2019 Papadopoulos claims he was duped into special counsel plea deal by OAN Newsroom
    Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos is doubling down on claims he was coerced into his plea deal.
    In a recently obtained excerpt from his upcoming memoir, Papadopoulos said the deal was “forced” on him by the special counsel.    He said Robert Mueller threatened to charge him with failure to register as a foreign lobbyist if he did not admit to previously lying to the FBI.
Robert Mueller. (AP/Photo)
    In the past he accused the special counsel of setting up one of the “largest cases of entrapment in history” in order to secure his plea.
    Papadopoulos slammed the probe over the weekend after Attorney Genral William Barr released his summary of the report.    He took to Twitter to write “time to hit back.”
[I would like to remind everyone that Mueller is in good eyes with Conservatives now but I want to remind you that he was part of the Trailblazer program that cost $3.8 billion and would be more intrusive, a in 2003, Maureen Baginski left the NSA to become the Executive Assistant Director of Intelligence at the FBI between 2003-2005, led the bureau's first-ever intelligence program, adapting the FBI's intelligence capabilities with information technologies, and created an intelligence-sharing platform that helped identify and stop terror plot.    And that is when President George W. Bush and FBI Director Mueller, applauded Baginski's significant changes at the FBI which improved its capabilities to safeguard the United States of America.    In retirement from the FBI, Director Mueller asked Baginski to remain as a senior advisor to the FBI, a position which she accepted.    This is when Bush did all those bad things with surveillance of all Americans using the AT&T issues, and harrassed anyone who told on him.]

3/27/2019 Oil down $0.26 to 59.77, DOW up 141 to 25,658.

3/27/2019 House axes Pentagon border funding by John Bacon, USA TODAY
    A Pentagon decision to redirect up to $1 billion to build 57 miles of fencing along the Mexican border was slapped down Tuesday by a House panel that rejected the “reprogramming action.”
    Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Monday authorized the Army Corps of Engineers to plan and build the 18-foot-high fencing and to construct and upgrade roads and install lighting near the border in Yuma, Arizona, and El Paso, Texas.
    Shanahan said the $1 billion plan was in support of the national emergency declaration President Donald Trump issued last month after Congress refused to appropriate the $5.7 billion he wanted for construction of the wall.
    “The committee denies this request,” Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, wrote in a letter to the Defense Department comptroller.    “The committee does not approve the proposed use of Department of Defense funds to construct physical barriers and roads or install lighting in the vicinity of the United State border.”
    Some Republicans also were skeptical. Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas said he opposes using defense funding for other purposes but suggested Shanahan was facing “a lot of criticism for decisions that you had nothing to do with.”
    Shanahan said he understood the concerns but added that he was executing a “legal order from the commander in chief.”
    It was not immediately clear what impact the committee’s decision would have on the construction effort.    Trump has repeatedly claimed the wall is needed to keep criminals from entering the U.S. Shanahan cited the need to “block drug-smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States in support of counter-narcotic activities of federal law enforcement agencies.”
    Shanahan, in testimony Tuesday before Smith’s panel, reiterated his claim that the transfer of funds to the wall won’t jeopardize national security.
    Shanahan announced the $1 billion plan late Monday.    It immediately drew a sharp response from Democrats, with several senators on the Appropriations Committee signing a letter blasting Shanahan for failing to seek approval of the congressional defense committees.
    “We have serious concerns that the department has allowed political interference and pet projects to come ahead of many near-term, critical readiness issues,” the letter read.
    Trump’s emergency declaration sparked controversy, some of it from his own party.
    Both Houses of Congress voted to block the declaration, but Trump vetoed the measure.    The House voted Tuesday 248-181 in favor of overturning his veto, mostly along party lines, but that was 38 votes shy of the number needed for the required two-thirds majority.
    Trump says his declaration of a national emergency to build the wall allows him to tap billions targeted for military construction projects ranging from garages and air traffic control towers.
    The projects have been approved by Congress, but contracts have not yet been signed.
Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said the $1 billion plan was in support
of a national emergency declaration. JIM LOSCALZO/EPA-EFE

3/27/2019 Trump seeks complete erasing of ‘Obamacare’ - Pelosi warns that many could be left uninsured by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – The Trump administration told a federal appeals court it wants the entire Affordable Care Act struck down, an outcome that could leave millions uninsured.
    The administration, in a terse filing Monday with the court in New Orleans, said former President Barack Obama’s health care law should be declared unconstitutional after Congress repealed the levying of fines on people who remain uninsured.
    That position is at odds with previous statements by leading congressional Republicans who said they did not intend to repeal other parts of the law when they cut out its fines, effective this year.    It’s also a departure from the administration’s earlier stance in a lower court, where it had argued that only federal protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions and limits on premiums charged to older, sicker people should be struck down.
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the turnabout shows that Republicans “say one thing and they do another.”
    If the entire ACA is repealed, popular provisions such as coverage for adult children on parental insurance until age 26 would vanish, Pelosi said.
    Seeming to react to the pushback, Trump said on Twitter, “The Republican Party will become “The Party of Healthcare!” As president-elect Trump promised “insurance for everybody,” but the White House never presented a comprehensive plan.    The Justice Department did not explain its reasoning in a two-sentence letter to the court, but promised a full and timely explanation for the appeals judges.    It’s rare for Justice to decline to defend a federal law.
    The case brought by Texas and a group of GOP-led states seems headed for the Supreme Court.    District Court Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth earlier ruled in favor of the plaintiff states, and Democratic-led states have appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
    The Supreme Court has twice upheld the Obama-era law.    Five justices – a majority – who upheld the law in 2012 are still on the bench.    They are Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s four liberals.
    Repeal of the ACA in its entirety would risk making more than 20 million people uninsured.    That includes some 12 million low-income people covered through its Medicaid expansion, and some 11 million purchasing subsidized private health insurance through and state-run insurance markets.
    Some Republicans say that wouldn’t happen because the Trump administration’s “repeal and replace” plan would send grants to states for them to run their own health insurance programs.    However, during the 2017 congressional debate over repealing the health law, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the GOP replacement plans would result in steep coverage losses.
Since taking office, President Donald Trump has never given up on repealing all parts of the Affordable Care Act. JOSE LUIS MAGANA/AP

3/27/2019 Senate shuns Green New Deal amid claims - GOP is looking to make proposal an issue in 2020 by Matthew Daly, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – The Senate on Tuesday defeated a proposal to take up the Green New Deal as both parties shunned an opportunity to debate a comprehensive climate change plan offered by Democrats.
    Majority Republicans forced the vote as they seek to turn the Green New Deal into a wedge issue in the 2020 elections.    Democrats called the GOP’s move a “sham” and said it carries its own political risk by mocking an issue that a growing number of Americans care deeply about.
    Senators voted 57-0 against a procedural motion to take up the nonbinding resolution, which calls for the U.S. to shift away from fossil fuels such as oil and coal and replace them with renewable sources such as wind and solar power.
    Four Democrats joined all 53 Senate Republicans in opposing the motion to take up the climate plan.    Forty-three Democrats voted “present” to protest the GOP’s action.    Democrats accused the GOP of quashing debate by blocking public hearings and expert testimony about the consequences of inaction on climate change.
    In shifting the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels, the Green New Deal calls for virtual elimination by 2030 of greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming.
    The plan has broad support among Democratic activists, and all six of the 2020 presidential contenders serving in the Senate have signed on as co-sponsors, putting it at the forefront of the party’s sprawling primary race.
    However, Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper said Tuesday he opposes the Green New Deal.    The former Colorado governor said the proposal sets “unachievable goals” and shuns the private sector.
    Republicans say the plan would devastate the economy and lead to a huge tax increase.    They call it more evidence of the creep of “socialism” in the Democratic Party, along with “Medicare for All” and a sweeping elections reform package that would allow public financing of congressional campaigns.
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky scheduled the vote on the Green New Deal, saying it would force Democrats to take a stand on a plan that “might sound like a neat idea in places like San Francisco or New York” but would result in communities across the country being “absolutely crushed.”
    By “basically outlawing the only sources of energy that working-class and middle-class families can actually afford,” the Green New Deal would “kill off entire domestic industries” and eliminate millions of jobs, McConnell said.    The plan could lead to a spike in household electric bills of more than $300 a month, he said.
    Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, called the Green New Deal “ridiculous” and displayed pictures of dinosaurs, cartoon characters and babies on the Senate floor.    He said he was treating the plan “with the seriousness it deserves.”
    Lee’s remarks enraged Democrats, who called climate change deadly serious, citing recent floods in the Midwest, wildfires in the West and hurricanes in the South.
    “Climate change is not a joke,” said Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, the bill’s lead Senate author.    “Mocking it is shameful.”
    New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, one of a half-dozen senators seeking the Democratic nomination for president, said Republicans treat climate “as a game” and said Democrats “will not fall for this stunt.”
    Addressing climate change “should be our nation’s moonshot” in the 21st century, Gillibrand said, calling it a generational challenge similar to the race to the moon in the 1960s.
    “We don’t know if we can get to netzero carbon emissions in 10 years, but why not try?” she said at a rally before the Senate vote.
    Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said Democrats were being hypocritical by refusing to vote for their own plan.    “I’ve never seen a bill sponsored by a dozen people who don’t want to vote on it,” he said.
Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., speaks at a rally Tuesday for the Green New Deal, outside the Capitol in Washington. MATTHEW DALY/AP

3/27/2019 As I have shown in a previous article that diseases that have been eradicated in the U.S. are recurring because of illegal alien immigration coming into this country without being checked for diseases, because of the Democrats laws they have passed in the last 10 years.    I hope it comes back on them and affects their life somehow so they will get the message of their creation.
  • Mumps a contagious viral infection that tends to affect children and causes swelling of the salivary glands but can also affect other organs. Mar 8, 2019 - Outbreaks. The largest outbreak occurred in a close-knit community in northwest Arkansas that resulted in nearly 3,000 cases.    Two large outbreaks from Iowa and Illinois each involved several hundred university students. About half of outbreaks involved greater than 10 cases.
  • Measles a highly contagious virus that starts with fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat, followed by a rash that spreads all over the body. From January 1 to March 14, 2019, 268 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 15 states.    The states that have reported cases to CDC are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.
  • Rubella also known as German measles or three-day measles, is an infection caused by the rubella virus.    This disease is often mild with half of people not realizing that they are infected. A rash may start around two weeks after exposure and last for three days.
  • The MMR vaccine is a vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles).    The first dose is generally given to children around 9 to 15 months of age, with a second dose at 15 months to 6 years of age, with at least 4 weeks between the doses.
    The image below just came out to show you where measles is showing up and as you can see it definitely shows migration from the southwestern states without secure borders is its starting point and I hope that every Democrats children come down with it just to let them know what happens when you ignore a crisis.    God works in mysterious ways just as he did with Ten Plagues before the Exodus, and gives me hope for a "RAPTURE."
    Measles Cases in 2019 from January 1 to March 21, 2019, is 314 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 15 states.    The states that have reported cases to CDC are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.
    Seen at
11/26/2018 Border wall replacement along New Mexico’s border with Mexico is finished by Christinia Pae, reporter
    While migrant caravan arrivals have not largely been expected at New Mexico's border with Mexico, a border wall improvement project there has been completed.
    "We said we were going to build it, and we built it. And now we're moving on," Chief Border Patrol Agent Aaron A. Hull said.
    In a September news conference, officials with U.S. Border Patrol's El Paso Sector said the 18-to 30-foot-tall bollard-style fencing in Santa Teresa was finished months earlier than projected.
    "We determined that construction of a new barrier would help us reduce illegal entries and make more effective use of our agents and other resources," Hull said.
    It cost approximately $73 million to build the column-style wall that stretches for 20 miles west of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection port of entry in Santa Teresa.    The wall replaces older fencing and vehicle barriers there.
    Meantime, CBP is alerting travelers going through ports of entry in Santa Teresa, El Paso and Tornillo to expect longer wait times due to CBP officers transferring to California and Arizona to support operations there.
    The Pentagon has assigned more than 5,000 troops along the Southwest border in anticipation of the migrant arrivals.
    CBP officials said there have been site assessments along the El Paso Sector, which includes Santa Teresa, but no additional troops have deployed along New Mexico's border.
    The 118 New Mexico National Guard soldiers deployed in the area earlier this year are still there to support Border Patrol operations.
    "It's more important than ever that Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform and fix this broken system," a spokesman for Gov. Susana Martinez said.     State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has claimed the border wall in Santa Teresa was built on state trust land.
    His office plans to auction about 7 acres of land there that includes the border wall.
    Also found at I found the following article as dated below if you would like to view it.
2/20/2019 The new 'wall' in New Mexico is real, and it's 20 miles long by Eddie Scarry

