From The Alpha and the Omega - Chapter Eight
by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved
"KING OF THE WEST 2019 CONTINUED TO MAY"
This file is attached to http://www.mazzaroth.com/ChapterEight/BeastThatCameOutOfTheSea.htm 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 April or continue to King Of The West 2019 June
KING OF THE WEST 2019 CONTINUED TO MAY
- WTO REGION 1 IN 1995 NAFTA (3 nation): UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, CANADA, MEXICO, CENTRAL AMERICA.
- NAFTA is the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, is a three-country accord negotiated by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States that entered into force in January 1994.
- On 10/1/2018 NAFTA was dropped and a new agreement called USMCA or United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement was formed.
- WTO REGION 2 IN 1995 EUROPEAN UNION (EU 15 nations by 1995): BRITAIN, FRANCE, GERMANY, ITALY, BELGIUM, DENMARK, IRELAND, SPAIN, NETHERLANDS, GREECE, LUXEMBOURG, PORTUGAL, AUSTRIA, FINLAND, SWEDEN.
- AS OF TODAY THE EU GREW TO 28 NATIONS ADDING: BULGARIA, CROATIA, CYPRUS, CZECH REPUBLIC, ESTONIA, HUNGARY, LATIVIA, LITHUNIA, MALTA, POLAND, ROMANIA, AND SLOVAKIA.
- OF NOTE: IN 2018 THE UNITED KINGDOM [England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland] CALLED BREXIT IS ATTEMPTING TO EXIT THE EUROPEAN UNION BY 2019.
- THERE IS ALSO A GROUP CALLED EEA: ICELAND, LIECHTENSTEIN, NORWAY.
- In 2018, November 25th, negotiations developed on the Comprehensive Indonesia-European Free Trade Association Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IE-CEPA) between Indonesia and EFTA members – Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland, and are parties to the Agreement on a European Economic Area (EEA).
- On 2/16/2019 Iceland is a two-year rotating chairmanship of the Arctic Council which comprises Canada, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, the United States and Denmark all of which have territory inside the Arctic Circle.
- On 1/11/2019 Macedonia’s parliament passed an amendment to the constitution to rename the country Republic of North Macedonia, in line with an agreement with Greece to put an end to a 27-year-old dispute.
- WTO REGION 10 IN 1995 SOUTH (LATIN) AMERICA: VENZUELA (OPEC), BRAZIL, CHILE, COLUMBIA, GUATEMALA, NICARAGUA, YUCATAN, PARAGUAY, ARGENTINA, BOLIVIA, PERU, ECUADOR, URUGUAY, GUINNESS.
- On 1/5/2018 I add the Lima Group which is a multilateral body that was established following the Lima Declaration on August 8, 2017 in the Peruvian capital of Lima, where representatives of 12 countries met in order to establish a peaceful exit to the crisis in Venezuela. Twelve countries initially signed the declaration: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru. Guyana and Saint Lucia joined later.
- On 3/22/2019 a new bloc called Prosur: South American leaders Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru to replace the previous bloc, Unasur, to rid crisis-stricken Venezuela, to form a commitment to democracy, freedom and a respect for human rights and will be open for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido. Bolivian President Evo Morales, a close ally of Maduro, and Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez did not attend.
- A replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the organization was established on October 24, 1945 after World War II with the aim of preventing another such conflict. At its founding, the United Nations had 51 member states and now it is up to 193.
- And I will mention that the following were all formed in my time frame for the opening of the Seals.
During 1950-1962 The First group of Twelve years NATO formed in 1949.
During 1987-1998 The Fourth group of Twelve years the New World Order of the (G-7) seven richest industrial nations is envisioned in 1991 after the Persian Gulf War and the dissolvement of the Warsaw Pact occurred: Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, and United States of America, which are the Seven Heads that influenced GATT which led to the World Trade Talks in 1993, and by 1995 the new (WTO) World Trade Organization develops into 10 Regions (Horns of the Beast with 10 crowns) of Free Trade under GATT which is my "Beast That Came Up Out Of The Sea." So if you think the King is free of the wrath of God, think again.
- This union was formed before 2010 called BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa] with Afghanistan, Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico and Turkey, as well as Egypt, Iran, Nigeria, Sudan, Syria, Bangladesh and Greece have considered joining it as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization [created in June 2001, members Pakistan, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajkistan, Kyrgystan, India].
2019 BEGINNING WITH MAY
5/1/2019 President Trump: Cuba must cease support for Maduro or face embargo, sanctions by OAN Newsroom
President Trump is threatening a total blockade of Cuba over its support for Venezuela’s Maduro regime.
The president took to Twitter Tuesday, urging the Castro regime to withdraw its military and intelligence personnel from Venezuela. He said Cuba’s efforts to keep Nicolas Maduro in power have caused “death and destruction” of constitutional order in Venezuela.
Trump tweet: “If Cuban Troops and Militia do not immediately CEASE military and other operations for the purpose of causing death and destruction to the Constitution of Venezuela, a full and complete.... ...embargo, together with highest-level sanctions, will be placed on the island of Cuba. Hopefully, all Cuban soldiers will promptly and peacefully return to their island! President Trump warned he is considering imposing a full embargo on Cuba, and is also considering blacklisting its top officials.”
The president also said Cuban soldiers and agents still have a chance to peacefully return home.
In this photo released by the Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, left, flanked by Venezuela’s
Defense Minister Gen. Vladimir Padrino Lopez, second left, Commander of Strategic Operations Adm. Remigio Ceballos, third from left,
and Venezuela’s Army Gen. Jose Ornelas, right, speaks during a televised national message at Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas,
Venezuela, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Opposition leader Juan Guaidó and jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez took to the streets with
a small contingent of armed troops early Tuesday in a call for the military to rise up and oust President Maduro. (Miraflores Press Office via AP)
5/1/2019 Trumps file suit to protect privacy by Kristin Lam, USA TODAY
In a second lawsuit responding to a U.S. House investigation, President Donald Trump and three of his children sued a pair of banks to prevent them from providing Trump family financial records to Congress pursuant to subpoenas.
Although Democrats cast the lawsuit as another effort to thwart investigations of Trump’s activities, the president’s private attorneys said they are seeking to protect the “privacy rights” of the president and his family.
Democratic subpoenas “seek information going back decades from anyone with even a tangential connection to the President, including children, minors and spouses,” said the statement from Trump attorneys Will Consovoy, Patrick Strawbridge and Marc L. Mukasey.
Trump and his children are suing Deutsche Bank and Capital One. Trump asked the court to declare the subpoenas invalid and prevent the banks from complying with the congressional orders. The complaint is the latest in a series of disputes between the White House and congressional Democrats over investigations targeting the president. Trump last week filed a federal lawsuit to block the Democratic-controlled House from obtaining financial records from his business’ longtime accountant.
5/1/2019 Venezuela leader fights coup attempt by Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY
Officials loyal to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said they were confronting a “coup” on Tuesday, as opposition leader Juan Guaido called for a popular uprising and claimed the support of the military.
In a video message, Guaido said he had begun the “final phase” of his plan to oust Maduro and he called on the military to support him in his bid to end Maduro’s “usurpation.”
Guaido’s surprise move could be a make-or-break moment in the struggle for power in Venezuela, with the potential for violence and chaos extremely high.
“The moment is now,” Guaido said in the three-minute video taken at a Caracas air base, where he was surrounded by soldiers and accompanied by detained activist Leopoldo Lopez, his political mentor.
Lopez had been under house arrest, but he said Tuesday that military officials freed him and allowed him to join Guaido.
“I have been released by the military to the order of the Constitution and of President Guaidó. I’m at the La Carlota Base,” Lopez tweeted. “All to mobilize.”
Jorge Rodriguez, Venezuela’s information minister, said Maduro’s forces were “currently confronting and deactivating a small group of traitor military personnel” who were at a military base to “promote a coup d’état.”
In a message on Twitter, Rodriguez predicted the uprising would be quashed. “We call on the people to stay on high alert, along with the glorious Bolivarian National armed forces, to defeat the coup attempt and preserve the peace,” he said. “We will win.”
Venezuela’s socialist party leader, Diosdado Cabello, called on government supporters to gather at the presidential palace to defend Maduro from what he called a small uprising of military soldiers backed by the U.S.
Gauido has support from President Donald Trump’s administration in his bid to oust Maduro, and top U.S. officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, quickly voiced support for Gauido’s move to oust Maduro.
“We are with you!” Pence tweeted Tuesday morning. “America will stand with you until freedom & democracy are restored. Vayan con dios! #FreeVenezuela” Venezuela experts said this was a pivotal moment for the country and could either lead to greater democracy or greater repression.
“This is a sort of make or break moment,” said Cynthia J. Arnson, director of the Latin American Program at the Wilson Center, a Washington-based think tank.
“This is either the beginning of the end of the regime, if it goes well,” she said.
“And if it goes poorly, then Guaido and all other members of the opposition are going to have to go into hiding or risk mass arrest.”
Florida GOP Sen. Rick Scott called on Trump to send U.S. military forces to the region, in place to support Guaido.
Trump has denounced Maduro as illegitimate and his administration has slapped a series of crippling sanctions on his regime in an effort to squeeze the socialist leader from power.
Contributing: Associated Press
The potential for violence and chaos is high in Venezuela as opposition leader
Juan Guaido tries to oust President Nicolas Maduro. FERNANDO LLANO/AP
5/1/2019 Riot police, masked protesters clash at Paris May Day rally by Clotaire Achi and Antony Paone
People including protesters wearing yellow vests gather near La Rotonde restaurant during the
traditional May Day labour union march in Paris, France, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
PARIS (Reuters) – Dozens of masked and hooded anarchists clashed with riot police in Paris on Wednesday, burning bins, smashing property and hurling bottles and rocks, hijacking a May Day rally that was focused on protesting against President Emmanuel Macron’s policies.
Tens of thousands of labor union and “yellow vest” protesters were on the streets across France, days after Macron outlined a response to months of street protests including tax cuts worth around 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion).
In Paris, riot police used tear gas and water cannon, and charged sporadically at several points along the traditional International Workers’ Day rally to disperse groups of masked protesters who had immersed themselves in the crowd.
Some 7,400 police were deployed and they made 380 arrests. Thirty-eight people were wounded, including 14 police officers with one being hit on the head with a paving stone.
The main march crossing the southern part of the capital was finally able to move amid relative calm after being prevented from setting off by the clashes, although it appeared that yellow vests and more radical elements rather than labor unions were dominating the march.
The hard-left CGT union denounced police violence and said its secretary general had been tear-gassed.
“This current scenario, scandalous and unprecedented, is unacceptable in our democracy,” it said in a statement.
The Paris police department denied excessive violence.
On the whole, compared to a year ago and some recent yellow vest protests, the violence was contained, did not spiral out of control and the protests appeared to end peacefully.
French police had warned on Tuesday that there could be clashes with far-left anarchist groups, known as Black Blocs, after calls on social media for radicals to hit the streets.
Authorities had said they expected some 2,000 Black Bloc protesters from France and across Europe to turn up on the sidelines of the rallies.
The yellow vest protests, named after motorists’ high-visibility jackets, began in November over fuel tax increases but have evolved into a sometimes violent revolt against politicians and a government seen as out of touch.