3/29/2019 Five states fighting measles outbreaks by Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
    The number of cases of measles this year in the United States is nearing the total for all of last year, with five states reporting outbreaks in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    An outbreak, defined as three or more cases, has been reported in New York State, New York City, Washington, Texas, Illinois and California.
    The 314 cases nationwide as of March 21 is inching closer to the 372 for all of last year.
    In Rockland County, just north of New York, where 155 cases have been confirmed as of Wednesday, County Executive Ed Day declared a state of emergency this week, banning any unvaccinated person under 18 from being in a public place.    Violations are punishable by a $500 fine or six months in jail.
    The ban, which will be in effect for 30 days, prompted a backlash from a small group of anti-vaccination advocates who protested Thursday at the Palisades Center mall in West Nyack in what they dubbed on Facebook a “Rockland County – Unvaccinated Civil Disobedience.”
    “This is about healthy people being quarantined and barred from public places,” said Rita Palma, one of the protesters.    “People have a right to choose for their own children and make their own decisions.”
    Rockland County says the outbreak can be traced to September, with the arrival of an international traveler with a suspected case.
    Infectious disease experts described such broad bans of minors from public places as a potentially unprecedented government action in combating a measles outbreak.
    “It’s not something that I’ve seen before in my professional experience,” said Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, a top public health officer in Seattle.    “What that says to me is that the local public health people feel that they have an extraordinary outbreak on their hands.”
    The CDC blames the outbreaks across the country on two factors: An increase in the number of travelers who bring measles back from abroad, notably Israel and Ukraine, and what it calls the “further spread of measles in U.S. communities with pockets of unvaccinated people.”
People choosing not to vaccinate have become a global health threat, the World Health Organization says. CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

3/27/2019 Macron’s party reaches out to Greens for coalition in European Parliament
FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron waits for guests arrivals at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
    PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron’s party will seek to draw Greens in the European Parliament into a centrist coalition it hopes to build after May’s elections, a candidate on Macron’s ticket said on Wednesday.
    “We’ll champion a coalition deal and clearly we’ll offer the European Greens the opportunity to join,” Pascal Canfin, number two on Macron’s list of candidates for the May 26 election told France Inter radio.
    Macron is hoping to break the dominance of the conservative EPP and Social-Democrats (S&D) in the European Parliament, much like he did to France’s mainstream parties in the country’s 2017 election.
    Voter intention surveys show both the EPP and S&D will fail to win an outright majority, potentially placing the centrists Macron is hoping to unite in a position of king-maker.
(Reporting by Michel Rose and Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Richard Lough)

3/27/2019 President Trump meets with interim First Lady of Venezuela Fabiana Rosales by OAN Newsroom
    While meeting with interim Venezuelan First Lady Fabiana Rosales at the White House, President Trump stressed Russia has to get out of Venezuela.    The president spoke with Rosales Wednesday in the Oval Office, where he said all options are open regarding getting Russian troops out of the nation.
    He also commended interim President Juan Guaido as a “tremendous man” and reaffirmed his administration is with the Venezuelan people.    The president suggested progress is being made in the country and pointed out Rosales “has been through a lot” in her and her husband’s efforts against the Maduro regime.
President Donald Trump, right, listens during a meeting with Fabiana Rosales, left, a Venezuelan activist
who is the wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, as she speaks in the Oval Office of
the White House in Washington, Wednesday, March 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    Rosales’ outfits may often be casual, but her point of bringing change to a country currently in the grip of political crisis is very serious.    26-year-old Fabiana Rosales has recently taken over the role of international ambassador for Venezuela’s opposition, making several appearances this week to drum up support for her husband’s campaign.
    While Juan Guaido is busy handling domestic affairs, Rosales is assuring crowds that the opposition is making progress.    As many as 50 countries already recognize him as Venezuela’s rightful leader and as an extension Rosales has become a household name.
    Opponents of the opposition, however, view her recent tour as a desperate attempt to keep Guaido in the international spotlight.
    “Look, I am the wife of president Juan Guaido and I will accompany him on whatever route he takes and we will overcome whatever obstacles we face as we have done through all our years together…so that we can take an entire country forward because we are not alone in this struggle, the entire nation wants to see their country doing well,” she stated.
    Rosales was directly impacted by the medical shortages Venezuelans are currently facing when her father died in 2013 from a heart attack.    Had there been medicine in his village to stabilize him or an ambulance to take him to the nearest hospital, he may have had a chance of surviving.
    As the political duo establishes trust with the Venezuelan public, socialist leader Nicholas Maduro is strengthening ties abroad with countries like Russia.

3/27/2019 Attorney General Barr to release public version of Mueller report within weeks by OAN Newsroom
    Attorney General William Barr is reportedly preparing to release a public version of the Mueller report within the coming weeks.    At this point, Justice Department officials have said there are no plans to provide the White House with a copy first before it is made publicly available.
    By law, Barr will have to redact confidential grand jury material from the report as well as information from ongoing criminal investigations, which Mueller referred to other prosecutors.
    House Democrats want Barr to release this version by next Tuesday. He has yet to publicly comment on the request.
Attorney General William Barr leaves his McLean, Va., home on Monday, March 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
    Meanwhile, the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee is pushing for more documents about Attorney General Barr’s decision not to pursue obstruction charges.
    The panel unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday, demanding the Department of Justice hand over documents relating to the obstruction case against President Trump after Mueller chose not to exonerate him.    They are also demanding FBI records about discussions to remove the president using the 25th Amendment.
    The resolution can now be brought to the House floor for a vote.    If approved, Barr would have two-weeks to comply with the request.

3/27/2019 President Trump nominates Jeffrey Rosen to replace Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein by OAN Newsroom
In this image provided by the Department of Transportation, deputy transportation secretary Jeffrey Rosen is shown in his
official portrait in Washington. President Donald Trump has nominated Rosen to be the next deputy attorney general.
    President Trump recently revealed his nominee to replace Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
    In a statement Tuesday, the White House announced Transportation Department official Jeffrey Rosen will fill the position.
    Rosen serves as the deputy secretary of transportation, and previously worked in the George W. Bush administration.
    Rosen has been rumored as the candidate, but President Trump confirmed the decision this week as he submitted his name to the Senate.
    This comes as Rosenstein faces scrutiny for allegedly discussing using the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office.

3/27/2019 Trump tells Russia to get its troops out of Venezuela by Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks with National Security Adviser John Bolton as he takes his seat for a meeting with
Fabiana Rosales, wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 27, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday called on Russia to pull its troops from Venezuela and warned that “all options” were open to make that happen.
    The arrival of two Russian air force planes carrying nearly 100 Russian troops outside Caracas on Saturday has escalated the political crisis in Venezuela.
    Russia and China have backed President Nicolas Maduro, while the United States and most Western countries support opposition leader Juan Guaido.    In January, he invoked the constitution to assume the country’s interim presidency, arguing Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate.
    “Russia has to get out,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, where he met with Guaido’s wife, Fabiana Rosales.
    The U.S. government believes the Russian troops include special forces and cybersecurity personnel.
    Asked how he would make Russian forces leave, Trump said: “We’ll see.    All options are open.”
    Russia has bilateral relations and agreements with Venezuela which it plans to honor, Russian Deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy said, in response to Trump’s comments.
    “It’s not up to US to decide actions and fate of other countries.    It’s only up to the people of Venezuela and its only legitimate president Nicolas Maduro,” Polyanskiy said on Twitter.
    Maduro, who retains control of state functions and the country’s military, has said Guaido is a puppet of the United States.
    Rosales, a 26-year-old journalist and opposition activist, told Trump that Guaido was attacked on Tuesday, though she did not provide details.
    “I fear for my husband’s life,” she said.    She was accompanied by the wife and sister of Roberto Marrero, Guaido’s chief of staff, who was arrested and detained last week.
    Earlier at the White House, Rosales met Vice President Mike Pence, and told him that power outages and food shortages were hurting children in her country.
    “They are trying to break our morale.    They want to submerge us in eternal darkness.    But let me tell you that there is light, and the light is here,” Rosales told Pence.
    She is slated to meet U.S. first lady Melania Trump in Palm Beach on Thursday on a swing through South Florida, home to the largest community of Venezuelan exiles in the United States.
    Rosales is also slated to meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and members of the Venezuelan diaspora at a prominent Washington think tank.
    Pence praised Rosales for being “courageous.”
    “Our message very simply is: We’re with you,” Pence said.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Steve Holland; additional reporting by Michelle Nichols in New York and Doina Chiacu and Makini Brice in Washington; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

3/27/2019 President Trump: GOP will have ‘far better’ health care plan than Obamacare by OAN Newsroom
    “We are going to be the Republicans, the Party of Great Health Care.” — President Trump
    President Trump is doubling down on his commitment to provide better health care for all Americans.    While speaking to reporters at the White House, the president said Obamacare is “terrible” and the Democrats have let Americans down.    He said he has already gotten rid of the individual mandate, which he described as the worst part of the health care law.
    “Obamacare doesn’t work, it’s too expensive, and you take a look at everything with deductibles — it’s a disaster, it’s disaster for our people, we’re not going to allow it to go,” he stated.
    The president went on to defend the Trump administration’s decision to stand behind a federal judge’s ruling to strike down all of Obamacare.    The Justice Department submitted a filing to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the case could go all way up to the Supreme Court.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Fabiana Rosales, a Venezuelan activist who is the wife of Venezuelan opposition
leader Juan Guaido, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, March 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    “And if the Supreme Court Rules that Obamacare is out, we’ll have a plan that is far-better than Obamacare,” said President Trump.
    The president has vowed to make the GOP the “Party of Health Care,” and is calling on all Republicans to revive the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.

3/27/2019 Prosecutor who dropped Smollett charges was Given $400K by George Soros by OAN Newsroom
    We’re now learning that the prosecutor who dropped all charges against actor Jussie Smollett received a massive donation from leftist billionaire George Soros.
His attorney is Patricia Brown Holmes

3/28/2019 Oil down $0.53 to$59.41, DOW down 32 to 25,626.

3/28/2019 Trump discusses China, ‘political fairness’ with Google CEO
FILE PHOTO: Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during a keynote address announcing Google's new cloud gaming service, Stadia,
at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said he met with the chief executive of Alphabet Inc’s Google on Wednesday and discussed “political fairness” and the company’s business in China.
    “He stated strongly that he is totally committed to the U.S. Military, not the Chinese Military,” Trump said on Twitter of his meeting with Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
    “Also discussed political fairness and various things that @Google can do for our Country.    Meeting ended very well!,” Trump
    Google also issued a statement on the meeting.
    “We were pleased to have productive conversations with the President about investing in the future of the American workforce, the growth of emerging technologies and our ongoing commitment to working with the U.S. government,” a Google spokesperson said in the statement.
    “We are not working with the Chinese military.    We are working with the U.S. government, including the Department of Defense, in many areas including cybersecurity, recruiting and healthcare,” the spokesperson said.
    The top U.S. general, Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate committee hearing earlier this month that the Chinese military was benefiting from the work Google was doing in China.
    The U.S. military said that Dunford met Pichai on Wednesday at the Pentagon at Google’s request.
    “General Dunford shared his concerns about U.S. tech firms working in China and the potential impact on the United States’ ability to maintain a competitive military advantage due to intellectual property being indirectly shared with the Chinese military,” Colonel Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said.
    Pichai has said Google has invested in China for years and plans to continue to do so.
    In a tweet last week, Trump accused social media platforms Facebook, Google’s YouTube and Twitter of favoring his Democratic opponents over him and his fellow Republicans and said he would look into the issue.
(Reporting by Eric Beech, David Shepardson and Idrees Ali; editing by Mohammad Zargham and Phil Berlowitz & Simon Cameron-Moore)

3/28/2019 U.S. border agents redeployed to handle migrant humanitarian needs by Julio-Cesar Chavez
FILE PHOTO: Migrants from Central America are seen escorted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
officials after crossing the border from Mexico to surrender to the officials in El Paso, Texas, U.S.,
in this pictured taken from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico December 3, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez/File Photo
    (Reuters) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will pull around 750 officers off ports of entry and redeploy them to process record numbers of migrant families entering the United States at the Mexico border, the head of the agency said on Wednesday.
    The agency is also redirecting service personnel and expanding food, transportation and medical contracts to meet migrants’ humanitarian needs while maintaining border security, CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said at a news conference in El Paso, Texas.
    “There will be impacts to traffic at the border.    There will be a slowdown in the processing of trade,” he said.
    March is on track for the highest number of monthly border crossings in over a decade, with more than 100,000 apprehensions and encounters of people deemed inadmissible at U.S. ports of entry, McAleenan said.
    Apprehensions and encounters of families were expected to reach over 55,000 people in March, McAleenan said, the highest level for any month on record, according to CBP data.
    In recent years, there has been a shift in border crossings from mainly single, adult Mexicans trying to evade capture to Central American families and unaccompanied minors turning themselves in to border agents to seek asylum.    Because of limits on how long children can be held in detention, most families are released to pursue their claims in U.S. immigration courts, a process that can take years.
    McAleenan said up to 40 percent of CBP personnel in sectors like El Paso were now working to care for migrants’ humanitarian needs.    Smugglers are using the distraction of large groups of asylum seekers to traffic drugs and migrants seeking to evade capture, he said.
    For the first time in over a decade, CBP is directly releasing migrants into the United States when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is unable to provide bed space to relieve overcrowding, McAleenan said.
    “We are doing everything we can to simply avoid a tragedy in a CBP facility,” said McAleenan.    “With these numbers, with the types of illnesses we’re seeing at the border, I fear that it’s just a matter of time.”
    Border Patrol agents on Monday located a two-year-old Honduran child near Quemado, Texas, who appeared to be suffering from seizures and convulsions.    The child was taken to the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio for more advanced care, the agency said in a statement.
    The hospital declined to comment on the child’s condition, due to patient privacy.    Border Patrol officials were not immediately available to comment.
    Two Guatemalan minors died while in U.S. Border Patrol custody in December.
    The president has taken aim at the asylum system and earlier this year began sending a small number of migrants back to Mexican border towns to wait out their U.S. hearings.
    As of March 26, around 370 migrants had been returned to Mexico under the program, according to a Mexican immigration official.
(Reporting by Julio-Cesar Chavez in San Antonio; Additional reporting by Andrew Hay in New Mexico and Lizbeth Diaz in Mexico City; Editing by Mica Rosenberg, Leslie Adler and Rosalba O’Brien)

3/28/2019 House intelligence representatives call for chairman Schiff’s resignation by OAN Newsroom
    The Republican call was unanimous in an open hearing Thursday, when all nine of the Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee urged Democrat chairman Adam Schiff to step down.    He is accused of being at the center of a well-orchestrated media campaign against the president.
    Schiff introduced the hearing as an examination on how the Kremlin uses financial leverage and corruption as tools of intelligence operations and foreign policy.    He initially turned the hearing over to opening comments from ranking member Devin Nunes, who wasted no time in pointing out Republicans’ previous efforts to address Russia.
    Nunes said committee Republicans during the Obama administration warned both privately and publicly more resources and better intelligence were needed to counter Kremlin threats to national security.
    “Our advice, however was not heeded — the Obama administration’s approach to Russia was characterized by misspelled ‘reset’ buttons,” he stated.    “Direct promises of more flexibility after Obama’s reelection, the scrapping of our missile defense plans in Poland and the Czech Republic at Russia’s behest, and the ridicule of then-candidate Mitt Romney for identifying Russia as our primary geopolitical foe.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., pushes ahead with their oversight of the Trump administration
at a hearing to examine “Putin’s Playbook,” how the Russian government works to undermine
its adversaries, especially the U.S., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 28, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    In a letter read by Congressman Michael Conaway prior to the hearing, Republican’s accused Schiff of claiming the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government.    They said his public statements implied knowledge of classified facts at the same time anonymous leaks were appearing in the media.
    The letter goes on to say that despite the findings in the Mueller report, Schiff continued to proclaim to the media there is “significant evidence of collusion.”
    “Your actions both past and present are incompatible with your duty as Chairman of this Committee, which alone in the House of Representatives has the obligation and authority to provide effective oversight of the U.S. intelligence community,” Conaway stated.    We have no faith in your ability to discharge your duties in a manner consistent with your Constitutional responsibility, and urge your immediate resignation as Chairman of this Committee.”
    Schiff was quick to fire back at the letter, pointing out instances in which Russian operatives offered information on then-candidate Hillary Clinton and attempts by Russian agents to hack into Clinton’s email server.
    “You might say that’s all okay, you might say that’s just what you need to do to win, but I don’t think it’s okay,” said Schiff.    “I think it’s immoral, I think it’s unethical, I think it’s unpatriotic, and yes, I think it’s corrupt.”
    One America’s John Hines was able to catch up with Utah Congressman Chris Stewart, who acknowledged signing the letter and echoed the lack of faith the committee has in its leader.
    “Mr. Schiff has been making claims and accusations against not just this president, but against his family and against other innocent people that we now know have been demonstrably proven as innocent,” said Stewart.    “And some of those claims are entirely unfounded and unfair, and I just think he’s lost the credibility of members of his own committee.”
    The House Intelligence Committee has demanded a release of the full Mueller report by April 2, 2019.
[Pencil-neck Schiff as Trump called him has no evidence against Trump and is getting desperate and will have to create a crime now, which he is low enough to do that].

3/28/2019 Smollett’s attorney claims alleged attackers could have been in ‘white face’ by OAN Newsroom
    There is another bizarre twist in the Jussie Smollett case as the actor’s attorney claims the two Nigerian brothers, who said they were paid by the actor to attack him, may have been dressed in white face.
    During an interview Thursday, defense attorney Tina Glandian claimed her client only saw one of his alleged attackers because the other one was wearing a ski mask.    Gladian admitted Smollett told police he was attacked by two white men, but suggested one of his alleged attackers could have had their face painted white.
Actor Jussie Smollet, right, stands with his attorney Tina Glandian before Cook County Circuit Court Judge Steven Watkins
at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, Thursday, March 14, 2019 in Chicago. (E. Jason Wambsgans/ Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)
    Smollett’s attorney went on to say she believes her client has been victimized throughout this entire process and claimed he is innocent.
    Meanwhile, President Trump sounded off on the case after prosecutors decided to drop state charges against the “Empire” actor despite compelling criminal evidence.    The president took to Twitter Thursday to announce the Department of Justice and FBI will review the “outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago.”    The president called the case “an embarrassment to our nation.”
    Trump tweet: “FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. It is an embarrassment to our Nation!
    This comes after Smollett was cleared of 16 felony charges for allegedly staging a hate crime attack on himself.
    Evidence of why the charges were dropped in the case is also expected to remain sealed.
[He paid them a $3,500 check to attack him and they will be prosecuted and he goes free, a real slime bag.].

3/28/2019 Federal prosecutors: Michael Avenatti avoided paying taxes for a decade by OAN Newsroom
    IRS records indicate embattled lawyer Michael Avenatti was able to live a life of luxury, because he avoided paying his taxes for over a decade.
    According to those records, Avenatti allegedly avoided paying taxes and used his company to pay for personal expenses.
Attorney Michael Avenatti leaves Federal Court after his initial appearance in an
extortion case Monday, March 25, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)
    He is now facing federal indictments in both New York and California.
    Tax documents revealed he earned nearly two million dollars in personal income back in 2009 yet never paid the $570,000 he owed in taxes.
    He also allegedly has not filed his personal income tax returns since 2010.
    This comes as he faces nearly 100-years in prison stemming from charges in two separate cases.

3/28/2019 President Trump: Russia would much rather have Hillary Clinton in White House by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump said the Russians would much rather have Hillary Clinton sitting in the Oval Office than him.    In his first interview since the release of the Mueller report’s findings, the president explained that if the Russians ever had anything on him — “it would have come out long ago.”
    President Trump also reiterated his tough stance on Moscow, pointing to the U.S. knocking the country from its place as a global leader in oil production.    He said under a Hillary Clinton presidency there would be no competition with Russia, because the U.S. would not be allowed to drill for oil.
In this March 20, 2019, photo, President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before
leaving the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    The president has touted his track record with Russia long before the collusion narrative unraveled.
    “We’ve become a nation that is exporting energy for the first time, we’re exporting energy,” he stated.    “They’re probably saying in Russia, you know, if we did like this guy, we’ve made a big mistake, we’d rather have crooked Hillary Clinton…I think they would much rather have Hillary, but getting along with other countries — and you’re talking nuclear powers, in all fairness — getting along is a nice thing, its a smart thing.”
    President Trump also said he has plans to release and declassify the FISA warrants used to spy on his campaign in 2016.    However, he said his lawyers have cautioned him against releasing the material too early.

3/28/2019 President Trump threatens to close southern border, slams Mexico, Democrats by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump is threatening to close the southern border as his administration continues building the wall after the failed house override vote of his national emergency.
    In a tweet Thursday, the president slammed Mexico for “doing nothing to help stop the flow of illegal immigrants coming to our country.”    He then blasted Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador for taking money “for years,” and also doing nothing to help.
    Trump tweet: “Mexico is doing NOTHING to help stop the flow of illegal immigrants to our Country.    They are all talk and no action.    Likewise, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have taken our money for years, and do Nothing.    The Dems don’t care, such BAD laws.    May close the Southern Border!
    He ended with tweet, saying “the Dems don’t care” and hinting he may close the southern border.
    On Tuesday, House Democrats failed to to block his veto of a disapproval resolution of his national emergency, allowing funds to be reprogrammed to build the wall.
    Trump tweet: “Thank you to the House Republicans for sticking together and the BIG WIN today on the Border. Today’s vote simply reaffirms Congressional Democrats are the party of Open Borders, Drugs and Crime!
FILE – In this March 11, 2019 photo, construction crews replace a section of the primary wall separating
San Diego, above right, and Tijuana, Mexico, below left, seen from Tijuana, Mexico. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

3/28/2019 CBP: Border crisis getting worse by OAN Newsroom
    According to Border Patrol Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border is getting worse.
    While speaking in El Paso, Texas Wednesday, McAleenan said the number of migrant apprehensions has greatly increased in the past few weeks and they’re running out of space to hold detainees.
    Meanwhile, Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grand Valley have called for a change in U.S. immigration laws to streamline deportations.
Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, center, announced that the Trump administration
will temporarily reassign several hundred border inspectors during a news conference at the border in El Paso, Texas,
Wednesday, March 27, 2019. McAleenan said the reassignment of 750 border inspectors would mean longer waits at crossings as the
busy Easter holiday nears, but that it was necessary to address what he called “an operational crisis.” (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)
    “CBP is facing unprecedented humanitarian and border security crisis all along our southwest border,” stated McAleenan.    “On Monday and Tuesday, CBP started the day with over 12,000 migrants in our custody — as of this morning (Wednesday, March 27, 2019), that number was 13,400.”
    The commissioner said Border Patrol is “at pace'” to detain 100,000 migrants by the end of this month.