Macron issued a series of proposals last week in response to the protests, but many in the grassroots movement, which does not have a leadership structure, have said they do not go far enough and lack detail.
The banners in the crowd reflected the anger among some in the movement who feel abandoned by Macron’s economic policies.
The 41-year-old former investment banker pushed a reform blitz during the first 18 months of his presidency that impressed investors but infuriated low-paid workers, who feel he favors big business and is indifferent to their struggle to make ends meet.
“Here are the thugs,” one banner read, showing Macron, European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde.
Another targeted the president directly: “Macron, what have you done to us?”
Thousands of people also demonstrated in cities from Marseille to Bordeaux and Lyon.
Some 300 yellow vest protesters tried to storm a police station in the Alpine town of Besancon and clashes broke out in Toulouse.
The Interior Ministry said some 164,500 people had demonstrated across the country, more than in 2018, including 28,000 in Paris. The CGT said there had been 310,000 in France, including 80,000 protesters in the capital alone.
“We have been trying to fight, to make ourselves heard, for six months and nobody cares. People don’t understand the movement, though it seems pretty simple: We just want to live normally,” said Florence, 58, a trainer in a large company who was marching in Paris.
(Additional reporting by Lucien Libert, Benoit Tessier, Ardee Soriano, Elizabeth Pineau, Emmanuel Jarry and John Irish in Paris, Catherine Lagrange in Lyon, Jean-Francois Rosnoblet in Marseille and Claude Canellas in Bordeaux; Writing by John Irish; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Frances Kerry)
5/1/2019 WATCH: IG Horowitz to reveal real collusion by OAN Newsroom
An upcoming report from the Department of Justice’s oversight unit is expected to reveal a possible political plot against the 2016 Trump campaign. One America’s Kristian Rouz explains.
5/1/2019 Schumer says Trump not doing enough to protect 2020 election
WASHINGTON – Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said President Donald Trump is not doing enough to protect the 2020 election in light of special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings. In a letter to colleagues Tuesday, Schumer said Congress needs to “fill the vacuum” on election security. He said the Senate should beef up state and federal election systems and impose sanctions on Russia or others engaged in “malign activities” to interfere. He noted that the FBI has called the 2018 election a “dress rehearsal” for the next election.
[That’s because they are trying to prosecute the real criminals who did that during the 2016 election.]
5/1/2019 Attorney General Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary committee by OAN Newsroom
Attorney General William Barr is defending President Trump’s right to remove special counsel Robert Mueller from his post.
While testifying to the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, Barr was asked if the president obstructed justice by asking White House counsel William Barr to remove Mueller and then deny it later.
Barr argued there’s a difference between having Mueller fired, and having him removed over a conflict of interest. He noted a new special counsel would have been appointed.
Attorney General William Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on
Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Barr also said the president did not impair evidence in any particular proceeding, so no laws were broken.
“The deputy and I felt that the evidence developed by the special counsel was not sufficient to establish that the president committed a crime and, therefore, it would be irresponsible and unfair for the department to release a report without stating the department’s conclusions,” explained the attorney general.
In his full report, the special counsel detailed 10 instances of potential obstruction of justice involving the president. However, Barr determined there was not enough evidence to establish obstruction charges.
5/2/2019 Oil down $0.31 to $63.30, DOW down 163 to 26,430.
5/2/2019 Barr defends handling of Mueller’s report - AG made decision when special counsel didn’t by Kevin Johnson and Bart Jansen, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – Attorney General William Barr clashed with lawmakers Wednesday over his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, rebutting Democrats’ complaints that he misrepresented the report to favor President Donald Trump while defending his own conclusions that the president had not sought to obstruct the probe.
Barr’s testimony had been anticipated since the public release of Mueller’s report in April because it was lawmakers’ first opportunity to question the attorney general about the investigation he supervised. The hearing took on new urgency because hours before it began, the Justice Department revealed that Mueller had privately objected to Barr’s summary of the investigation.
Mueller’s office declined to draw a conclusion about whether Trump had committed obstruction. Barr told the panel that he acted to resolve the question of whether Trump obstructed the special counsel’s 22-month investigation because Mueller’s team did not.
“We were frankly surprised that (Mueller) wasn’t going to come to a view on obstruction,” Barr said. “We did not understand why the special counsel was not reaching a decision. When we pressed him on it, he said the special counsel’s office was still reaching” an explanation.
Three days later, Mueller informed Barr by letter that his summary “did not fully capture the context, nature and substance” of the special counsel’s work, adding that the attorney general’s actions “threatened to undermine the central purpose” of the investigation.
The hearing underscored the widening political divide of Democrats who have been skeptical of his handling of the inquiry and Republicans eager to either move on or investigate the origin of the Russia probe, which began with the FBI before Trump took office.
“For me, it’s over,” Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said, declaring the question entirely settled.
But several Democrats have called for Barr’s resignation after details emerged Tuesday about concerns from Mueller dealing with how Barr released first a four-page letter and then a redacted version of the report. Lawmakers also challenged Barr testimony at an earlier hearing that he wasn’t aware of Mueller concerns. “I think it was purposely misleading,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said last month.
Hours before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was to begin, the Justice Department confirmed that Mueller had privately objected to a letter Barr delivered to Congress in March clearing Trump of having obstructed the special counsel investigation.
Mueller said in a March 27 letter that Barr’s summary three days earlier “did not fully capture the context, nature and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” which led to “public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation.”
Democrats have called for Attorney General William Barr’s resignation for his handling
of a report from special counsel Robert Mueller. JACK GRUBER/USA TODAY
5/2/2019 Trump seeks $4.5B for border by John Fritze, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump asked Congress for $4.5 billion in emergency funds to address what he has described as a “humanitarian crisis” at the U.S.-Mexico border, setting up another showdown with lawmakers over immigration.
The money would be used to handle an influx of migrants, not Trump’s proposed border wall, according to administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The request is likely to run into opposition from Democrats.
“The situation becomes more dire each day,” Russell T. Vought, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget wrote congressional leaders. “The migration flow and the resulting humanitarian crisis is rapidly overwhelming the ability of the Federal Government to respond.”
Democrats said they would review the request but quickly raised concerns about some of the proposals it includes. More than $150 million of the new money would be used to accommodate “significant increases” in immigrants detained, for instance.
“The Trump administration appears to want much of this $4.5 billion emergency supplemental request to double down on cruel and ill-conceived policies,” said Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., who chairs the House Appropriations Committee.
5/2/2019 WikiLeaks’ Assange sentenced to 50 weeks for skipping bail by Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY
LONDON – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for skipping bail in Britain seven years ago and seeking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy.
Deborah Taylor, the judge at London’s Southwark Crown Court, said Assange’s time in the embassy cost British taxpayers about $21 million, and she imposed a near-maximum sentence because of his “deliberate attempt to delay justice.”
Thursday, a court hearing in London will consider a U.S. extradition request for Assange. The Department of Justice charged him with conspiring to break into a Pentagon computer system to reveal government secrets.
Assange, a computer hacker, allegedly assisted Chelsea Manning, who was a soldier in the U.S. Army, in cracking a password stored on U.S. Department of Defense computers. Wiki- Leaks subsequently published thousands of classified U.S. military and diplomatic cables and images, including video footage purportedly showing U.S. soldiers killing civilians in Iraq.
Manning served nearly seven years of a 35-year sentence for theft and espionage for helping to deliver classified documents to WikiLeaks. President Barack Obama commuted the sentence, and Manning was released in 2017.
Wednesday’s sentencing probably means it will be close to a year before U.S. prosecutors have any chance of getting their hands on Assange.
Assange was arrested last month inside the Embassy of Ecuador after the South American country revoked his political asylum. The 47-year-old Australian sought asylum in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted for questioning over rape and sexual assault allegations.
Assange’s legal team expected that if he was extradited to Sweden, he would subsequently be extradited to the USA.
The rape and sexual assault charges against Assange were dropped because his residence in the embassy stymied the investigation and the statute of limitations expired. Swedish prosecutors are considering a request from one of Assange’s alleged victims to reopen the rape investigation. If that happens, Assange could face a competing claim for extradition.
WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange could be the focus of multinational extradition attempts. EPA-EFE
5/2/2019 Attorney General Barr a no-show for House Judiciary hearing, Nadler seeking contempt by OAN Newsroom
An empty chair dominated the room as Republicans and Democrats threw accusations back and forth during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday.
Attorney General William Barr was slated to testify before the committee, but stuck to his word after saying Wednesday he would not be appearing. This decision was based on his objection to certain conditions placed around the hearing.
Democrats said they planned on allowing legal counsel beyond the committee members to question Barr, while the attorney general said he would only answer questions from the lawmakers themselves.
Democrat committee chairman Jerry Nadler slammed Barr for not appearing, saying he believed he and his colleagues are right in extending the questioning. Nadler went on to say the Trump administration can’t dictate the terms of the hearing. He said the challenge is bigger than a single witness.
“He’s trying to render Congress inert as a separate and co-equal branch of government,” claimed Nadler. “The challenge we face is is that if we don’t stand up to him together today, we risk forever losing the power to stand up to any president in the future.”
Ranking Member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., right, accompanied by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.,
left, speaks as Attorney General William Barr does not appear before a House
Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican ranking member Doug Collins blasted Nadler in return. He said the committee could have had a hearing, but Democrats took the ability away. Collins pointed out he and Nadler approved a motion granting an extra hour of questioning, but the chairman insisted on bringing in extra staff.
“Instead we go back to a circus political stunt…they say, ‘we want it to look like an impeachment hearing,’ because they won’t bring impeachment proceedings,” said Collins. “The reason Bill Barr is not here today is because the Democrats decided they didn’t want him here today.”
Collins claimed Democrats actually didn’t want to hear from Barr, and said they have already seen the Mueller report and don’t like what’s in it.
Barr has reportedly agreed to allow some lawmakers access to a less-redacted version of the report, provided they don’t discuss it with their colleagues and leave their notes with the Department of Justice.
5/2/2019 Sen. Grassley: ‘Jig is up’ on Trump collusion by OAN Newsroom
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said the “jig is up” on the Russian collusion narrative.
While speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Grassley slammed Democrats as well as the media for rejecting the outcome of the Mueller report, and pushing the collusion narrative. He said everyone was sold a bunch of “snake oil,” and defended William Barr’s assessment of the special counsel’s findings.
Sen. Chuck Grassley is pictured. (AP/Photo)
Grassley then weighed in on who he believes is guilty of a crime:
“The Mueller report spent millions investigating and found no collusion between Trump campaign and Russia, but the Democrats paid for a document created by a foreign national with reported foreign government sources — not Trump, but the Democrats.
That’s the definition of collusion.”
Attorney General William Barr said he is not confident the dossier was not part of a Russian disinformation campaign and is looking into the matter.
5/2/2019 Attorney General Barr: I disagreed with Comey’s handling of Clinton emails probe by OAN Newsroom
Attorney General William Barr said he was dissatisfied with James Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Barr said he had a problem with the way the former FBI director handled the probe, adding, he made his objections known at the time.
This comes after an old Washington Post article resurfaced in which Barr said Comey did the right thing when he publicly reopened the investigation. However, the rest of the article shows Barr remained critical of other aspects of the probe.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., gives an opening statement before swearing-in Attorney
General William Barr to testify, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
“Did you have a problem with the way Comey handled the Clinton email investigation?” Senator Lindsey Graham asked Barr during the hearing.
Barr responded, saying he did and “said so at the time.”
“A reason that loomed large there over his (Comey) termination was his refusal to tell the public what he was privately telling the president, which is the president was not under the investigation,” explained the attorney general.
Barr also said President Trump’s decision to fire Comey did not amount to obstruction of justice.
5/3/2019 Oil down $1.79 to $61.81, DOW down 122 to 26,308.
5/3/2019 Lawmakers spar as Barr skips hearing - Kevin Johnson and Bart Jansen by USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – Attorney General William Barr made good Thursday on his threat to skip a House hearing into Russian interference in the 2016 election, so lawmakers battled each other instead.
The confrontation is the latest escalation of tensions between President Donald Trump’s administration and the House of Representatives, which has opened investigations of the president. Trump has said his administration plans to fight lawmakers’ demands for information, and has gone to court to block some of them.
Barr refused to testify before the House Judiciary Committee about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report because the committee added an hour of questions by staff lawyers. The hearing was to have been his second day of testimony about the investigation and his handling of the special counsel’s final report. Barr spent four hours before a Senate panel Wednesday.
At a news conference Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Barr’s testimony to Congress raised “deadly serious” questions. She said, “The attorney general of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United states. That’s a crime.”
Pelosi didn’t say what testimony she was referring to, but Democrats have seized on Barr’s testimony from last month in which he appeared to be unaware of concerns from Mueller’s team over the way he had characterized their work.
Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., accused Trump’s administration of ignoring subpoenas and refusing to testify, a pattern he said reflects an effort to prevent Congress “from providing any check whatsoever to even his most reckless decisions.”
“The challenge we face is that if we don’t stand up to him together, today, then we risk forever losing the power to stand up to any president in the future,” Nadler said.
Nadler had said Barr was afraid to attend because of his fear of being questioned by trained lawyers. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., walked into the House hearing room with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and noshed on a drumstick to mark Barr’s absence.
But the top Republican on the panel, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, called the meeting a political stunt that prevented Barr’s testimony for lawmakers of either party.
“Instead we go back to a circus political stunt,” Collins said. “They want it to look like an impeachment hearing because they won’t bring impeachment proceedings.”
The hearing ended bitterly.
“We will ensure that no president becomes a monarch,” Nadler said as he ended the 20-minute session.
“And will do so while trampling minority rights,” Collins said as the microphones were turned off.
The clash marked the latest confrontation over congressional investigations into Trump and his administration.
Lawmakers contend they are being stonewalled across a variety of inquiries by an administration that is ignoring subpoenas and avoiding testimony, but Trump says the partisan requests are just harassment of the presidency.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., left, and
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., wait to start the hearing. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP
5/3/2019 No. 2 House GOP leader says $2T infrastructure cost too high
WASHINGTON – The No. 2 House Republican leader is suggesting that Congress won’t agree to the full $2 trillion price tag that the White House and congressional leaders have discussed for a compromise infrastructure deal. Rep. Steve Scalise told reporters Thursday that the price tag will be “a lot lower” than the $2 trillion Democrats say President Donald Trump supports. He said raising taxes to pay for public works improvements is “a non-starter” for Republicans. He called $2 trillion “a lofty goal.”
5/3/2019 House approves measure to keep US in Paris climate agreement
WASHINGTON – The Democratic controlled House has approved legislation that would prevent President Donald Trump from following through on his pledge to withdraw the United States from a landmark global climate agreement. The bill also would ensure the U.S. honors its commitments under the deal signed by former President Barack Obama. The measure was approved 231-190 but it’s unlikely to move forward in the GOP-run Senate. And Trump says he’ll veto the bill if it reaches his desk.
5/3/2019 SpaceX confirms crew capsule destroyed in ground testing
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – SpaceX has confirmed that its crew capsule was destroyed in ground testing two weeks ago. A company vice president told reporters Thursday it’s too soon to know what went wrong during the April 20 test or whether the capsule’s March space flight contributed to the failure. Flames engulfed the capsule a half-second before the launch-abort thrusters were to fire. SpaceX was set to launch a Falcon rocket with supplies for the International Space Station early Friday morning.
5/3/2019 Venezuela’s Maduro calls for military unity after clashes
CARACAS, Venezuela – Flanked by uniformed commanders, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on Thursday urged the armed forces to combat “traitors” as he sought to project strength after opposition leader Juan Guaidó called for a military uprising two days earlier. Speaking at Fort Tiuna, a military base in Caracas, Maduro also said the opposition had sought to provoke bloodshed in Caracas with Guaidó’s call, which failed to push Venezuela’s military into rebellion but was followed by deadly clashes between protesters and police.
5/3/2019 President Trump: Mueller report is done, time to get back to work by OAN Newsroom
The president is calling on both sides of the aisle to come together for the good of the nation. In a tweet late Thursday, President Trump said “it’s time to get back to business.” He rallied Congress to come to the table to find a path forward on the border, infrastructure, and drug prices.
President Trump also called for an end to “costly and time consuming” partisan investigations into the White House.
Trump tweet: “OK, so after two years of hard work and each party trying their best to make the other party look as bad as possible, it’s time to get back to business. The Mueller Report strongly stated that there was No Collusion with Russia (of course) and, in fact, they were rebuffed..... ...at every turn in attempts to gain access. But now Republicans and Democrats must come together for the good of the American people. No more costly & time consuming investigations. Lets do Immigration (Border), Infrastructure, much lower drug prices & much more - and do it now!”
His comments come after he suggested he would block former White House counsel Don McGhan from testifying before Congress, saying Democrats need to finally let go of the Mueller investigation.
President Donald Trump speaks during a National Day of Prayer event in the Rose Garden
of the White House, Thursday, May 2, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Meanwhile, House Democrats are now in direct communication with Robert Mueller as they try to get him to testify about his findings. The House Judiciary Committee has reportedly bypassed the Department of Justice, and are now negotiating with Mueller’s team.
While nothing has been finalized, Democrats are reportedly shooting for a May 15th hearing.
5/3/2019 Republicans support ‘GAIIN Act’ to pay for $2T infrastructure project by OAN Newsroom
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is offering-up a solution to pay for the two trillion-dollar infrastructure plan agreed to by both parties.
On Thursday, the lawmaker said the Generating American Infrastructure and Income Now (GAIIN) Act could be used to pay down $100 billion of the plan. The measure works by having the Department of Agriculture sell off some of its debt, and then invest that money into rural districts and inner cities.
The GAIIN Act has bipartisan support from both the Congressional Black Caucus and the House Freedom Caucus.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Calif., speaks to the media at a news conference
on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 2, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
McCarthy is now calling for a vote on the measure:
“I want to be able to have the GAIIN Act on the table. I want to be able to have reforms. I don’t want to wait…there’s a better way to do it, and there’s a better way to get synergy when you do private and public partnerships, and I’ll sit with anybody that wants to work to solve the problem.”
Some lawmakers have proposed raising taxes on gas to pay for the plan. Democrat leadership will meet with the president later this month to hammer out a plan for funding.
5/3/2019 Rep. Meadows files criminal referral with DOJ against Nellie Ohr of Fusion GPS by OAN Newsroom
Republican Congressman Mark Meadows recently filed a criminal referral with the Department of Justice, targeting Nellie Ohr and her work for Fusion GPS. Meadows wrote a letter to the attorney general this week, asking him to investigate if Ohr funneled her opposition research to the Justice Department.
When Ohr testified on Capitol Hill last October, she said she did not have any knowledge about the Russia investigation. Ohr added, she did not share her research with anyone at the Department of Justice except for her husband Bruce Ohr. However, House republicans have their doubts about her claims.
Rep Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), speaks to the media. | Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo
“Nellie Ohr, while she’s working for Fusion GPS, who’s being paid by the Clinton campaign and the Democrat National Committee, while she’s working for that entity, is forwarding that information that she is compiling to the Justice Department,” stated Ohio Representative Jim Jordan. “Not just to her husband, but to three other people at the Justice Department.”
According to the referral, Ohr was considered a “great resource” by several the Department of Justice officials about Russia. Emails obtained by a FOIA request appear to show Ohr agreed to share her opposition research with the department.
5/4/2019 Oil $61.94, DOW up 197 to 26,505.
5/4/2019 Roger Stone vs. special counsel prosecutors by OAN Newsroom
Special counsel prosecutors fire back at Roger Stone, who’s looking to get his charges dropped.
Roger Stone, former campaign adviser for President Donald Trump, waves as he arrives at
federal court for a hearing, Tuesday, April 30, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
On Friday, Robert Mueller’s team and a U.S. attorney said the obstruction charge against Stone should stay in place.
Stone had been looking to get this charge dropped, claiming he could not be charged with obstruction, because Mueller found no evidence the Trump campaign conspired with Russia.
But the special counsel’s team said they did not need to find evidence of collusion to prove Stone is guilty of trying to interfere with the investigation.
Stone is set to appear in court later this month.
5/4/2019 Pres. Trump working on a bipartisan infrastructure plan for the U.S. by OAN Newsroom
President Trump said he’s looking for a bipartisan plan to address infrastructure in the U.S.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the North Side Gymnasium in Elkhart, Ind.,
Thursday, May 10, 2018, during a campaign rally. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
In a tweet Saturday, the president said there’s “nothing easy about making an infrastructure plan.”
He added, its especially hard to get the funds when the country is spending trillions of dollars in the Middle East.
Republicans are currently looking for a way to fund the plan, which is expected to cost between $1 and $2 trillion.
Senator Rand Paul has suggested withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and other combat zones to pay for the move.
5/6/2019 Trump: Mueller should not testify by ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Sunday that special counsel Robert Mueller should not testify before Congress, abandoning his previous declaration that he would leave that decision to Attorney General William Barr.
Escalating tensions with House Democrats as they seek to bring Mueller before the House Judiciary Committee, Trump tweeted: “no redos for the Dems.” He added: “Are they looking for a redo because they hated seeing the strong NO COLLUSION conclusion?”
Democrats are seeking more information about Mueller’s report on his Russia investigation. Trump said last week that testimony from Mueller was “up to our attorney general.” Barr has said he has no objection to Mueller testifying.
The president tweeted after a Democrat on the committee said he was hopeful Mueller would testify, noting that May
15 has been proposed.
Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline told “Fox News Sunday” that “we hope the special counsel will appear” at that time and that “we think the American people have a right to hear directly from him.” He later tweeted that “nothing has been agreed to yet.”
Spokespeople for the Justice Department and Mueller declined comment on Cicilline’s remarks, and Mueller’s spokesman declined comment on Trump tweet.
5/6/2019 Trump ratchets up pressure on China, threatens tariff hikes by Jeff Mason and David Shepardson
FILE PHOTO: Workers transport imported soybean products at a port in
Nantong, Jiangsu province, China April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump dramatically increased pressure on China on Sunday to reach a trade deal, saying he would hike U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods this week and target hundreds of billions more soon.
The move marked a major escalation in tensions between the world’s largest economies and a shift in tone from Trump, who had cited progress in trade talks as recently as Friday.
Stock markets sank and oil prices tumbled as negotiations were thrown into doubt.
The Wall Street Journal reported that China was considering cancelling this week’s trade talks in Washington in light of Trump’s comments, which took Chinese officials by surprise.