3/28/2019 Venezuela’s Guaido barred from public office for 15 years by Vivian Sequera and Luc Cohen
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognized as the country's rightful
interim ruler, speaks during a meeting regarding the condition of the water and electricity systems in
Caracas, Venezuela, Venezuela, March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
    CARACAS (Reuters) – The Venezuelan government said opposition leader Juan Guaido would be barred from public office for 15 years on Thursday, as it seeks to crack down on the U.S.-backed rival to President Nicolas Maduro.
    Guaido has called for fresh protests on Saturday against Maduro, following a blackout this week that left the country without power for days.
    Cities across Venezuela recovered electricity on Thursday after the blackout, the second major one in less than a month.    Maduro on Wednesday night blamed the outage on a “terrorist attack” on the Guri hydroelectric facility that provides electricity to most of the country.
    Guaido, the leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, has challenged Maduro and his socialist party for power.    He invoked the country’s constitution to assume the interim presidency in January, arguing Maduro’s May 2018 re-election was illegitimate.
    Most South American and Western nations have recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s rightful leader, while Maduro calls Guaido a puppet of the United States attempting to oust him in a coup.
    In February, Venezuela’s state comptroller, Elvis Amoroso, launched an audit of Guaido for allegedly lying on his personal financial disclosures and receiving funds from unauthorized sources.
    In a Thursday state television address, Amoroso said Guaido had not explained the source of funds he used to pay for foreign trips he took since joining the assembly.
    Amoroso said his office had decided to bar Guaido from public office for up to 15 years, the maximum for public servants who commit irregularities.
    At a rally, Guaido questioned the validity of Amoroso’s role.
    “The only body that can appoint a comptroller is the legitimate parliament,” he said.
    To deal with the power outages, Maduro has announced a plan of “load management” for the coming days, without providing details.    Generally, load management refers to the process of balancing the supply of electricity on a network with the electrical load.
    After blaming a “cyberattack” by the United States for the first outage, Maduro said this week’s blackout was caused by a gunman linked to the “perverse, diabolical right-wing” who fired on Guri.
    But local electricity experts, as well as government critics allied with Guaido, said the outages were due to years of underinvestment and lack of maintenance as Venezuela’s economy spiraled into a hyperinflationary collapse.
    “I do not think there has been any sabotage,” said Yolimar Arellano, a 43-year-old office worker in Caracas, who said he had electricity at his home, but still no water.    He took three buses to get to his job because the subway was not working.
    “They have spent years stealing money and not doing maintenance.”
    The blackout came less than two weeks after electricity returned to most of the country following an outage that began on March 7 and lasted as long as six days in some cities.    That blackout was the longest and most widespread incident of its kind in a country that has grown accustomed to unreliable public services.
    Since the second outage hit on Monday, three people died in public hospitals due to a lack of electricity, according to Julio Castro, a doctor and member of the “Doctors for Health” nongovernmental organization.
    The blackout also halted operations at the Jose terminal, the main port for the country’s crucial oil exports.
(Reporting by Vivian Sequera, Luc Cohen and Diego Ore in Caracas; Additional reporting by Mircely Guanipa in Punto Fijo, Anggy Polanco in San Cristobal, Tibisay Romero in Valencia and Francisco Aguilar in Barinas; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Rosalba O’Brien)

3/29/2019 At rally, Trump says Russia probe backers tried to steal power illegally by Jeff Mason
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S., March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Reuters) – At his first political rally since the end of the Russia collusion probe, President Donald Trump on Thursday accused backers of the investigation of trying to overturn the 2016 election and attempting “illegally” to claim power.
    Declaring the country “hurt” by the probe, Trump called his opponents “losers” and celebrated the fact the investigation had come to a close.
    “After three years of lies and smears and slander, the Russia hoax is finally dead.    The collusion delusion is over,” he told a crowd of thousands at a Grand Rapids arena.
    “The Russia witch hunt was a plan by those who lost the election to try and illegally regain power by framing innocent Americans – many of them, they suffered – with an elaborate hoax,” he said.
    On Sunday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr released a summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s more than 300-page report about his investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election.    The investigation did not establish that members of Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia during the election.
    The findings delighted the president and his inner circle, who spent the first two years of his administration confronting a cloud of suspicion over how the New York businessman and political novice won the White House.
    With that cloud largely lifted, Trump has let loose, calling out those who supported the investigation and referring to evil acts of treason by his opponents.
    Trump revisited that theme at the rally, knocking the media and Democrats and calling for accountability.
    “These are sick people and there has to be accountability because it’s all lies and they know it’s lies,” Trump said.
    For the president, the rally capped off a week of rejoicing in the results of the investigation he had repeatedly called a “witch hunt,” and stewing over its origins.
    Advisers to Trump, who is not known to let go of grudges easily, have debated the merits of going after the president’s opponents and those he blames for sparking the investigation versus claiming a win, moving on and using the momentum of good news to bolster his bid for re-election.
    In the packed, noisy arena in Michigan, a political swing state that Trump wants to win again in 2020, the view of the crowd was clear.
    Thousands of supporters, many of them wearing red “Make America Great Again” hats, cheered as the president railed at his opponents.
    But they seemed as eager to cheer him over policy issues, applauding loudly when he assured them he was building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico and promised to secure the border.
    The industrial state along with Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, helped propel Trump, a Republican, to his improbable victory in 2016.
    The crowd’s enthusiasm underscored the risks to Trump of going too far expounding on his chagrin over the Mueller probe.    Some advisers feel his best bet is to focus on the strong economy and success in enacting administration priorities like the tax overhaul.
    Mueller left unresolved in his report the question of whether Trump committed obstruction of justice by impeding the Russia investigation.    In his letter to Congress, Barr said he and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, determined there was insufficient evidence to establish that the president committed obstruction of justice.
    Democrats were not satisfied with Barr’s determination and have demanded to see the report in full. Some Republicans, including Trump himself, have also voiced support for releasing it.
    Trump faces other investigations into his personal and business affairs from Democratic lawmakers, who now control the U.S. House of Representatives.
    But Democrats also risk alienating voters weary of the Russian probe. Trump told the rally his opponents now had to decide whether to keep up their “partisan investigations” or apologize to Americans and focus on issues like infrastructure and healthcare.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Additional reporting by Mohammad Zargham, Eric Beech and Steve Holland in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney)

3/29/2019 Oil down $0.11 to $59.30, DOW up 92 to 25,717.

3/29/2019 Court lets gun bump stock ban take effect by Richard Wolf, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court refused Thursday to upend President Donald Trump’s ban on bump stocks, a device that allows rifles to mimic automatic weapons.
    The ban prohibits owning, buying, selling or “otherwise transferring” bump stocks.
    It went into effect Tuesday, but gun rights groups asked the court to halt it while federal appeals courts review the policy.
    Chief Justice John Roberts turned down one such effort that day.    The second was referred to the full court by Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, but it was denied without any public dissent.
    The devices were used in the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 people and injured 851 others.    It remains the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
    In February 2018, Trump instructed the attorney general to regulate their use and in December, Justice Department officials issued the ban, giving owners 90 days to either turn bump stocks over to federal agents or melt, shred or crush them.
    Bump stocks combine a modified stock and a firearm, that together function like a machine gun.    The bump stock harnesses recoil to accelerate trigger pulls, “bumping” the trigger for each shot after the weapon bounces off the shooter’s shoulder.
[I think president Trump helped with this to see what Americans want.    I disagree in that this is a violation of the Second Amendment since we have the right to possess a tank or a jet airplane if we need to defend ourselves.    Look at Venezuela in a socialist society had no weapons to defend themselves from tyranny and that is why we have that right, and if the Democrats get into office and push their Socialist agenda we will need them.]

3/29/2019 House votes to condemn Trump’s transgender military ban
    WASHINGTON – The House delivered a rebuke to President Donald Trump on Thursday by voting to condemn his administration’s move to restrict transgender people from the military. A nonbinding resolution opposing Trump’s ban passed 238-185.
    Every Democrat supported the resolution, while nearly every Republican voted against it. Five Republicans broke ranks and voted in favor: Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana, Will Hurd of Texas, and John Katko and Tom Reed of New York.

3/29/2019 Macron looks to build ‘Green front’ ahead of EU elections by Michel Rose
FILE PHOTO: Pascal Canfin, head of WWF France, attends the French employer's body MEDEF union summer forum on the campus of the
HEC School of Management in Jouy-en-Josas, near Paris, France, August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo
    PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron has set his sights on the green vote in May’s European elections, aiming to tap into deepening environmental concerns to build as broad a coalition as possible in the EU parliament and increase his party’s influence.
    On Wednesday, the French leader’s party announced its list of candidates for the May 26 vote, surprising rivals with the presence of a long-time member of the Green party, Pascal Canfin, in second place.
    It was a signal that Macron hopes to capitalize on the renewed surge in environmental activism, especially among the young, evidenced by the success of Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg’s “school strike for climate.”
    After the electoral successes of Green parties in Bavaria, Luxembourg and Belgium in recent months, Macron is keen to ensure France’s greens, who usually do better in European elections than national ones, don’t steal a march on his party.
    But beyond the purely domestic appeal to environmentally conscious voters, the 41-year-old president is also betting that green names on his list will convince other Green parties in Europe to join a future coalition in Strasbourg.
    That coalition — which Macron aims to build with like-minded centrist or “progressive” parties — will be critical in determining whether Macron gains influence in Brussels and ends up at the forefront of shaping legislation and filing key jobs, such as the next European Commission president.
    Canfin, a former European lawmaker and minister for development who headed conservation group WWF’s French operation until he was poached by Macron, did not waste time spelling out the goal he has been tasked with.
    “We’ll champion a coalition deal and clearly we’ll offer the European Greens the opportunity to join,” he told French radio this week.
    Macron has confused many in Brussels with his reluctance to agree to join the liberal-centrist family in the European parliament, known as ALDE, which would seem his natural home.
    Partly that is because the word “liberal” in France has long held negative associations with Anglo Saxon-style free market economics, which French officials have mentioned as a branding problem.    But the main reason is Macron’s desire to build a broader church, one that, as well as the Greens, might pull in centrist MEPs from the two main groups, the centre-right EPP and the centre-left S&D.
    Such a coalition, in which Macron’s potential 20-24 MEPs would likely be the biggest contingent, could put the French leader in the position of kingmaker, since polls show the EPP and the Socialists are both unlikely to win a majority.
    The biggest prize Macron is hoping to win is Germany’s Greens. Because of the size of the German contingent – the Gruenen currently have 13 MEPs but are likely to increase that number in the election – that could help Macron beef up the ranks of his ‘progressive’ grouping.
    Macron’s campaign director, Stéphane Séjourné, named the German Greens in an interview with Reuters last October as one of the parties he was hoping to partner with.
    Macron’s call to “make our planet great again” in 2017, and his self-endorsed role as defender of the Paris climate accord, have burnished his green credentials, Séjourné said.
    “We’ve put a lot of political capital into European climate diplomacy,” he told Reuters.    “This is how we’re identified abroad, the president is identified as a climate leader.”
    Séjourné said Germany’s Greens, who are accustomed to the demands of coalition compromises, would be a better fit for Macron’s En Marche than France’s Greens, who are to the left.
    But it remains to be seen whether the Gruenen would shake hands with Macron, whose high-profile environment minister quit on him last August, criticizing the former investment banker’s pro-nuclear policies in particular.
    In a party that was founded on anti-nuclearism, some German Greens openly express scepticism about the sincerity of Macron’s environmental outreach.
    Reinhard Buetikofer, a Gruene European lawmaker and co-chair of the European Green Party, tweeted that Macron was giving his En Marche party an environmental makeover out of simple fear of losing votes to the French Greens.
    But a source in the party says the German Greens are divided over Macron.    “There are ones that put his pro-Europeanism first and his slight greenness second and therefore are favorable to collaboration with him,” the source said.
    “On the other side there are people who see his right-wing economic policies and see him getting cozy with the Greens as ‘greenwashing’ and they don’t really believe it.”
    Jon Worth, a German green party member and EU blogger, says the fact party members shape what the party does makes it unlikely they would agree to join Macron’s ranks, especially considering the profile of candidates put forward this time.
    “Many of them are quite independent-minded, quite left-wing people,” he said.    “I can’t see many Macron-favourable people there on the list.”
(Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Luke Baker and Peter Graff)