A less than rosy update from United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, including details that China was pulling back from some previous commitments, prompted Trump’s decision.
“The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!” Trump said in a tweet.
U.S. officials did not weigh in on whether China would attend this week’s talks. The White House and the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office declined to comment. China’s commerce ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“The atmosphere of the negotiations has changed,” said a Chinese official with knowledge of the situation.
Whether the talks would proceed and how they would proceed are issues that are now being re-evaluated, the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
“All that depends on the attitude of the United States,” the official said.
The editor of an influential, Chinese state-run newspaper said Vice Premier Liu He was unlikely to go.
“Let Trump raise tariffs. Let’s see when trade talks can resume,” Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the tabloid the Global Times, tweeted.
The newspaper is published by the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily, but it is not considered an official publication and does not speak for the government.
Chinese media outlets have been told not to independently report on Trump’s overnight tweets or tweet about them, and instead adhere to any report from the official Xinhua news agency, said a source with direct knowledge of the matter.
Global financial markets, which had been expecting news of a trade deal soon, went into a tailspin. U.S. equity futures fell more than 2 percent and stocks across trade-reliant Asia tumbled, with China’s main indexes plunging 5 percent.
“There is still a question of whether this is one of the famous Trump negotiation tactics, or are we really going to see some drastic increase in tariffs,” said Nick Twidale, Sydney-based analyst at Rakuten Securities Australia. If it’s the latter, we’ll see massive downside pressure across all markets.
Trump said tariffs on $200 billion of goods would increase to 25 percent on Friday from 10 percent, reversing a decision he made in February to keep them at the 10 percent rate thanks to progress between the two sides.
The president also said he would target a further $325 billion of Chinese goods with 25 percent tariffs “shortly,” essentially covering all products imported to the United States from China.
Mindful of his 2020 re-election bid, Trump suggested the measures were not leading to price increases for U.S. consumers. “The Tariffs paid to the USA have had little impact on product cost, mostly borne by China,” he tweeted.
Tariffs on Chinese goods are actually paid to the United States by the companies importing the goods, and most of those companies are U.S.-based. American businesses, while supportive of Trump’s crackdown on China’s trade practices, are eager for the tariffs to be removed, not expanded.
“Raising tariffs means raising taxes on millions of American families and inviting further retaliation on American farmers,” said Christin Fernandez, a spokeswoman for the Retail Industry Leaders Association.
Nevertheless, the president’s aggressive strategy drew rare bipartisan support from U.S. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who urged Trump to “hang tough” in a tweet: “Don’t back down. Strength is the only way to win with China.”
One Chinese trade expert said recent signs of resilience in both economies were breeding over-confidence.
“The urgency is gone. So, it’s likely to see a longer trade war,” the expert said, speaking on condition of anonymity citing the sensitivity of the topic.
The trade war resulted in billions of dollars of losses for both sides in 2018, hitting industries including autos, technology – and above all, agriculture, while inflicting collateral damage on export-reliant economies and companies from Japan to Germany.
NOT GETTING CLOSE?
Trump’s move could backfire, said Tai Hui, Asia-Pacific chief market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.
“As we learnt a year ago, Beijing could be willing to walk away if the U.S. applies negotiation tactics that they don’t agree with. That said, both sides have invested significant time and resources to come this far…”
On Friday, Trump said talks with China were going well.. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called the round in Beijing “productive,” and one White House official told Reuters that dates were being looked at for a potential meeting between Presidents Trump and Xi Jinping in June.
Last week, industry sources said they believed the talks were in the endgame, but a Trump administration official said aides had told the president that significant hurdles remained.
The increase in U.S. tariffs on Friday would be the first since Trump imposed 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods in September, coming on top of 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of goods enacted earlier last year.
Negotiations about tariffs have been one of the remaining sticking points between the two sides. China wants the tariffs to be lifted, while Trump wants to keep some, if not all, of them as part of any final deal to ensure China lives up to its commitments, a White House official said on Sunday.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason and David Shepardson; Additional reporting by Timothy Gardner and Lawrence Hurley in Washington, and Sinead Carew in New York, and Ben Blanchard, Michael Martina, Shu Zhang, Jing Xu, Cheng Leng and Yawen Chen in Beijing; Editing by Peter Cooney and Kim Coghill)
5/6/2019 Oil prices slump after Trump’s tariff threat against China by Ahmad Ghaddar
Pumpjacks are seen against the setting sun at the Daqing oil field in
Heilongjiang province, China December 7, 2018. Picture taken December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer
LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices tumbled on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would sharply raise tariffs on Chinese goods this week, risking the derailment of trade talks between the world’s two biggest economies.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $60.83 per barrel at 0832 GMT, down $1.11. WTI hit $60.04 earlier in the session, its lowest since March 29.
Brent crude futures were at $69.78 per barrel, down $1.07. Brent earlier hit its lowest since April 2 at $68.79.
Trump said on Twitter on Sunday that he would hike U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods this week, pulling down global financial markets, including oil futures.
“Trump’s sudden hard line on China tariffs has spooked investors, who are scrambling to reduce their risk levels in the markets,” said Jasper Lawler, head of research at futures brokerage London Capital Group.
“The prospect of months of trade talks being derailed by Trump has raised concerns over future demand for oil,” he added.
Trump’s move triggered reports that China may cancel or cut short trade talks scheduled with Washington this week.
“News of rising tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods at the end of this week has outweighed the announcement that the U.S. is to send a strike group to the Persian Gulf,” Vienna-based consultancy JBC Energy said.
In a sign of rising tensions in the region, the United States is deploying a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East.
The deployment sends a clear message to Iran that any attack on U.S. interests or its allies will be met with “unrelenting force,” U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said on Sunday.
Within the oil industry, there are signs of a further rise in output from the United States, where crude production has surged by more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) since early 2018 to a record 12.3 million bpd.
The United States is now the world’s biggest oil producer, ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabia.
The number of rigs drilling for gas in the United States fell by three to 183 in the week to May 3, while oil-directed drilling rigs rose by two to 807, data from oil services firm Baker Hughes showed on Friday.
(Additional reporting by Henning Gloystein in Singapore; Editing by Dale Hudson)
5/6/2019 Pompeo warns of Russian, Chinese presence along Arctic trade routes by OAN Newsroom
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a warning against China and Russia’s presence in the Arctic.
During a press conference with the Arctic Council in Finland Monday, he called out China’s aggressive attempts to establish infrastructure in the region. Pompeo pointed out Beijing only holds “observer” status in the counsel, and does not have the right to push their economic agenda in the area.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks on Arctic policy at the Lappi Areena in Rovaniemi, Finland, Monday, May 6, 2019.
Pompeo is in Rovaniemi to attend the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting. (Mandel Ngan/Pool photo via AP)
The U.S. secretary of state said given China’s poor track record with emissions, its attempts to establish an economic foothold in the Arctic could do major harm to the environment.
“Do we want the Arctic Ocean to transform into a new South China Sea, fraught with militarization and competing territorial claims?” he asked. “Do we want the fragile Arctic environment exposed to the same ecological devastation caused by China’s fishing fleet in the seas off its coast or unregulated industry activity in its own country?”
Pompeo pivoted to blast Russia’s attempts to unlawfully police foreign vessels along the Arctic coastline. He also said the Kremlin’s attempts to expand its military in the region could lead to territorial conflicts.
5/6/2019 President Trump tweets OANN story revealing Democrats’ fear of him winning reelection by OAN Newsroom
In a recent tweet, President Trump referenced a One America News story in which Democrat Al Green said impeachment is the only way to prevent him from being reelected.
On Monday, the president said “Democrats can’t win the election fairly.” He added, “you can’t impeach a president for creating the best economy in U.S. history.”
In a second tweet, he said “there are no high crimes, collusion, conspiracy or obstruction” within his presidency. Instead, President Trump said all the crimes are on the other side, but Democrats won’t look at that.
Trump tweet: “Democrat Texas Congressman Al Green says impeachment is the only thing that can prevent President Trump from re-election in 2020.” @OANN In other words, Dems can’t win the election fairly. You can’t impeach a president for creating the best economy in our country’s history..... Also, there are “No High Crimes & Misdemeanors,” No Collusion, No Conspiracy, No Obstruction. ALL THE CRIMES ARE ON THE OTHER SIDE, and that’s what the Dems should be looking at, but they won’t. Nevertheless, the tables are turning!”
Green alleged America is facing a “constitutional crisis” amid a standoff between the administration and a Democrat-controlled House. He went on to say impeachment is a moral imperative for Democrats.
Rep. Al Green (D-TX). (Godofredo A. Vasquez/AP Photo)
“We must impeach this president — If you don’t, it’s not the soul of the nation that will be at risk only, it is the soul of the Congress that’s at risk,” Green claimed. “If we allow political expediency to trump moral imperative, we will have created a shameful situation that this Congress will never live down — history won’t be kind to us, we must impeach him.”
Green also urged Democrats to put people above party in a desperate plea to advance impeachment proceedings.
[The Texas people who voted Al Green must of been on the opiod's being smuggled in or sat out in the Texas sun too long.].
5/6/2019 Pelosi accused of double standard after accusing AG Barr of contempt by OAN Newsroom
Conservatives are pointing out a double standard by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, following her remarks toward Attorney General William Barr.
Pelosi quickly jumped on board with House Judiciary chair Jerry Nadler’s call to hold Barr in contempt of Congress after he refused to testify before a House committee last week.
Back in 2012 however, Pelosi assailed the decision to hold Obama-era Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for failing to supply documents related to a controversial arms deal with Mexico. She called the move a “political scheme” orchestrated by the Republican Party.
“What we have seen is a shameful display of abusive power by the Republicans in the House of Representatives…they are holding the attorney general of the United States in contempt of Congress for doing his job,” she once stated.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talks to the media at a news conference on
Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 2, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
This comes as Democrats to release Mueller’s full report, accusing the attorney general of “misrepresenting” the special counsel’s findings.
Mueller is set to testify before Congress on May 15th; however, President Trump has suggested he may block the move.
5/7/2019 Oil up $0.31 to $62.25, DOW down 67 to 26,438.
5/7/2019 Wednesday contempt vote scheduled for Barr - Refusal to release full Mueller report at issue by Bart Jansen, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – The House Judiciary Committee will vote Wednesday on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to provide special counsel Robert Mueller’s entire report to lawmakers.
The clash sets up a constitutional showdown between the executive and legislative branches over how much information the Justice Department must provide to Congress. The fight is one facet of a variety of investigations that House committees launched against the president and his administration.
Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said Barr’s failure to comply with a subpoena for the full report left no choice but to initiate contempt proceedings. But Nadler said the vote could be postponed if Barr engages in good-faith negotiations about the report and its underlying evidence.
“Even in redacted form, the special counsel’s report offers disturbing evidence and analysis that President (Donald) Trump engaged in obstruction of justice at the highest levels,” Nadler said.
“Congress must see the full report and underlying evidence to determine how to best move forward with oversight, legislation and other constitutional responsibilities.”
But the top Republican on the committee, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, said Nadler’s subpoena would have forced Barr to break the law by forcing the release of grand-jury information that is typically kept confidential unless released by a judge.
“Democrats have launched a proxy war smearing the attorney general when their anger actually lies with the president and the special counsel, who found neither conspiracy nor obstruction,” Collins said.
The Judiciary Committee fight has been brewing for weeks, since Mueller submitted his 448-page report to Barr on March 22.
Barr initially released a four-page summary of conclusions that Mueller reached, in finding no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russians seeking to influence the 2016 election. Mueller found 10 episodes of potential obstruction of justice, but reached no decision on whether to charge Trump. Barr consulted with other Justice Department lawyers before deciding no obstruction charges were warranted.
Barr released a redacted version of Mueller’s report April 18. Barr withheld four types of information from the report dealing with grand-jury evidence, information that could affect pending cases, intelligence secrets or information that could affect the privacy of people not charged.
House Democratic leaders including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have insisted on seeing the entire report. Nadler set a deadline of Monday for the full report.
But Barr said he has provided as much transparency as possible about the report.
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., says Congress must see the full report
by special counsel Robert Mueller. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP
[If Nadler continues this then Attorney General Barr should send the FBI to arrest him for trying to force him to break the law, and maybe that will shut him up. The Democrats are desperate because they know that Barr will be receiving investigations how the Mueller investigation began and will uncover the real collusion and they are trying to make Barr look bad anyway they can, but they do not realize but the God in Heaven is setting them up for their fall from graces.]
5/7/2019 Ex-prosecutors: Trump would’ve been charged if not president
WASHINGTON – Nearly 400 former federal prosecutors said in a letter that President Donald Trump would have been charged with obstruction of justice for his acts if he were anyone other than president. The letter, signed by more than 370 ex-prosecutors, was released by Protect Democracy, a nonprofit organization critical of the Trump administration. The former Justice Department prosecutors said special counsel Robert Mueller’s report “describes several acts that satisfy all of the elements for an obstruction charge.”
[No collusion, No obstruction noted that all above are Democrats.]
5/7/2019 Booker proposes national license for all gun owners
WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker is proposing that all gun owners be licensed by the federal government, a process that would include an interview and safety training. National licensing is one of more than a dozen proposals the U.S. senator released Monday. His agenda includes universal background checks for gun buyers; the reinstitution of a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; and the modernization of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
[Beware they are trying to continue to take away your Second Amendment rights, already ATF did Tobacco, tried Alcohol and still trying Firearms, vote them out.]
5/7/2019 Former CIA official: FBI’s actions against 2016 Trump campaign constitute spying by OAN Newsroom
A former CIA official is backing reports which claim the Obama-era FBI did have measures in place to spy on the 2016 Trump campaign.
Former counterintelligence chief James Olson made the comments during an interview with Hill.TV on Monday. Olson said the bureau’s alleged efforts to obtain information under false pretenses from former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos would technically constitute as spying.
This comes as the New York Times reported last week the FBI sent an informant to meet with Papadopoulos amid allegations of Russian interference.
“Well it does sound like spying, spying can take many forms and the art of spying has evolved. There are a lot of technical ways now that spying can be done, but the old fashioned ways of misrepresenting yourself or approaching someone under false pretenses is still kind of the tried and true. And that sounds like what happened here. I think that person did misrepresent their purpose, and was looking for information, looking for possible compromise — yeah I’d call that spying.” — James Olson, former CIA counterintelligence chief
Former FBI Director James Comey. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Even former FBI Director James Comey admitted the agency used what he called “limited tools” in its operation against the Trump campaign:
“What should the FBI do when it gets that information? It should investigate to figure out whether any Americans are hooked up with this massive interference effort, and that’s what we did and as I said earlier, we should have been fired if we didn’t. There’s no way you would do other than what we did, which was use limited tools to try to understand: Is this true?”
Olson’s comments come as many are calling for criminal referrals over the alleged abuse of authority and political bias at the Obama-era FBI.
[You better start worrying Comey your time is coming, as well as McCabe, Stroyk, etc..].
5/7/2019 McConnell: Mueller probe ‘case closed’ by OAN Newsroom
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declared “case closed” on the special counsel’s finding of no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. He also slammed the left for not moving on.
During a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, McConnell said Democrats are angry the facts disappointed them and angry the legal system will not “magically undo” the 2016 election for them. He also suggested Democrats are channeling “partisan anger” at Attorney General William Barr for “no legitimate reason,” and called him a convenient target.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, is followed by reporters as he walks to
his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
McConnell then outlined what he called an “outrage industrial complex” on the left and in the media.
“There’s this outrage industrial complex…that spans from Capitol press conferences to cable news, they’re grieving…that the national crisis they spent two-years wishing for did not materialize, but for the rest of the country — this is good news,” he stated.
McConnell also reminded his liberal colleagues there are serious issues the American people want Congress to tackle.
5/8/2019 Oil down $0.65 to $61.40, DOW down 473 to 25,965.
5/8/2019 FBI chief sees no illegal spying on Trump camp - Wray declines to discuss investigation in detail by Eric Tucker and Michael Balsamo, ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON – FBI Director Chris Wray said Tuesday that he does not consider court-approved FBI surveillance to be “spying” and said he has no evidence the FBI illegally monitored President Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election.
His comments at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing broke from Attorney General William Barr, who has said that he believed the Trump campaign had been spied on during an investigation into potential collusion with Russia. Trump seized on those comments as part of his allegation that the investigation was tainted by law enforcement bias. Asked by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, DN. H., whether he would say the FBI is “spying” when it investigates suspected terrorists and mobsters while following “investigative policies and procedures,” Wray replied, “Well, that’s not the term I would use.”
He added: “I believe that the FBI is engaged in investigative activity, and part of investigative activity includes surveillance activity of different shapes and sizes. And to me, the key question is making sure that it’s done by the book, consistent with our lawful authorities. That’s the key question. Different people use different colloquial phrases.”
Wray declined to discuss in detail the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign because of an ongoing Justice Decommunications partment inspector general probe into the origins of the Russia inquiry. Barr has said he expects the watchdog report to be done in May or June.
But asked whether he was aware of evidence that the FBI had illegally spied on the Trump campaign, Wray said, “I don’t think I personally have any evidence of that sort.”
Barr is investigating whether there was a proper basis for the FBI to open a counterintelligence investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Barr didn’t specify what he meant when he said he believed there had been spying on the Trump campaign, though he also said that he did not mean the word in a negative way.
The FBI obtained a secret surveillance warrant in 2016 to monitor the of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The New York Times also reported last week that the FBI used a woman posing as a research assistant to approach ex-Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who had earlier been told by a Maltese professor that Russia had “dirt” on Democrat Hillary Clinton in the form of stolen emails.
In his book about his entanglement in the Russia probe, “Deep State Target,” Papadopoulos wrote that the woman, who identified herself as Azra Turk, asked him about his work with the Trump campaign.
“She wants to know: Are we working with Russia?” he wrote.
He described her question as “creepy” and said he told her he had “nothing to do with Russia.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee he does not
consider lawful FBI investigations spying. CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES
[Wray came in after all had been covered up and probably buried from access too even him by Clapper and Brennen.]
5/8/2019 Senate leader: ‘Case closed’ by Bart Jansen, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared Tuesday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference is over, despite House Democrats pursuing more information.
“Case closed,” McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor about Mueller’s key finding that his investigation did not establish that anybody from President Donald Trump’s campaign conspired with Russians to influence the election.
McConnell compared Democratic complaints over the need to continue the 22-month investigation to the movie “Groundhog Day,” where the protagonist repeats the same day over and over. He also called efforts for continued investigation “unhinged partisanship” that would keep the country divided.
But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Republicans dragged their feet on efforts to enhance election security and instead sought to discourage investigations of Trump because of fears about where they would lead.
“What we have here is a concerted effort to circle the wagons, to protect the president from accountability, to whitewash his reprehensible conduct by simply declaring it irrelevant,” Schumer said.
5/8/2019 Trump’s threatened 25% tariff would hurt economy, some say - Consumers would face higher prices, job losses by Paul Davidson, USA TODAY
The Trump administration’s 10% tariff on $200 billion in Chinese imports has been a nuisance, with many U.S. businesses absorbing the cost or working around it.
But President Donald Trump’s threat over the weekend to hike the duty to 25% would dramatically compound the damage as the lion’s share of the costs are passed to consumers, taking a toll on the economy as well as company profits.
“A sudden tariff increase with less than a week’s notice would severely disrupt U.S. businesses, especially small companies that have limited resources to mitigate the impact,” says David French, senior vice president of government relations for the National Retail Federation. “American consumers will face higher prices, and U.S.jobs will be lost.”
The tariff would affect nearly 6,000 products and parts, including many consumer items such as furniture, clothing, electronics, handbags, luggage, hardware, shampoo, perfume, dishes, bedsheets, bicycles, meat and cereal. New-vehicle prices also could rise as parts from China become more expensive, Bank of America Merrill Lynch auto analyst John Murphy said in a research note Monday.
AudioControl, which makes highend audio equipment, imports about 25% of its parts from China, says Alex Camara, CEO of the Seattle-based company. Of the 10% tariff, he says, “We’ve primarily absorbed the cost, which has been painful.”
But if the tariff climbs to 25%, “it’s impossible to absorb,” he says. “10% has hurt our margins, but 25% is a severe impact.” And with the higher tariff slated to take effect Friday, he says, “You can’t even plan for that.”
Camara estimates he would have to raise overall prices to dealers and retailers by 8% to 12%, costs that would be passed to consumers and that could crimp sales.
All told, the 25% tariff on the $200 billion in Chinese imports, along with existing duties on $50 billion in Chinese shipments and on steel and aluminum, would reduce U.S. employment by 934,000 and cost the average family of four $767 a year, according
to a study by the Trade Partnership. Trump’s threatened 25% tariff would make up a significant portion of that toll.
Put another way, Trump’s levies on the total $250 billion in shipments from China have barely been a blip for the economy, trimming growth by an estimated tenth of a percentage point for all of 2019, according to Oxford Economics. But increasing the tariff on the $200 billion in imports to 25% would triple the impact to three-tenths of a percentage point, taking a substantial bite out of U.S. growth that many economists forecast at about 2.2% this year.
Trump also has threatened to slap a 25% tariff on the remaining $325 billion in imported goods from China “shortly.” Such a move, along with the other duties, would cost the U.S. 2.1 million jobs and the average family of four more than $2,000 a year, the Trade Partnership study says.
The outlook isn’t all bleak. Some industries are expected to add jobs as the tariffs lead some businesses to buy U.S.-made goods, including steel, textile, apparel and electronic equipment manufacturers.
Contributing: Yan Zhang and Nathan Bomey
President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are likely to resume negotiations. AFP/GETTY IMAGES
5/8/2019 President Trump touts ruling on asylum policy as ‘big win’ on immigration by OAN Newsroom
President Trump has been highly critical of the asylum system, and has said it encourages fraud. He has continuously urged lawmakers to rid of it. The Trump administration is cracking down on immigrants, who are trying to game the system.
“This endemic abuse of the asylum system makes a mockery of our immigration system,” stated President Trump.
Back in December, the Department of Homeland Security introduced the so-called “remain in Mexico” policy to address concerns of asylum seekers failing to show up for their immigration hearings. Under the policy, which is officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols, asylum seekers are processed by U.S. immigration officials, and some are sent back to Mexico to wait for their immigration court hearing.