3/29/2019 President Trump responds to 50% approval rating, promises to keep working hard by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump recently took a moment to thank Americans for their support of his job performance.    In a tweet Thursday, the president said he will continue to work hard as a Rasmussen poll now shows his approval rating is at 50-percent.    This rating is three-points higher than Barack Obama had during the same point of his first term.
    President Trump’s approval rating is expected to climb even higher as a separate Harris Poll found 24-percent of voters are now more likely to support him, following the conclusion of the Mueller probe.
    Meanwhile, Democrats appear to be lacking support from voters as they push for more investigations into the president and his administration.
    According to a Rasmussen poll released Thursday, 61-percent of all likely voters believe it is time for the party to move on now that the special counsel has finished the Russia investigation.    Only 31-percent of likely voters sided with congressional Democrats.
    Over a thousand people took part in the survey, which was conducted the day after Attorney General William Barr released his summary of the Mueller report.
President Donald Trump arrives for a rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., Thursday, March 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

3/29/2019 Border Patrol forced to release illegal immigrant families due to lack of resources by OAN Newsroom
    As another migrant caravan makes the dangerous trek to the U.S. southern border, immigration authorities are sounding the alarm over the rising number of border apprehensions.
    According to Border Patrol, agents are being forced to release detained migrant families due to a lack of resources and overcrowded detention centers.
Central American migrants, part of the caravan hoping to reach the U.S. border, move on a road in
Tapachula, Chiapas State, Mexico, Thursday, March 28, 2019. A caravan of about 2,500 Central Americans and Cubans is
currently making its way through Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas. (AP Photo/Isabel Mateos)
    Agents are still doing medical screenings and criminal checks, but the decision means thousands of families will be released without first going through U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement.    This agency is suppose to manage their deportation cases.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t see a report from the field that talks about somebody with an active warrant of arrest.        Whether it’s from this country or from other countries. We had a recent individual from Ecuador.    He had an outstanding warrant out for arrest of murder in Spain.” — Rodolfo Karisch, Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Chief.
    Border agents are on track to make roughly 100,000 apprehensions at the southern border this month.    This comes as Mexico has warned of a 20,000 person caravan making its way to the U.S. southern border.    It has been deemed as “the mother of all caravans.”

3/29/2019 Illegal alien charged in connection with death of Okla. mother by OAN Newsroom
    Authorities in Oklahoma are cooperating with ICE as they investigate the fatal shooting of a mother of one in the state.
    Canadian County Jail recently approved an ICE detainer for 33-year-old Ramon Ontiveros, who is currently being held on a first-degree murder charge.    The Mexican national reportedly admitted to authorities that he is responsible for firing the gun that killed 28-year-old Paige Gomer.
    The shooting took place on a highway last week outside Oklahoma City, but police have yet to release a possible motive for the crime.
33-year-old Ramon Ontiveros (left); 28-year-old Paige Gomer (right). (Photos/handout/Canadian County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook)
    The victim’s family and friends are now saying they want justice for Gomer as well as her four-year-old daughter.     “We were supposed to meet up and just kind of catch up on old times, and I could never find the time –it just shows you live each day like it is the last,” said Sosha Christmas, a friend of victim.    “I just hope that he never gets out, I hope he never gets to see freedom again.”
    The Canadian County Sheriff’s Office said, “it is still actively involved in this investigation, where an American citizen died at the hands of an illegal alien.”

3/29/2019 McConnell wants to go nuclear to stop obstruction of President Trump’s nominees by OAN Newsroom
    Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell is inching closer to using the nuclear option to stop Democrat obstruction to the president’s nominees.
    On Thursday, McConnell floated a resolution that would limit debate time on the president’s nominees from 30 hours to two hours.    The change would only effect executive and judicial nominees, and would not effect cabinet or Supreme Court picks.
    Senate Democrats are poised to block the resolution, but McConnell reportedly hopes to use the nuclear option to bypass them.
FILE – In this March 5, 2019, file photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks at the Capitol in Washington. Senate Republicans
frustrated at Democratic stalling tactics on President Donald Trump’s appointments are taking steps to change Senate
rules to significantly shorten debate time on most nominees. McConnell said he’s making the move in response to “unprecedented obstruction”
by Democrats, which have required Republicans to hold time-consuming procedural votes on 128 of Trump’s nominees. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
    In a recent speech on the Senate floor, McConnell blasted what he called a wave of “unprecedented obstruction” from the left.
    “The systematic, across the board delay and obstruction that have crippled this administration’s nominations is unique in American history…but the past two years have been the first time…the first time ever that the unhappy party has used Senate procedure to systematically blockade the new president’s nominees, and prevent him from even staffing up his administration,” explained the Senate majority leader.
    Under current rules, Republicans need 60 votes to pass the proposal, but if the nuclear option is invoked the GOP could pass it with a simple majority of 51 votes.

3/29/2019 Guaido: Maduro paying for Russian military presence with gold by OAN Newsroom
    Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is facing accusations he is buying support from Russia.    Self-proclaimed interim President Juan Guaido launched the accusation on Thursday, while speaking to a crowd of supporters.
    According to Guaido, Maduro is paying Russian troops in gold for their presence in the country.    He said Maduro is trying to rally support from his diminishing allies in the Venezuelan military by boasting about his international support from Russia.
Venezuela’s self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido sings the national anthem at a meeting with electricity experts in Caracas,
Venezuela, Thursday, March 28, 2019. The Venezuelan government on Thursday said it has barred Guaido from holding public office for 15
years, though the National Assembly leader responded soon afterward that he would continue his campaign to oust President Nicolas Maduro. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
    “Russia’s military presence is to make that small group of troops who still support Maduro believe, and I’ll repeat it again so that it’s clear — ‘Look, look, we have the support of the Russians!’ — that’s a lie!” said Guaido.    “They had to pay ahead, because they have a reputation for not paying.”
    Russia has since responded to the accusation by saying their presence in Venezuela is not political.
    The Kremlin claimed it has military specialists in the country to serve out a preexisting weapons agreement with the Maduro regime.

3/29/2019 U.S. Attorney General to release redacted Mueller report to public by mid-April by Sarah N. Lynch
FILE PHOTO - U.S. Attorney General William Barr leaves his house after Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion
between U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 election in McClean, Virginia, U.S., March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General William Barr plans to make public a redacted copy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s nearly 400-page investigative report into Russian interference in the 2016 election by mid-April, “if not sooner,” he said in a letter to lawmakers on Friday.
    “Everyone will soon be able to read it on their own,” Barr wrote in the letter to the top Democrats and Republicans on the Senate and House Judiciary committees.
    He said he is willing to appear before both committees to testify about Mueller’s report on May 1 and May 2.
    Mueller completed his 22-month investigation into whether President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia on March 22.
    On Sunday, Barr sent a four-page letter to Congress that outlined Mueller’s main findings.    Barr told lawmakers that Mueller’s investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired with Russia in its election interference activities.
    Mueller left unresolved the question of whether Trump obstructed justice during the investigation.    Barr said that based on the evidence presented, he concluded it was not sufficient to charge the president with obstruction.
    He said his letter on Sunday “i>was not, and did not purport to be an exhaustive recounting” of Mueller’s investigation and said he believed the public should be allowed to read it and judge for themselves.
    “I do not believe it would be in the public’s interest for me to attempt to summarize the full report or release it in serial or piecemeal fashion,” he wrote.
    Lawmakers have since been clamoring for more details, with Democrats calling for a full release of the report and some lawmakers urging a deadline of April 2.
    In a statement on Friday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said the April 2 deadline he imposed on the Justice Department “still stands” and he urged the release of a “full and complete” report without redactions.
    The top Republican on the committee, Doug Collins, said on Twitter that Barr was “following his word” by pledging to release the report and chided Nadler for setting an arbitrary deadline.
    Barr said in his letter on Friday that certain information must be redacted before the report is released, including secret grand jury information, intelligence sources and methods and information that by law cannot be public or might infringe on privacy.
    Nadler rejected that notion, saying Barr must “work with us to request a court order to release any and all grand jury information to the House Judiciary Committee.”
    The federal rules of criminal procedure make it a crime for government officials to publicly divulge sensitive grand jury materials such as transcripts, unless a federal judge signs off first.
    Barr said on Friday that although Trump also has the right to assert executive privilege on some materials in the report to keep them from being made public, Trump has said publicly he intends to defer to Barr.
    Because of that, Barr added, there were no plans for the Justice Department to submit the report to the White House for a privilege review.
    Jay Sekulow, a personal lawyer for Trump, deferred to the White House for comment.    The White House declined to comment.
    Speaking at a news conference on Friday afternoon in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump said he “had a lot of confidence” in Barr.
    At a rally on Thursday in Michigan, Trump had celebrated the end of the investigation and what he called “lies and smears and slander.”
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; additional reporting by Steve Holland, David Morgan and Karen Freifeld; Editing by Bill Trott and Rosalba O’Brien)
[As Trump said its time to stop the "BULLS**T" and start looking at the reality, and NADLER you better pray to GOD that you are not found to be part of the upcoming future of the Clinton-Obama-NSA-DOJ-FBI corruption investigation, and put a leash on Little Pencil-Neck Schiff before he continues with false accusations for two years with no proof, and Nancy Pelosi you can sit on that Gavel to get some kind of pleasure as your Liberal Socialist so far to the Left that your party will fall apart due to attacking each other.].

3/29/2019 Exclusive: Trump eyeing stepped-up Venezuela sanctions for foreign companies – Bolton by Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton
FILE PHOTO - White House national security adviser John Bolton attends a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Fabiana Rosales,
wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 27, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump is considering imposing sanctions on companies from other countries that do business with Venezuela to cut off revenues to President Nicolas Maduro, Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton told Reuters TV on Friday.
    “We’re moving exactly in that direction,” Bolton said when asked whether Trump would consider what are known as “secondary sanctions.”
    “We are even now looking at a series of additional steps we could take,” Bolton said in the interview.
    The United States and most other Western countries have thrown their backing behind Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who invoked the constitution in January to declare himself interim president, arguing that Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate.
    Oil provides 90 percent of export revenue for OPEC member Venezuela.    The United States imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA in January, preventing U.S. companies from dealing with it unless revenues went to a fund available to Guaido.
    The Trump administration has not yet slapped sanctions on companies from other countries that do business with PDVSA – but U.S. officials have been having “conversations” with oil trading houses and governments around the world to convince them to scale down their dealings with Maduro, Trump’s Venezuela envoy Elliott Abrams said earlier on Friday.
    Russia and China support Maduro, who has said Guaido is a puppet of Washington.    Maduro retains control of state functions and the loyalty of the country’s military.
    Bolton said he was not concerned that the push to oust Maduro was losing momentum.     “I can tell you there’s a lot going on beneath the surface.    The opposition is in constant contact with large numbers of admirals and other supporters within the Maduro administration,” Bolton said.
    “It’s a struggle against an authoritarian government and it’s obviously going to take some time,” he said.
    Trump is looking at options – including sanctions – to respond to Russia’s growing military presence in Venezuela, Bolton said.    Two Russian air force planes carrying nearly 100 military personnel landed outside Caracas on Saturday.
    “We’re not afraid to use the phrase ‘Monroe Doctrine’ in this administration,” Bolton said, referring to the 1823 policy established by then-President James Monroe, widely seen in Latin America as a justification for U.S. armed intervention in the region.
    “And one of the purposes of the Monroe Doctrine was to prevent foreign interference and even recolonization,” Bolton said.
    “If you look at the presence of Cuban and Russian forces in Venezuela, you have to ask when will the people of Venezuela get to choose their government rather than foreigners?” he said.
    Venezuela’s economic crisis, which has caused shortages of food and medicine, has pushed millions of people to flee the country.
    Trump is considering granting temporary protection from deportation to the more than 70,000 Venezuelans believed to be in the United States, but wants to focus first on ensuring there is a transition in the government of the country, Bolton said.
    “We want to be sure that people are not put back into a difficult position if they’re opponents of the Maduro regime.    On the other hand, there are many families of Maduro regime supporters in this country that wanted out of Venezuela to be safe,” Bolton said.
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Tom Brown)

3/29/2019 Trump threatens to close U.S.-Mexico border to trade because of immigrant surge by Yeganeh Torbati and Jeff Mason
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S., March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
    WASHINGTON/LAKE OKEECHOBEE, Fla. (Reuters) – President Donald Trump threatened on Friday to close the U.S. border with Mexico next week, potentially disrupting millions of legal border crossings and billions of dollars in trade if Mexico does not stop immigrants from reaching the United States.
    “We’ll keep it closed for a long time.    I’m not playing games.    Mexico has to stop it,” Trump said on a visit to Florida.    Asked if he would close the Mexican border to all trade, Trump told reporters: “It could be to all trade.”
    Trump has repeatedly vowed to close the U.S. border with Mexico during his two years in office and has not followed through.    But this time the government is struggling to deal with a surge of asylum seekers from countries in Central America who travel through Mexico.
    Department of Homeland Security officials warned that traffic with Mexico could slow as the agency shifts 750 border personnel from ports of entry to help process asylum seekers who are turning up between official crossing points.
    “Make no mistake: Americans may feel effects from this emergency,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement.    Nielsen said the personnel shift would lead to commercial delays and longer wait times at crossing points.
    Nielsen and other U.S. officials say border patrol officers have been overwhelmed by a dramatic increase in asylum seekers, many of them children and families, fleeing violence and economic hardship in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
    March is on track for 100,000 border apprehensions, the highest monthly number in more than a decade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said on Wednesday.    Some 90,000 will be able to remain in the United States while their asylum claims are processed, he said.
    Mexico played down the possibility of a border shutdown.
    “Mexico does not act on the basis of threats.    We are a great neighbor,” Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Twitter.
    It is not clear how shutting down ports of entry would deter asylum seekers, as they are legally able to request help as soon as they set foot on U.S. soil.
    But a border shutdown would disrupt tourism and commerce between the United States and its third-largest trade partner, which totaled $612 billion last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
    “We’d be looking at losses worth billions of dollars,” said Kurt Honold, head of CCE, a business group in Tijuana, Mexico, in response to Trump’s threat.    “It’s obvious he’s not measuring what he says.”
    U.S. ports of entry recorded 193 million pedestrian and vehicle-passenger crossings last year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
    As president, Trump has legal authority to close particular ports of entry, but he could be open to a legal challenge if he decided to close all of them immediately, said Stephen Legomsky, a former chief counsel at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under Democratic President Barack Obama.
    Trump is trying to convince Congress to sign off on a revised trade agreement with Mexico and Canada that his administration negotiated last year.
    “Mexico has for many years made a fortune off of the U.S., far greater than Border Costs.    If Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States throug our Southern Border, I will be CLOSING the Border, or large sections of the Border, next week,” he said on Twitter.
    Trump launched his presidential bid in June 2015 with a promise to crack down on illegal immigration, saying Mexico was sending rapists and drug runners into the United States.
    Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday that tackling illegal immigration is an issue chiefly for the United States and the Central American countries to address.
    Trump has so far been unable to convince Congress to tighten asylum laws or fund a proposed border wall, one of his signature policies.    Trump has declared a national emergency to justify redirecting money earmarked for the military to pay for its construction.
(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and Jeff Mason; Additional reporting by David Alexander, Anthony Esposito, Lizbeth Diaz and Andy Sullivan; Writing by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Grant McCool)

3/29/2019 Centre-right to top European Parliament vote, edging out nationalists: poll by Alissa de Carbonnel
The protocol entrance of the European Parliament is seen at the European Parliament
in Strasbourg, France, March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The centre right is set to remain the biggest political group in the European Parliament according to the assembly’s latest forecast of results from the upcoming elections, despite gains by eurosceptic nationalist parties.
    The projection published on Friday shows the EU legislature’s two biggest parties – the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Socialists – losing less seats compared to polls earlier this year in the May 26 ballot.
    The parliament’s leaders say they are the heart of European democracy, elected in polls in each of the bloc’s member states.
    Although EU national governments wield more power in the bloc’s Brussels headquarters, EU lawmakers get a say in shaping new EU rules via a negotiated process with member states.
    The survey – excluding Britain, which is due to leave the bloc – confirmed earlier predictions showing far-right nationalist parties claiming more seats, with that of Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini making some big gains.
    The strengthening of nationalist sentiment, with liberals losing ground, foreshadows greater uncertainty in policy making as the largest groupings see their share of seats fall below 50 percent, which may force them to seek a broader coalition.
    The EPP is projected to win seven more seats compared to a previous forecast – although it will see its overall share of the 705-seat assembly drop from 29 to 27 percent.
    Socialists, the second ranking grouping in the Strasbourg parliament, would also increase their seats to 20 percent of the total from the past projection of 19 percent, but remain down from 25 percent in the current legislature.
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat (CDU) party is expected to remain the largest national party in the next legislature, holding 33 of the EPP’s forecast 188 seats.
    But the CDU is polling only just ahead of Salvini’s anti-immigrant League, which is forecast to hold 27 seats.
    The League’s advances – along with a projected increase in seats for Marine Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National – could help boost the Europe of Nations and Freedom group to which they belong to 61 from 37 today.
    General dissatisfaction over slow growth and unemployment, an influx of migrants from outside Europe and security threats posed by Islamist militants have boosted support for nationalists in many EU member states.
    Popular support for Eurosceptic nationalists has surged in recent years amidst a backlash against migration over open EU borders and austerity policies imposed on some southern EU states as the price for financial bailouts.
    After the election and amid the pending exit of British lawmakers from the chamber, a shake-up of existing groups is likely before the new parliament sits on July 2.
    The polls should strengthen EPP party leader and CDU deputy Manfred Weber’s bid to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive.
    Weber, who enjoys Merkel’s support despite his youthful years and lack of government experience, still faces challenges from EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, a Frenchman, and the EU’s top antitrust regulator Margrethe Vestager, from Denmark.
    He also faces opposition from many national leaders who after the election will make their own nominations for Juncker’s successor to run the sprawling EU administration.
(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel and Giulia Paravacini; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

3/29/2019 GOP Rep. Jim Jordan tells congress to move on from Mueller Report by OAN Newsroom
    Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) urges congress to focus on other priorities now that the Mueller probe has ended.
    Jordan, in an interview with Fox News on Friday, said lawmakers should be working to secure the southern border, starting with the wall and other immigration reform.
UNITED STATES – SEPTEMBER 19: Reps. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., left, and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, talk before a House Oversight and Government Reform
Committee hearing in Rayburn titled “Reviews of the Benghazi Attacks and Unanswered Questions.” (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP)
    As a member of both the House Oversight and Judiciary Committee, the congressman also criticized democrats for continuing to push the     Russia collusion narrative. Rather, he says congress should investigate what initially prompted the probe, instead of matters that have since been resolved.
    Jordan’s remarks echo sentiment shared by other top republicans.    Sharing this concern was Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who this week suggested his party should find someone like Special Counsel “to look into what happened with the FISA warrant, [and] what happened with the counterintelligence investigation.”
    In addition to weighing their own congressional investigations, republicans are also considering issuing criminal referrals for top DOJ and FBI officials involved in the Russia probe as soon as next week.

3/30/2019 Oil up $0.67 to $60.18, DOW up 211 to 25,929.

3/30/2019 Former House Oversight Cmte Chair: Revoke Schiff’s security clearance by OAN Newsroom
    The former chair of the House Oversight Committee calls on Congressman Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) security clearance to be revoked.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., pushes ahead with their oversight of the
Trump administration at a hearing to examine to examine “Putin’s Playbook,” how the Russian government works to
undermine its adversaries, especially the U.S., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 28, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Jason Chaffetz comments came in response to the aftermath of the Mueller Report on Thursday, and Attorney General William Barr.
    The former-Utah republican lawmaker claims Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, has lost the confidence of his colleagues.
    Schiff has been accused of making unfolded allegations in past months, which were ultimately debunked following the release of the Special Counsel’s findings.
    Cheffetz says if Schiff’s security clearance were to be revoked he would no longer be able to serve on the Intel Committee.

3/30/2019 Frequent crossers of U.S.-Mexico border fret over threatened shutdown by Julio-Cesar Chavez
The border fence between Mexico and the United States is pictured from Tijuana, Mexico March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes
    EL PASO, Texas (Reuters) – Workers and students who frequently cross the U.S. border with Mexico worried over the weekend about the impact on their lives if President Donald Trump follows through on a threat to shut entry points used by hundreds of thousands of people every day.
    Faced with a surge of asylum seekers from Central American countries who travel through Mexico, Trump said on Friday that there was a “good likelihood” he would close the border this coming week if Mexico does not stop unauthorized immigrants from reaching the United States.
    Shutting the southern frontier completely would disrupt billions of dollars in trade and millions of legal border crossings, including those made by U.S. citizen Andrea Torres.
    The 22-year-old student spends weekdays with her aunt in El Paso, where she attends the local campus of the University of Texas, and weekends with her mother in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
    On the border bridge linking the two cities, so many students cross every day that authorities have assigned them their own pedestrian lane.
    “Right now, it’s better for me to stay in El Paso because I need to finish school,” Torres, who is studying art history, said on Friday as she headed to Juarez for the weekend.
    That would mean missing her mom.    “It would be really hard,” Torres said.    “I’m really close to her.”
    Gerardo Pozas, a 38-year-old mechanic, moved to El Paso from Juarez in 1997 to attend high school and later became a U.S. citizen.    He has always retained strong ties with his birthplace.    He worried what he would do if Trump closed the border.
    “My family, my church and my girlfriend are (in Juarez).    I wouldn’t be able to go,” Pozas said.    “But if I stay there, in Ciudad Juarez, I wouldn’t be able to come to my house.”
    Department of Homeland Security officials had already warned traffic with Mexico could slow as the agency shifts personnel from ports of entry to help process asylum seekers.
    Delays were already being felt on Friday, with waiting times longer than usual on the Mexican side of the crossing between Juarez and El Paso, and hours-long lines for trucks carrying goods from Mexican factories into the United States.
    Trade between the United States and its third-largest trading partner totaled $612 billion last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
    Trump, who launched his presidential campaign in 2015 with a promise to crack down on illegal immigration, has repeatedly threatened to close the border during his two years in office but has not followed through.
    Mexico has played down the possibility of a border shutdown.    On Friday its foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said the country does not act on the basis of threats.
(For a graphic on ‘Trump threatens to shut U.S.-Mexico border’ click
(Additional reporting by Jose Luis Gonzalez in Ciudad Juarez and Julia Love in Mexico City; Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Daniel Wallis and James Dalgleish)

3/30/2019 Venezuelans rally to protest chronic power outages by Deisy Buitrago and Shaylim Valderrama
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country's rightful
interim ruler, attends a rally in San Antonio, Venezuela, March 30, 2019. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado
    CARACAS (Reuters) – Thousands of Venezuelan opposition sympathizers protested on Saturday against recurring blackouts that crippled much of the country this month and have aggravated the OPEC nation’s economic and social crisis.
    Electricity has slowly been restored following a blackout on Monday that left most of Venezuela’s 24 states without power. That followed a massive week-long national outage on March 7.
    President Nicolas Maduro has said the situation was caused by “terrorist attacks” on the Guri hydroelectric dam that powers much of the country.
    Critics including opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized by most Western nations as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state, blame the electricity problems on corruption and mismanagement.
    “We all know who is responsible for the blackout – Maduro,” Guaido said at a rally in the Caracas suburb of Los Teques on Saturday.    “We must accelerate the process to remove this corrupt and thieving regime.”
    Maduro has said Guaido is seeking to lead a coup against him, with the help of Washington.
    The United States has levied crippling sanctions against Maduro’s government in efforts to push him from power, but he has hung on in large part thanks to continued loyalty by top military commanders.
    He has also won diplomatic backing from Russia and China, which accuse Washington of meddling in the country’s affairs.
    Government supporters also marched in Caracas on Saturday to protest against “imperialism” by the U.S. government, which Maduro accuses of causing the blackouts by attacking generation and transmission systems.
    “It’s easy to see that (Guaido) doesn’t understand the country’s situation,” said Antonio Ponce, 56, a bus driver.    “He’s been put there by the ultra-right, he doesn’t even know what he’s asking for.”
    The outages have left hospitals without power, worsened the already precarious supply of drinking water and left many stores without functioning point-of-sale terminals – which are crucial in the hyperinflationary economy where cash is in short supply.
    “Enough of all this humiliation, we do not deserve to live like this,” complained Yuderkis Varela, 46, in the western city of San Cristobal near the border with Colombia.    “We don’t have power, we don’t have water, we don’t have gas.”
    After Monday’s outage, the government shuttered businesses for three days and schools for four.
    The blackout also halted operations at the main oil export terminal of Jose, which had restarted operations by Friday.
(Reporting by Deisy Buitrago and Shaylim Valderrama, Additional reporting by Anggy Polanco in San Cristobal; Writing by Diego Oré; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