A federal judge had ordered the program to be temporarily halted in March after 11 asylum seekers and immigration advocates filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security citing safety concerns.
“Are there procedures to ensure safety for these individuals the government is sending back, and what we pointed out is that in all other context people get a far more rigorous hearing than they’re getting here,” stated ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.
A panel of judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has since reversed the ruling, allowing the Trump administration to continue to enforce its policy.
Trump tweet: “Big Court win at our Southern Border! We are getting there - and Wall is being built!”
Migrants on a bus are transferred for deportation from an immigration detention center in
Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico, Saturday, April 27, 2019. Thousands of migrants remain on the southern border of Mexico waiting for
documents that allow them to stay legally in the country. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
“We will not allow our generosity to be abused by those who would break our laws, defy our rules, violate our borders,” said President Trump.
The case could go all the way up to the Supreme Court after some judges disagreed with the decision. For now, however, the Trump administration will be allowed to implement its “remain in Mexico” policy until a final ruling has been made.
5/8/2019 President Trump asserts executive privilege for unredacted Mueller report by OAN Newsroom
President Trump is asserting his executive privilege to block the release of the full unredacted Mueller report.
In a letter to House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler Wednesday, the Justice Department revealed it will not comply with any subpoenas. The department said the president is using his privilege for the entirety of the requested materials.
President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Soon after the announcement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders released a statement accusing Nadler of abusing his power and using the report to “distract” from the president’s historically successful agenda.
Sarah Sanders tweet: “Statement on Executive Privilege”
Meanwhile, the Judiciary Committee is preparing to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of ongress over his refusal to comply with a subpoena for the full Mueller report and underlying evidence. The Democrat-led panel approved a vote to consider a contempt citation against Barr in a 22-to-12 party line vote Wednesday.
This comes despite the Department of Justice warning the panel the attorney general would have to ask the president to invoke executive privilege regarding the report and underlying evidence if they went through with the contempt process.
During consideration, ranking member Doug Collins accused Democrats of being afraid of the possible findings of Barr’s ongoing investigation:
“Democrats are afraid of what the attorney general will find when he completes his ongoing review of FISA abuses of the Justice Department, including how the Russia investigation began. Multiple news reports have suggested those could be explosive, could end careers, and could even lead to criminal prosecution. Rather than face that, the Democrats have resolved to neutralize Will Barr by attacking him and the office, his integrity, and his career.”
The matter now will be voted on by the whole House of Representatives.
5/9/2019 Oil up $0.72 to $62.12, DOW up 2 to 25,967.
5/9/2019 House panel votes to hold Barr in contempt - Clash between branches of government escalates by Bart Jansen and Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over an unredacted version of the Russia report after an acrimonious session underscoring the country’s widening political divide.
The rare rebuke approved by a partyline vote of 24-16 after 5 1 /2 hours of debate triggered a new escalation of tensions between the Trump administration and House Democrats pressing for a deeper examination of the president and his outside business empire.
The contempt citation for Barr is the first in a likely series of punitive actions the House is weighing against the administration, which has sought to limit or deny lawmakers’ access to witnesses and documents.
The worst possible consequences for Barr – criminal prosecution, jail time and/or fines – aren’t likely because the Justice Department typically declines to pursue charges for contempt of Congress.
Instead, the vote sends perhaps the most powerful message Congress can muster in its oversight of the executive branch and is a prelude to filing a civil lawsuit for special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report.
Minutes before Wednesday’s hearing, President Donald Trump took the extraordinary action of asserting execprove utive privilege in an attempt to further block Congress from parts of Mueller’s report that Barr redacted.
The clash between the executive and legislative branches sets in motion a constitutional showdown over how much information the Justice Department must provide to Congress.
Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., accused the Justice Department of moving forward with a “clear escalation” of differences with the House by asserting executive privilege over the documents sought by the committee. He called the department’s action an “unprecedented obstruction by the administration, which has now vowed to block all attempts at government oversight.”
Before adopting the contempt resolution, the committee voted 20-12 to ap- a Nadler amendment that rejected Trump’s claim of executive privilege to block access to the report.
But the top Republican on the committee, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, blasted the resolution as a continuation of the Democrats’ “war on the administration” through a “cynical, counterproductive” action.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders repeated Trump’s belief that Mueller and others should not have to testify before the House, and the Mueller report should be the last work on the Russia investigation.
“This is over,” Sanders said. “I am 100% certain Jerry Nadler is not going to find something that Mueller couldn’t.”
The resolution now heads to the full House for a vote.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., oversees a committee debate Wednesday. JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE
5/9/2019 Senate Democrats request Mueller hearing by OAN Newsroom
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are calling on chairman Lindsey Graham to bring Robert Mueller in for a hearing.
In a letter sent to Graham Wednesday, Senator Dianne Feinstein said there are 60 unanswered questions related to Mueller’s investigation that she and other Democrats would like to grill him about. Previously, however, Graham said he would not be bringing Mueller in for a hearing.
The Leaky Letter lady speaks and we need answers of who leaked it
Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., left, and ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., right,
speak as Attorney General William Barr testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill
in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2019, on the Mueller Report. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
“Why not call for Muller to testify?” a reported asked Graham.
“Because I’m not going to do anymore, enough already, it’s over,” he replied sternly. “If there is any dispute about a conversation then he’ll come, but I’m not going to retry the case…it is over.”
The House Judiciary Committee has set a tentative date for Mueller to testify before their committee on May 15th, but these plans have not yet been finalized.
5/9/2019 HHS Secretary Azar: Drug companies gouging patients with high prices by OAN Newsroom
The secretary of Health and Human Services is calling out drug companies over the prices of their products as President Trump works to make drug prices more transparent.
In an interview Thursday, the Secretary Alex Azar said inflated drug prices are not the result of recovering costs. He said patients are still being gouged at the pharmacy counter.
Azar questioned when a patient should be seeing the price — at the point of advertisement or seeing the “sticker shock” at the pharmacy? He said there was no need for prices to increase as much as 20-percent every year.
FILE – In this March 13, 2019, file photo Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar testifies
before a House Appropriations subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Azar says drugmakers will soon have
to reveal prices of their prescription medicines in those ever-present TV ads. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
“If the drug companies are embarrassed or afraid that patients will be scared off by their drug prices, reduce your prices — it’s that simple,” stated Azar.
His comments come as the Trump administration announced drugmakers must begin listing their prices in TV commercials starting in July.
5/9/2019 Colo. students leave hero’s vigil after Democrats promote gun control by OAN Newsroom
A vigil for a Colorado school shooting hero abruptly led to student protests. Students at STEM School Highlands Ranch spoke out against two Democrat congressmen, who promoted gun control at the vigil for 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo. The gathering was meant to honor Castillo, who died after trying to stop one the shooters in Tuesday’s incident.
Once lawmakers took the stage to politicize the shooting by promoting gun control, students walked out in protest.
They said their grief was not a prop for politicians.
Students and other attendees walk out of a community vigil held to honor the victims and survivors of yesterday’s fatal shooting
at the STEM School Highlands Ranch, late Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
“What has happened at STEM is awful, but it’s not a statistic. We can’t be used for a reason for gun control. We are people not a statement. We wanted Kendrick to be mourned. We wanted all of you to join us in that mourning, but that was not allowed here.” — unidentified STEM School Highlands Ranch student.
The event to recognize Castillo “was reportedly hosted by a student group from a different school, which advocates for gun control." They had invited the STEM School students to attend, but it was clear the survivors also wanted a chance to be heard.
5/10/2019 Oil down $0.42 to $61.70, DOW down 139 to 25,828.
5/10/2019 U.S. escalates trade war amid negotiations, China says will hit back by David Lawder and Yawen Chen
A general view of Kwai Tsing Container Terminals for transporting shipping containers
in Hong Kong, China July 25, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip
WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) – The United States escalated a tariff war with China on Friday by hiking levies on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods in the midst of last-ditch talks to rescue a trade deal.
But even as Beijing threatened retaliation, negotiators agreed to stay at the table in Washington for a second day, keeping alive hopes of an eventual agreement that would remove a major threat to the global economy.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who has adopted protectionist policies as part of his “America First” agenda, issued orders for the tariff increase, saying China “broke the deal” by reneging on earlier commitments made during months of negotiations.
China’s Commerce Ministry said it would take countermeasures, without elaborating.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin talked for 90 minutes on Thursday and were expected to resume efforts on Friday to rescue a deal that could end a 10-month trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
The Commerce Ministry said negotiations were continuing, and that it “hopes the United States can meet China halfway, make joint efforts, and resolve the issue through cooperation and consultation.”
With negotiations in progress, U.S. Customs and Border Protection imposed the new 25% duty on more than 5,700 categories of products leaving China after 12:01 a.m. EDT (0401 GMT) on Friday.
Seaborne cargoes shipped from China before midnight were not subject to the new tax as long as they arrive in the United States prior to June 1. Those cargoes will be charged the original 10% rate.
The grace period was not applied to three previous rounds of tariffs imposed last year on Chinese goods, which had much longer notice periods of at least three weeks before the duties took effect.
“This delay might create an unofficial window during which the U.S. and China can continue to negotiate,” investment bank Goldman Sachs wrote in a note, adding that it was a “somewhat positive sign” that talks were continuing.
Trump gave U.S. importers less than five days notice about his decision to increase the rate on the $200 billion category of goods, which now matches the rate on a prior $50 billion category of Chinese machinery and technology goods.
He has also threatened to impose new tariffs soon.
“NO GREATER THREAT TO GROWTH”
U.S. stock futures fell and Asian shares pared gains after Washington went ahead with the tariff hike, reflecting worries that a broader, more protracted trade war would inflict greater damage on the global economy. A major world index looked set for its worst week since December.
“There is no greater threat to world growth,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Friday.
The added levy could reduce U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.3% and China’s by 0.8% in 2020, consultancy Oxford Economics said.
“A quarter of our members have exports to the U.S. that were already affected by these ridiculous tariffs,” said Mats Harborn, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.
“Pushing rates to 25% will prove extremely damaging to those companies, and the collateral damage will ripple around the globe. European companies are watching aghast as the U.S. and China play Russian roulette with the world economy.”
In April 2018, when Trump’s tariffs were still largely just threats, China’s Commerce Ministry responded to his escalatory tweets by declaring that the two sides could not conduct negotiations “under these conditions.”
But more than a year later, Liu was in Washington trying to save the deal even as Trump warned that the U.S. would start “paperwork” on another $325 billion in Chinese imports, after raising tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods.
“I think the Chinese in the end will want to keep negotiations going. The question is: where do they go for retaliation?” said James Green, a senior adviser at McLarty Associates who until August was the top USTR official at the embassy in Beijing.
Green expected China to increase non-tariff barriers on U.S. companies, such as delaying regulatory approvals, as it couldn’t hit the same amount of imported U.S. goods with higher tariffs.
The biggest Chinese sector affected by the latest tariff hike is a $20 billion-plus category of internet modems, routers and other data transmission devices, followed by about $12 billion worth of printed circuit boards used in a vast array of U.S.-made products.
Furniture, lighting products, auto parts, vacuum cleaners and building materials are also high on the list of products subject to higher duties.
Just hours after the U.S. move, which will add pressure on an already slowing Chinese economy, China’s central bank said it was fully able to cope with any external uncertainty.
“Facing internal and external economic changes, our country’s monetary policy has ample room (to respond) and our money policy tool-kit is rich,” Sun Guofeng, head of monetary policy department at the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), told reporters in Beijing.
On Monday, hours after Trump said he intended to raise tariffs, the PBOC cut the amount of reserves that some small and medium-sized banks need to hold, freeing up more funds for lending to cash-strapped firms.
Fu Xubo, a 32-year-old sports equipment wholesaler in the eastern city of Yiwu, used to have several small U.S. clients. Since the trade war began, all of their orders have dried up.
“Regarding Mr. Trump’s tariff policy, honestly, we just don’t understand it,” Fu said. “Since we have already joined the World Trade Organization, logically shouldn’t tariffs have continued to decrease?”
Gary Shapiro, chief executive of the Consumer Technology Association, said the tariffs would be paid by American consumers and businesses, not China, as Trump has claimed.
“Our industry supports more than 18 million U.S. jobs – but raising tariffs will be disastrous,” Shapiro said in a statement.
It may take three or four months for American shoppers to feel the pinch, but retailers will have little choice but to raise prices to cover the rising cost of imports before too long, economists and industry consultants say.
Even without the trade war, China-U.S. relations have continued to deteriorate, with an uptick in tensions over the South China Sea, Taiwan, human rights and China’s plan to re-create the old Silk Road, called the Belt and Road Initiative.
(Reporting by David Lawder in Washington, and Yawen Chen, Michael Martina, Ryan Woo, Ben Blanchard and Kevin Yao in Beijing, and Xihao Jiang in Shanghai; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore & Kim Coghill)
5/10/2019 Investors pull more than $20 billion from stocks on ‘trade deal trauma’: BAML
FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
LONDON (Reuters) – Global equities have seen outflows of $20.5 billion in the past week as “trade deal trauma” pushed more money into bonds, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said on Friday, the latest sign of how growing global trade tensions are roiling financial markets.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweets on Sunday night, threatening to raise tariffs on Chinese imports, upended the previously calm market and wiped roughly $2 trillion from global equities this week.
“Risk pullback since May 1st highs follows furious rally, initiated by less-dovish PBoC/Fed, accelerated by trade trauma this week,” the bank’s strategists said, referring to central bank policies of the People’s Bank of China and Federal Reserve.
The cash leaving stocks in the week to May 8 was the third biggest outflow so far this year, the bank said, and came as Trump threatened further import tariffs on Chinese goods, ratchetting up the prolonged trade spat between the world’s two largest economies.
U.S. equities had outflows of $14 billion, the biggest since Jan. 30, BAML said, citing data from flow tracking specialist EPFR. The S&P 500 has risen 14.5% year-to-date.
Investors, seeking shelter from the trade dispute, kept pumping money into bonds, which saw inflows of $7.3 billion, making it the eighteenth straight week of inflows.
“A trade war, with across-the-board tariffs on US-China trade, would push the global economy towards recession,” BAML warned in a separate note to clients.
(Reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan; Editing by Josephine Mason and Peter Graff)
5/10/2019 Cabinet members attend rare meeting at CIA headquarters amid Iranian threat by OAN Newsroom
The seal of the Central Intelligence Agency at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Details of a secret meeting are beginning to surface, while Iran continues to retaliate against U.S. efforts for denuclearization.
Last week, various important officials — including National Security Adviser John Bolton, CIA Director Gina Haspel, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — met together to discuss matters in Iran. The cabinet officials met outside the White House Situation Room, which is reportedly extremely rare.
The National Security Council would not comment as to what was discussed during the meeting, but sources have said it was likely about covert operations given the meeting’s location at CIA headquarters.
The officials met just days after the U.S. fast-tracked an aircraft carrier and bombers to the Persian Gulf. According to sources close to the matter, Intelligence was warned Tehran approved proxy forces to attack U.S. personnel and assets in the region.
The USS Abraham Lincoln sails south in the Suez canal near Ismailia, Thursday, May 9, 2019. The White House said Wednesday it dispatched the
aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf over what it described as a new threat from Iran. (Suez Canal Authority via AP)
President Trump confirmed it was a matter of national and foreign security.
“Well, they were threatening…we have information that you don’t want to know about," he stated. “They were very threatening…we have to have great security for this country and for a lot of other places.”
It’s been one year since President Trump left the Iran Nuclear agreement, which offered Tehran relief on sanctions in exchange for a curbed nuclear program. Instead, the president took a hard-line approach with the Middle Eastern country and reintroduced tough penalties in hopes to put enough pressure on them to stop their nuclear program.
However, Iran has only scaled back on their obligations to the nuclear deal. On Wednesday, they threatened to resume uranium production unless other global powers in the pact agreed to help them skirt the sanctions.
“Under the terms of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action we agreed that we would keep enrichment to the level of 3.67,” stated Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. “We will stop adhering to this and there will no longer be a set level for enrichment of uranium.”
Worshippers chant slogans against the United States and Israel during a rally after Friday prayers in Tehran, Iran, Friday, May 10, 2019.
A top commander in Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said Friday that Tehran will not talk with the United States, an Iranian news agency
reported — a day after President Donald Trump said he’d like Iranian leaders to “call me.” (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Hours after the announcement, a White House official responded saying the U.S. is willing to put more sanctions on Iran very soon if they follow through. Analysts say more sanctions could be detrimental for Iran’s economy, which is already doing poorly.
Earlier this week, the National Security Council stated the White House is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but they are fully prepared to fight back if prompted by an attack on the U.S. or its allies.
President Trump said he is still willing to negotiate deals with Iran if they abandon their nuclear program.
5/10/2019 How did the U.S.-China trade war escalate? by OAN Newsroom
Over the course of his presidency, President Trump has placed significant pressure on China to come to a fair trade agreement with the U.S. The question is — how did the trade war, which has been called “the most costly trade conflict” in economic history, get to this point?
President Trump has a long history of criticizing China for unfair trade practices. He often cited a $500 billion trade deficit between the two countries, during his 2016 presidential campaign.
“We can’t allow China to rape our country, and that’s what they’re doing,” he stated.
China Shipping Company and other containers are stacked at the Virginia International’s
terminal in Portsmouth, Va., Friday, May 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Since then, the U.S. has implemented a number of hikes on Chinese products. They have culminated into $250 billion of tariffs applied toward Chinese goods as of September of last year, with China implementing a total of $110 billion on U.S. exports in return.
Following months of negotiations, both countries agreed to a temporary truce in December 2018, which was meant to last through January 1, 2019. Following the truce, it seemed increasingly possible that a trade deal could be reached. Both sides expressed optimism for where the negotiations were headed.
“We’re trying to work out a trade deal with China — I think it will happen, something will happen, but it’s a very big deal,” said President Trump. “If it does happen, it will be by far the largest trade deal ever made.”
This led to both sides agreeing to extend the truce until March 1, 2019 and then again indefinitely until President Trump announced a new tariff hike on May 5, 2019. President Trump defended his decision by saying higher tariffs would make China more likely to come to an agreement faster. The tariffs went into effect Friday at midnight, with both sides itching to come to an agreement.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, center, and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, third from left,
and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, left, speak together as Liu He departs the Office of the United States
Trade Representative in Washington, Friday, May 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
5/10/2019 $17.2B disaster relief package passes House vote by OAN Newsroom
A supplemental disaster relief package has passed a House vote despite push-back from Republicans and President Trump. Democrats passed the $17.2 billion package with some GOP support Friday, however, a majority of House Republicans spoke out against the bill.
This comes after President Trump urged Republicans to vote against the bill, saying it included too much money for Puerto Rico. Republicans who spoke out against the bill said they wouldn’t back it without a supplemental funding amendment to address the southern border crisis.
“The supplemental was $4.5 billion of additional money that’s needed to help with this crisis at the border,” stated House Minority Whip Steve Scalise. “I know some on the other side are in denial about the crisis, but it’s real.”
This June 18, 2018, file photo shows an aerial view of the Amelia neighborhood in the municipality of Catano, east of
San Juan, Puerto Rico. The House has passed a $19 billion disaster aid bill that would deliver long-sought relief to farmers,
victims of hurricanes and floods, and rebuild southern military bases. Democrats controlling the chamber are trying to dislodge
the legislation from a Senate logjam over aid to hurricane-slammed Puerto Rico. (AP Photo/Dennis M. Rivera, File)
Passage of the relief package looks to extend the National Flood Insurance Program through the end of September, which will provide aid to Puerto Rico and U.S. states that were hit by flooding and other natural disasters.
The bill now heads to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would like to see a measure pass before Memorial Day.
5/10/2019 Nadler: No Mueller testimony next week by OAN Newsroom
According to House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler, special counsel Robert Mueller will not be testifying to the committee next week.
While speaking to reporters on the matter Friday, Nadler said he was still in negotiations with the Justice Department over Mueller’s hearing.
The chairman also said he expects Mueller to appear before the panel eventually, and may even subpoena the special counsel if he has to.
Alex Moe tweet: “House Judiciary Chair @RepJerryNadler says negotiations with Mueller team still ongoing. Asked if he is sure he will come testify, Nadler says: 'he will come at some point, if necessary will subpoena him and he'll come'”
Nadler had tentatively slated Mueller to testify for May 15th, but it is unknown when the committee will come to an agreement with the Department of Justice.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., talks to reporters after leading his Democratic majority to vote
to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
5/10/2019 President Trump tears into former FBI Director James Comey, calls him a ‘disgrace’ by OAN Newsroom
President Trump recently took to Twitter to bash former FBI Director James Comey. In a tweet Thursday night, the president said James Comey is “a disgrace to the FBI” and will be forever be known as “the worst director” in its history.
He added, “he brought the FBI down,” but said the FBI will “regain greatness” because of the great people who work there.
Trump tweet: “James Comey is a disgrace to the FBI & will go down as the worst Director in its long and once proud history. He brought the FBI down, almost all Republicans & Democrats thought he should be FIRED, but the FBI will regain greatness because of the great men & women who work there!”
The tweet comes after Comey held a Town Hall on CNN, where he claimed there was enough evidence to prosecute the president and suggested the Department of Justice take a serious look at filing charges when the president is no longer in office.
Comey believes the Mueller report shows substantial foundation for obstruction of justice charges, which Mueller intended for either Congress or the Justice Department to move forward on.
President Donald Trump speaks during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)
5/10/2019 Exclusive: Eyeing Iran, U.S. sending more Patriot missiles to Middle East by Phil Stewart
FILE PHOTO: Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan testifies before a House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing on
the Department of Defense - FY2020 Budget request on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has approved a new deployment of Patriot missiles to the Middle East, a U.S. official told Reuters on Friday, in the latest U.S. response to what Washington sees as a growing threat from Iran.
The decision further bolsters U.S. defenses and comes after the Trump administration expedited the deployment of a carrier strike group and sent bombers to the Middle East following what it said were troubling indications of possible preparations for an attack by Iran.
The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, declined to say how many Patriot batteries would be deployed. The Patriot missile defense system is made by Raytheon Co. and is designed to intercept incoming missiles.
The decision to send Patriot missiles to the region would mark a reversal of sorts, coming just months after the Pentagon removed several Patriot batteries from the Middle East.
Last year, officials described the withdrawal of the Patriots as part of a broader effort to adjust U.S. military deployments globally, as the Pentagon sought to prioritize military challenges from Russia and China.