3/30/2019 ‘Yellow vest’ numbers down in 20th week of French protests
Protesters wearing yellow vests stand in front of the Eiffel Tower during the Act XX (the 20th consecutive national
protest on Saturday) of the "yellow vests" movement in Paris, France, March 30, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
    PARIS (Reuters) – Thousands of demonstrators marched in cities around France on Saturday for a 20th weekend of “yellow vest” protests, but numbers were lower and clashes with police sporadic.
    Outbreaks of vandalism and confrontations with police led to more than 100 arrests on the margins of otherwise peaceful demonstrations in Paris, Avignon, Toulouse and Bordeaux – where protesters broke the windows of a bank before being pushed back.
    The protests, named after the high-visibility safety jackets worn by demonstrators, began in November as an expression of public anger against fuel tax increases.
    The movement soon morphed into a broader backlash against President Emmanuel Macron’s government, despite a swift reversal of the tax increases and other hurried measures worth more than 10 billion euros ($11.2 billion) to boost purchasing power for less affluent voters.
    But participation was down to about 33,400 demonstrators nationwide on Saturday, according to government estimates, compared with 40,500 at the same time a week earlier.    In mid-November, nearly 300,000 had demonstrated in French cities.
    Authorities had advised business owners to stay closed in likely trouble spots and banned protests in others, including the French capital’s Champs Elysees, fearing a repetition of the large-scale destruction seen two weeks earlier.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; Writing by Laurence Frost; Editing by Edmund Blair)

3/30/2019 U.S. ending aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras over migrants
U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is cutting off aid to the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, known collectively as the “Northern Triangle,” the State Department said on Saturday, the day after President Donald Trump blasted the countries for sending migrants to the United States.
    “We are carrying out the President’s direction and ending FY (fiscal year) 2017 and FY 2018 foreign assistance programs for the Northern Triangle,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement.    The State Department declined to provide further details or clarify the time periods involved.
    The State Department said that it would “engage Congress in the process,” an apparent acknowledgement that it will need lawmakers’ approval to end the funding.
    New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called Trump’s order a “reckless announcement” and urged Democrats and Republicans alike to reject it.
    “U.S. foreign assistance is not charity; it advances our strategic interests and funds initiatives that protect American citizens,” Menendez said in a statement.
    Trump claimed on Friday during a trip to Florida that the countries had “set up” caravans of migrants in order to export them into the United States.    A surge of asylum seekers from the three countries have sought to enter the United States across its southern border in recent days.
    “We were giving them $500 million.    We were paying them tremendous amounts of money, and we’re not paying them anymore because they haven’t done a thing for us,” Trump said.
    Trump also threatened on Friday to close the U.S. border with Mexico next week if Mexico does not stop immigrants from reaching the United States, a move that could disrupt millions of legal border crossings and billions of dollars in trade.
(Reporting by Julia Harte and Richard Cowan; Editing by Mary Milliken and James Dalgleish)

3/30/2019 Federal judge restores Obama-era Arctic drilling ban by OAN Newsroom
    A federal judge rules against President Trump’s executive order to allow offshore drilling along millions of acres around Alaska, citing its unlawfulness and invalidity.
    District Court Judge Sharon Gleason made the decision on Saturday, saying the President exceeded his authority when overturning the ban.
    President Trump reversed an Obama-era policy banning offshore drilling, primarily in the Arctic Ocean and parts of the Atlantic.
    Gleason says when President Obama made imposed the rules in 2015 and 2016 they were intended to protect wildlife and native villages, and be extended indefinitely; Therefore, the orders could only be revoked by an act of congress, and not a unilateral executive action.

3/30/2019 House Oversight Cmte to vote on allowing subpoenas over 2020 census citizenship question by OAN Newsroom
    The House Oversight Committee is considering whether to allow Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) to issue subpoenas to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and others over the 2020 census.
FILE – In this Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019 file photo, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D- Md., the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and
Reform, presides over the last hour of testimony by Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, on Capitol Hill in
Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. In letters dated Wednesday, March 6, 2019 and signed by Reps. Cummings and Jamie Raskin,
both from Maryland, a U.S. House committee is seeking a trove of information from Georgia’s governor and secretary of state as it
investigates reports of voter registration problems and other issues reported during the state’s 2018 elections (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Cummings on Friday revealed the panel will vote next week on a resolution authorizing subpoenas over the proposed census citizenship question.
    If passed, the Chairman could require Ross, Attorney General William Barr, and Deputy Attorney General John Gore to testify before congress.
    The Commerce Department has additionally been given until Monday, April 1st to inform the panel, and Cummings, if Ross will comply with it’s request for un-redacted documents.

3/31/2019 Chelsea Manning appeals contempt ruling after refusal to cooperate with prosecutors
    Notorious leaker Chelsea Manning is asking a judge to reverse the contempt ruling which, for a second time, put her behind bars.
    Lawyers representing Manning made the filing on Saturday, 3 weeks after her refusal to cooperate with federal prosecutors.
In this Tuesday, March 5, 2019 photo, Chelsea Manning addresses the media outside federal court
in Alexandria, Va. The former Army intelligence analyst was ordered to jail Friday, March 8, 2019, for refusing
to testify to a Virginia grand jury investigating Wikileaks. (AP Photo/Matthew Barakat)
    The debate in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals comes after Manning was subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia. After refusing to cooperate, she was found in contempt and jailed, Manning instead invoked her constitutional right not to answer questions.
    Her lawyers say prosecutors are asking about Manning’s past relationship with Wikileaks, but Manning has stayed silent on the matter.    They also noted Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is already facing sealed indictments, and therefore Manning’s cooperation would be premature.
    The Department of Justice has yet to confirm whether Assange is currently under investigation or facing charges.

3/31/2019 CBP to Send More Asylum Seekers Back to Mexico by OAN Newsroom
    Customs and Border Protection are ramping up efforts to contain the overflow of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
    According to reports, the CBP is looking to quadruple the daily number of asylum seekers sent back over the border, from around 60 people a day, to 300.
In this Thursday, March 14, 2019, photo, a Border Patrol agent apprehends a person suspected of having entered the U.S.
illegally near McAllen, Texas. While many adults crossing the border on their own in South Texas try to flee agents, most migrant parents
and children wait to surrender so they can be processed and released into the United States. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
    This is the latest attempt to ease a straining immigration system, as resources continue to run thin for Border Patrol agents.
    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen asked Congress this week, to supply her with more resources, so her department could deport illegal immigrants faster.
    She added, “Illegal immigration is simply spiraling out of control and threatening public safety and national security. We face a crisis — a real, serious and sustained crisis — at our borders.”
    This past week, agents in New Mexico and Texas, who usually inspect cargo, were reassigned indefinitely to help process the growing number of asylum applicants.

3/31/2019 Mulvaney: We Followed The Law by OAN Newsroom
    Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney says the President received “zero special treatment” during the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
    Mulvaney said the President, along with his administration, followed the law in every step of the Mueller probe during an interview on Sunday.
From left, President Donald Trump and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan,
sit together during a meeting with Caribbean leaders at Mar-A Lago, Friday, March 22, 2019, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    He added, the administration will continue to follow the law, despite calls for the White House to release President Trump’s previous written answers sent to Mueller.
    Mulvaney went on to say even a clear vindication of the President in the Mueller Report won’t be sufficient for democrats and states “enough is enough.”
    The findings from the Mueller report are expected to be handed over to congress sometime by mid-April.

3/31/2019 President Trump Looks to Flip Virginia in 2020 by OAN Newsroom
    The Trump Administration wants to rally competition in a historically Democrat-held state, ahead of Election Day.
    President Trump hopes to court supporters in Virginia prior to the 2020 by capitalizing on scandals surrounding state Democrat lawmakers, including Governor Ralph Northam, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring.
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., Thursday, March 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
    Politicians across the aisle derided Northam and Herring earlier this year, after both lawmakers admitted to appearing in racist photos, taken while they were attending college, which resurfaced in recent weeks.
    Fairfax, who is next in line to succeed Northam, also found himself in the cross hairs after two women came forward to accuse him of sexual assault.
    The scandals raised questions about Virginia’s leadership, and exposed major divisions in the Democrat Party.
    Pundits say those divisions offer a rare window to the GOP, which hasn’t won a state-wide election in Virginia in 10 years.
    The White House is additionally using the 2019 off-season elections to field early support for President Trump’s Campaign.
    This week, Vice President Mike Pence held a fundraiser to stump for Republican state legislators running in November.     He’s also expected to campaign for other Virginia lawmakers in the coming months.
    The White House is also hoping to try similar strategies in the hopes of flipping New Hampshire, Minnesota, Colorado, and New Mexico.

3/31/2019 BREXIT in meltdown: Theresa May under pressure to forge softer divorce deal by Kylie MacLellan and Guy Faulconbridge
Small toy figures are seen in front of a Brexit logo in this illustration picture, March 30, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s exit from the European Union was in disarray after the implosion of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit strategy left her under pressure from rival factions to leave without a deal, go for an election or forge a much softer divorce.
    After one of the most tumultuous weeks in British politics since the 2016 referendum, it was still uncertain how, when or even if the United Kingdom will ever leave the bloc it first joined 46 years ago.
    A third defeat of May’s divorce deal, after her pledge to quit if it was passed, left one of the weakest leaders in a generation grappling with a perilous crisis over Brexit, the United Kingdom’s most significant move since World War Two.
    Parliament will vote on different Brexit options on Monday and then May could try one last roll of the dice by bringing her deal back to a vote in parliament as soon as Tuesday.
    “There are no ideal choices available and there are very good arguments against any possible outcome at the moment but we are going to have to do something,” said Justice Secretary David Gauke, who voted in the 2016 referendum to stay in the EU.
    “The prime minister is reflecting on what the options are, and is considering what may happen but I don’t think any decisions have been made,” he told BBC TV.
    Many in May’s party, though, have lost patience.    The Sun newspaper reported that 170 of her 314 Conservative lawmakers had sent her a letter demanding that Brexit take place in the next few months – deal or no deal.
    The United Kingdom was due to leave the EU on March 29 but the political deadlock in London forced May to ask the bloc for a delay.    Currently, Brexit is due to take place at 2200 GMT on April 12 unless May comes up with another option.
    The labyrinthine Brexit crisis has left the United Kingdom divided: supporters of both Brexit and EU membership marched through London last week.    Many on both sides feel betrayed by a political elite that has failed to show leadership.
    Parliament is due to vote at around 1900 GMT on Monday on a range of alternative Brexit options selected by Speaker John Bercow from nine proposals put forward by lawmakers, including a no-deal exit, preventing a no-deal exit, a customs union, or a second referendum.
    “We are clearly going to have to consider very carefully the will of parliament,” Gauke said.
    With no majority yet in the House of Commons for any of the Brexit options, there was speculation that an election could be called, though such a vote would be unpredictable and it is unclear who would lead the Conservatives into it.
    The Sunday Times said May’s media chief, Robbie Gibb, and her political aide Stephen Parkinson were pushing for an election against the will of her chief enforcer in parliament, Julian Smith.
    The Conservative Party’s deputy chair, James Cleverly, said it was not planning for an election.    But the deputy leader of the opposition Labour Party, Tom Watson, said his party was on election footing.
    Labour’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Emily Thornberry, said it could try to call a vote of no confidence in May’s government.
    “We don’t know if she is going to remain prime minister, if we are going to get somebody else, who that other person is going to be – it is a mess,” Thornberry said.
    Opponents of Brexit fear it will make Britain poorer and divide the West as it grapples with both the unconventional U.S. presidency of Donald Trump and growing assertiveness from Russia and China.
    Supporters of Brexit say while the divorce might bring some short-term instability, in the longer term it will allow the United Kingdom to thrive if cut free from what they cast as a doomed attempt in European unity.
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

3/31/2019 Fearing Brexit, protesters gather along Irish border by Clodagh Kilcoyne
A sign is placed at the border crossing between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland
in Carrickcarnon, Ireland March 30. 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
    CARRICKCARNON, Ireland (Reuters) – Anti-Brexit campaigners protested at six different points of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland on Saturday, fearing a return of customs checks could risk peace, jobs and their way of life.
    The currently seamless 500 km (350 mile) border would be the United Kingdom’s only land frontier with the EU after Brexit and the question of how it is kept open has become a major hurdle in efforts to ensure the UK quits the bloc in an orderly fashion.
    Organizers estimated more than 1,000 locals gathered from the northwest village of Bridgend to Carrickcarnon on the east coast, two of the more than 200 crossings that some 30,000 people cross each day for work.
    “People are very concerned, they voted to remain (in the EU) here,” said John Sheridan, a farmer from the Border Communities Against Brexit group who led the protest in the Northern Ireland border village of Belcoo.    “We feel like we’re going to be left behind again and have a border imposed on us.”
    The group also held a candle-lit vigil across the border in the Irish village of Kiltyclogher at 2300 GMT on Friday, when Britain had been scheduled to leave the EU until its departure was extended by at least two weeks.
    It has held other protests since the 2016 Brexit referendum and again erected mock customs checkpoints on Saturday, to demonstrate the disruption they could cause and the resistance their return would meet.
    Britain, Ireland and the EU all say they want to avoid physical checks on the border, which was marked by military checkpoints before a 1998 peace deal ended three decades of violence costing around 3,600 lives.
    But the backstop or insurance mechanism negotiated to exclude such checks has been resisted by some British lawmakers, who have on three occasions voted down the divorce deal negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May.
    Ireland’s European Affairs Minister Helen McEntee said on Saturday it would be very difficult to achieve the Irish government’s twin aims of keeping the border open and maintaining the integrity of the EU’s single market, if Britain leaves the bloc without a deal.
    “But we are absolutely determined to do that,” McEntee told national broadcaster RTE.    “We have always had the support of the EU and I don’t see that changing.”
(Writing by Padraic Halpin; Editing by David Holmes)

3/31/2019 Venezuelans stage scattered protests over lack of power, water by Deisy Buitrago
Demonstrators gather at a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro
in Caracas, Venezuela March 31, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
    CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelans staged scattered protests on Sunday over constant power outages and shortages of drinking water in the wake of two major blackouts this month.
    The situation has fueled frustration with the government of President Nicolas Maduro and frayed nerves as schools and much of the nation’s commerce have been interrupted by problems with public services for nearly three weeks.
    Residents on Sunday afternoon spontaneously protested in around 10 neighborhoods of Caracas as well as in parts of the provinces, according to witnesses and social media.    Power went out on Sunday morning after flickering intermittently on Saturday.
    Most demonstrators merely waved flags and chanted slogans, though some blockaded streets and burned tires.
    “We’re here because there’s no water, no power and (unchecked) crime,” said Jose De La Cruz, 45, a nurse, standing at a barricade in downtown Caracas.    “I’m asking Maduro to go.    Just look at how things are.    We have to go into the streets on a Sunday to protest because so many things aren’t working.”
    One Reuters witness heard gunshots being fired near where the barricades had been set up, and demonstrators reported that one woman had been injured by gunfire.    The government has offered a variety of explanations for the blackouts, ranging from Washington-backed cyberattacks to opposition-linked snipers causing fires at the country’s main hydroelectric dam.
    Critics insist it is the result of more than a decade of corruption and incompetent management of the power system, which late socialist leader Hugo Chavez nationalized in 2007.
    Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized by most Western nations as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state, has called on residents to organize at the neighborhood level to demand better services.
    Guaido in January invoked the constitution to assume the interim presidency, arguing that Maduro’s 2018 re-election was fraudulent and that he usurped power when he was sworn in for a second term.
    Maduro calls him a puppet of the United States, which he says is seeking to force him from office through a coup.
    Washington has levied crippling sanctions against Maduro’s government in an effort to push him from power.    He has hung on in large part thanks to the continued loyalty of top military commanders.
(Reporting by Deisy Buitrago; writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

3/31/2019 Trump aides repeat threat to shut down U.S.-Mexico border on migrant crisis by Humeyra Pamuk and Nathan Layne
FILE PHOTO: A person looks through the border wall towards the United States at Border Field State Park
in San Diego, California, U.S. November 20, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration on Sunday doubled down on its threat to shut down the southern border with Mexico, a day after it cut aid to Central American countries that President Donald Trump accused of deliberately sending migrants to the United States.
    Faced with a surge of asylum seekers from Central American countries who travel through Mexico, Trump said on Friday there was a “good likelihood” he would close the border this coming week if Mexico does not stop unauthorized immigrants from reaching the United States. (Graphic:
    Without providing evidence, he also accused the nations of having “set up” migrant caravans and sending them north.
    Speaking to ABC’s “This Week” show, White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said the president had few other options in the absence of any support from Democrats for more border security or legislative action to change the immigration law.
    “Faced with those limitations, the president will do everything he can.    If closing the ports of entry means that, that’s exactly what he intends to do,” Mulvaney said.    “We need border security and we’re going to do the best we can with what we have,” he added.
    White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told “Fox News Sunday” that the situation at the border was at “melting point” and said the president was serious in his threat.    “It certainly is not a bluff.    You can take the president seriously.”
    Neither Trump aide offered any specific details or timeline for the potential border shutdown.
    At a Saturday rally on the border in El Paso, Texas, Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke denounced Trump’s immigration policies as the politics of “fear and division.”
Trump has repeatedly said he would close the U.S. border with Mexico during his two years in office.    His latest threat had workers and students who frequently cross the border worried about the potential disruption to their lives.
    The government says it is struggling to deal with a surge in recent days of asylum seekers from countries in Central America who travel through Mexico and on Saturday cut aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – a move other Democrats warned would only worsen the situation.
    “What we need to do is focus on what’s happening in Central America, where three countries are disassembling before our eyes and people are desperately coming to the United States.    The president’s cutting off aid to these countries will not solve that problem,” Senate minority whip Dick Durbin told NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
    He also cast doubt on the viability of shutting the border, describing the threat as “totally unrealistic.”
    March is on track for 100,000 border apprehensions, Department of Homeland Security officials said, which would be the highest monthly number in more than a decade.    Most of those people can remain in the United States while their asylum claims are processed, which can take years because of ballooning immigration court backlogs.
    Trump is expected to visit the border within the next two weeks.
    While some Trump critics say he is bluffing, closing the southern border is not unprecedented.    Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan both shut the border over drug-related issues, while President Lyndon B. Johnson closed it briefly after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963.
    Trump could turn to the section of immigration law that grants the president broad authority to prevent certain people from entering the county on national security grounds, legal experts said.    That authority was upheld by the Supreme Court in a decision last year on his controversial travel ban.
    But it is unclear what powers Trump would use to invoke that law.
    If he were to declare a national emergency, he could face difficulty justifying that the influx of asylum seekers amounts to a “true and legally demonstrable federal ’emergency'” and warrants the “extreme measure of closure,” said Geoffrey Hoffman, the director of the University of Houston Law Center Immigration Clinic.
    Shutting the border would likely trigger other legal challenges, including by asylum seekers whose rights to seek entry were upheld by a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals December ruling.
    “Many of the Central American families arriving in the U.S. are asylum seekers and claim a fear of return,” said Lindsay Harris, a professor at the University of the District of Columbia’s law school and co-director at its Immigration and Human Rights Clinic.    “This fear is warranted.”
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Additional reporting by Howard Schneider; editing by Michelle Price, Lisa Shumaker and Dan Grebler)

3/31/2019 Sen. Graham: AG Barr upset with Clinton emails handling, could reopen probe by OAN Newsroom
    Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) suggests the Department of Justice could reopen a probe into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton listens to questions during a
campaign stop, Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
    Senator Graham, speaking with Fox News on Sunday, said U.S. Attorney General William Barr was “pretty upset” with the handling of Clinton’s scandal by former President Barrack Obama’s DOJ.    In addition, he said he hopes Barr will now appoint a special counsel to look into the matter.
    Graham’s remarks follow calls for an independent probe into the origins of the since-debunked “Russia hoax,” at President Trump’s urging.
    Clinton, as well as other top Obama officials, the Senator also suggested, could have been involved in “criminal misbehavior” with FISA warrant abuses, and spying on the Trump 2016 Presidential Campaign.

4/1/2019 Treaty’s end would give U.S., Russia impetus to make more nukes: study by Arshad Mohammed and Jonathan Landay
FILE PHOTO - National flags of Russia and the U.S. fly at Vnukovo International Airport
in Moscow, Russia April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The demise of the only U.S.-Russia arms control pact limiting deployed nuclear weapons would make it harder for each to gauge the other’s intentions, giving both incentives to expand their arsenals, according to a study to be released on Monday.
    The expiration of the New START accord also may undermine faith in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which calls on nuclear states such as the United States and Russia to work toward nuclear disarmament, as well as influence China’s nuclear posture, historically one of restraint.
    The study, produced by the CNA Corp non-profit research group and seen by Reuters, is the most comprehensive public examination to date of the consequences of New START’s demise.    It argues for extending the 2011 treaty, which expires in February 2021 but can be extended for five years if both sides agree.
    The Trump administration is deliberating whether to extend the pact, which President Donald Trump has reviled as a bad deal and his national security adviser, John Bolton, has long opposed.    Russia has said it is prepared to extend New START but wants to discuss what it regards as U.S. violations first.
    The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the administration’s deliberations.
    Trump has said Washington will withdraw from another arms pact, the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, this summer unless Moscow ends its alleged violations, compounding tense ties.    Russia denies violating the INF treaty. [nL1N1ZW0K1]
    The New START treaty required the United States and Russia to cut their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to no more than 1,550, the lowest level in decades, and limit delivery systems – land- and submarine-based missiles and nuclear-capable bombers.
It also includes extensive transparency measures requiring each side to allow the other to carry out 10 inspections of strategic nuclear bases each year; give 48 hours notice before new missiles covered by the treaty leave their factories; and provide notifications before ballistic missile launches.
    Both sides must also exchange data declaring their deployed strategic nuclear warheads, delivery vehicles and launchers, as well as breakdowns of how many of each are located at individual bases.
    All of that would end if the treaty expires.
    “Neither country would have the same degree of confidence in its ability to assess the other’s precise warhead levels,” CNA’s Vince Manzo wrote in the study.    “Worst-case planning is also more likely as a result."
    “Increased opacity between U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear forces would unfold within the broader context of growing mistrust and diverging perceptions about strategy, intentions, and perceptions,” he added.
    Without the data, the United States would have to reassign its overworked satellites, possibly devoting more surveillance to Russia and less to China, Iran and North Korea.
    Another casualty of the treaty’s expiration could be global nonproliferation, making non-nuclear states doubt the United States and Russia will keep working toward nuclear disarmament under the NPT, the study said.
    While it was impossible to predict how China – estimated to have about 280 nuclear warheads – would react to New START’s expiry, the study cites factors that could make Beijing expand its capability.
    Without a treaty limiting U.S. and Russian nuclear forces, China could overestimate their arsenals.    Unconstrained U.S. and Russian forces could also strengthen voices in China that view a large arsenal as symbolically important, as well as those already advocating for more nuclear weapons.
    The study recommends steps for the United States and Russia to mitigate the risks from the treaty’s expiration, including voluntarily sticking to its limits and continuing to exchange data.    It also recommends Washington propose annual exchanges of nuclear weapons information and dialogue with Beijing.
(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed and Jonathan Landay; Editing by Mary Milliken and Dan Grebler)

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