Tensions between Iran and the United States have escalated sharply in recent weeks.
The United States has effectively ordered countries worldwide to stop buying Iranian oil or face U.S. sanctions, which Washington says are aimed at completely choking off Iranian crude exports.
Washington last month blacklisted Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group.
U.S. officials say they have detected troubling indications that Iran could be preparing a military response.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, say one of the pieces of intelligence indicated Iran had moved missiles on boats. One of the officials said the particular missile observed was perhaps capable of launching from a small ship.
The officials also noted growing concerns about the threat from Iran-backed Shi’ite militia in Iraq, which have long avoided any confrontation with U.S. troops under the shared goal of defeating Islamic State, a Sunni militant organization.
In an advisory posted on Thursday, the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) said that since early May there had been an increased possibility of Iran or its regional proxies taking action against U.S. and partner interests.
(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Susan Thomas)
5/11/2019 Oil down $0.04 to $61.66, DOW up 114 to 25,942.
5/11/2019 Funds shifted to build wall by Robert Burns, ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON – The Pentagon is shifting $1.5 billion in funds originally targeted for support of the Afghan security forces and other projects to help pay for construction of 80 miles of wall at the U.S.-Mexican border, officials said Friday.
Congress was notified of the move Friday. It follows the Pentagon’s decision in March to transfer $1 billion from Army personnel budget accounts to support wall construction. Some lawmakers have been highly critical of the Pentagon shifting money not originally authorized for border security.
The combined total of $2.5 billion is in response to President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the border, where Customs and Border Protection personnel are struggling to cope with increasing numbers of Central American families attempting to gain entry.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said in announcing the shift of funds that the Pentagon is “fully engaged” in fixing the border crisis.
Some in Congress, however, oppose the use of the funds to build the wall.
“The Pentagon has now reprogrammed 12 times more money to the wall than for repairs for Tyndall AFB, destroyed by Hurricane Michael,” Sen. Richard Durbin wrote on Twitter. He was referring to storm damage at the Air Force base in Florida.
5/11/2019 Pres. Trump: It is Appropriate for AG Barr to look into Biden’s Ukraine Ties by OAN Newsroom
The President says it would be ‘appropriate’ for him to ask Attorney General William Barr to open a probe into business dealings between Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden and a Ukrainian Gas Company.
Former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden listens to a patron
at a Mexican restaurant Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
He made the comment in an interview with ‘Politico’ on Friday, just before his attorney Rudy Giuliani was expected to meet with Ukraine’s new President to discuss the issue.
Giuliani later canceled the meeting, calling it a set up by ‘vocal critics’ of the President.
Biden has long received scrutiny for threatening to withhold $1 Billion in aid to Ukraine back in 2016, to pressure prosecutors to throw out an investigation into a private gas company, where his son was on the board of directors.
5/11/2019 President Urges Companies to Produce Domestically to Avoid Tariffs by OAN Newsroom
President Trump is urging companies to make or produce goods domestically, in order to avoid tariffs related to the ongoing trade dispute with China.
Taking to twitter Saturday, the President said “making or producing goods and products in the good old USA” is a very simple way to avoid tariffs.
Trump tweet: “Such an easy way to avoid Tariffs? Make or produce your goods and products in the good old USA. It’s very simple!”
This comes after trade talks with China concluded earlier this week, without an agreement between the two nations.
In a statement Friday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer revealed the President had ordered him to begin the process of raising tariffs on essentially all remaining imports from China.
The United States has upped duties on $200 billion worth of goods after accusing China of going back on previous agreements, designed to answer concerns on issues such as access to markets and intellectual property rights.
President Trump has since claimed the talks had been candid and constructive, adding tariffs may or may not be removed depending on what happens with respect to future negotiations.
However, China accuses the U.S. of proposing a one-sided text for a trade agreement, saying there were passages that offended its national dignity, and denies going back on its previous commitments.
5/11/2019 Venezuela’s Guaido seeks U.S. Pentagon cooperation to solve political crisis
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country's rightful
interim ruler, takes part in a rally in support of the Venezuelan National Assembly and against the government of
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado
CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said on Saturday he has asked his envoy to the United States to meet with Pentagon officials to “cooperate” on a solution to the South American country’s political crisis.
Guaido, the leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, added he had received word from China that the country would join a diplomatic effort between European and Latin American countries, known as the International Contact Group on Venezuela, to negotiate an end to the crisis.
In January, Guaido invoked the OPEC nation’s constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing President Nicolas Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate. He has been recognized by most Western and Latin American countries, but Maduro has retained the support of allies China, Russia and Cuba.
Guaido’s effort to oust Maduro so he can take power and call new elections has stalled in recent weeks, after an attempted military uprising on April 30 was put down. Guaido told an Italian newspaper this week that he would “probably” accept a U.S. military intervention if the United States proposed it.
“We have instructed our ambassador Carlos Vecchio to meet immediately … with the Southern Command and its admiral to establish a direct relationship,” Guaido said at a rally in Caracas on Saturday. “We have said from the beginning that we will use all the resources at our disposal to build pressure.”
Representatives of the U.S. Southern Command and Vecchio did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Trump administration officials have repeatedly said that “all options are on the table” to oust Maduro, who calls Guaido a U.S. puppet seeking to oust him in a coup.
The Southern Command said in a tweet on Thursday that it was prepared to discuss “how we can support the future role” of Venezuelan armed forces leaders who “restore constitutional order,” when invited by Guaido.
Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino separately said on Saturday that a U.S. Coast Guard ship had entered Venezuelan territorial waters, which he said “we will not accept.”
A Southern Command spokesman had said on Friday that a U.S. Coast Guard vessel was conducting a “counter drug detection and monitoring mission” in “international waters” in the Caribbean Sea on May 9.
Guaido was speaking at a rally in support of opposition lawmakers who have been arrested, taken refuge at foreign embassies in Caracas, and been threatened in recent days amid a broad crackdown by Maduro against congress after the April 30 uprising.
Most Latin American countries, as well as the European Union, have expressed opposition to potential military intervention in Venezuela. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said last week the contact group is prepared to begin a “mission at the political level” in Caracas.
(Reporting by Deisy Buitrago, Shaylim Valderrama and Luc Cohen in Caracas; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu and Matt Spetalnick in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)
5/12/2019 Macron’s EU election flagbearer targets 100-strong alliance with kingmaker role by Richard Lough and Myriam Rivet
FILE PHOTO: Nathalie Loiseau, head of the Renaissance (Renewal) list for the European elections, delivers a
speech during a political rally in Strasbourg, France, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler/File Photo
PARIS (Reuters) – The flagbearer of President Emmanuel Macron’s European election challenge on Sunday foresaw building a centrist alliance of more than 100 lawmakers, enough she said to thrust the French leader and his grouping into the position of kingmaker in the chamber.
Nathalie Loiseau, a career diplomat whose campaign has faltered after a series of early blunders, said detractors who predicted the president’s Renaissance grouping would sit isolated in the European parliament would be proven wrong.
“I’m here to create a centrist group in the European Parliament which makes the difference, a group without which no majority is possible,” Loiseau told LCI television.
Representatives from some 10 European parties — from the Czech Republic and Hungary in central and eastern Europe to Spain and Netherlands in the west — attended her Saturday rally in Strasbourg, the official seat of the European assembly.
“Those who say that we will be isolated and that will have no clout in the parliament will discover we have at least 100 lawmakers on whom they will have to rely,” Loiseau added.
A kingmaker role would give Macron greater influence over shaping EU policy and the filling of key upcoming jobs, such as the European Commission presidency.
An ardent Europhile, Macron wants to redraw the European political landscape, much as he did in France in 2017, building a new political group by tapping into growing disaffection among the mainstream alliances on the left and right.
Polls show the center-right EPP and center-left S&D are both unlikely to win a majority. In a sign Macron could count on the support of parties sitting outside the existing centrist group, Portuguese Prime minister Antonio Costa, a Socialist, publicly backed Macron’s list of candidates on Sunday.
Created after the last EU elections in 2014, En Marche has no lawmakers in the European chamber but polls show it could win about a fifth of France’s seats in the parliament.
Macron’s chief European election strategist, Stephane Sejourne, told Reuters in October it was possible the Renaissance grouping might even dislodge the EPP as the dominant force.
Since then, Macron’s authority has been challenged by a grassroots rebellion that has hurt his popularity and forced the president into costly policy concessions. “Yellow vest” protesters took to the streets for a 26th straight weekend on Saturday, albeit in their lowest numbers yet.
“For weeks they’ve been saying that the “Yellow vest” movement is weakening, but the anger is still there,” far-right leader Marine Le Pen told BFM TV. Macron had failed to address the protesters’ demands for fairer taxes, more spending power and a more participatory democracy, she said.
A Harris Interactive opinion poll this weekend showed Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National nosing ahead in the campaign race with 22.5 percent of voter support, compared with 22 percent for Macron and his allies.
(Reporting by Richard Lough and Myriam Rivet with additional reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Toby Chopra)
5/12/2019 U.S. and China at impasse over trade, Kudlow says new tariffs will remain by Humeyra Pamuk and Ben Blanchard
U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. President Donald Trump's
national security adviser John Bolton and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a working dinner after the G20 leaders
summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 1, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) – The United States and China appeared at a deadlock over trade negotiations on Sunday as Washington demanded promises of concrete changes to Chinese law and Beijing said it would not swallow any “bitter fruit” that harmed its interests.
The trade war between the world’s top two economies escalated on Friday, with the United States hiking tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods after President Donald Trump said Beijing ‘broke the deal’ by reneging on earlier commitments made during months of negotiations.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox News on Sunday that the United States needs to see China agree to “very strong” enforcement provisions for an eventual deal and said the sticking point was Beijing’s reluctance to put agreed changes into law.
He vowed the tariffs would remain in place while negotiations continue.
Beijing remained defiant, however. “At no time will China forfeit the country’s respect, and no one should expect China to swallow bitter fruit that harms its core interests,” said a commentary, due for Monday publication, in the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily.
It said Beijing’s doors were open to talks but it would not yield on important issues of principle.
Kudlow said there was a “strong possibility” that Trump will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a G20 summit in Japan in late June. Until last week, there were expectations Trump and Xi would sign a trade deal at the summit.
However, the trade talks suffered a major setback last week when China proposed extensive revisions to a draft agreement. It wanted to delete prior commitments that Chinese laws would be changed to enact new policies on issues from intellectual property protection to forced technology transfers.
‘SOMETHING MUCH CLEARER’
Vice Premier Liu He, China’s top economic adviser, sought to defend the changes in talks with senior U.S. officials in Washington on Thursday and Friday, arguing that China could accomplish the policy changes through decrees issued by its State Council, or cabinet, sources familiar with the talks said.
But U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer rejected that, telling Liu that the United States was insisting on restoration of the previous text.
“We would like to see these corrections in an agreement which is codified by law in China, not just a State Council announcement. We need to see something much clearer. And until we do we have to keep our tariffs on,” Kudlow said.
China strongly opposes the latest U.S. tariff hike, and has to respond to that, Liu told reporters on Saturday.
Kudlow said on Sunday he expected retaliatory tariffs to kick in but that it had not happened yet.
Trump has ordered Lighthizer to begin the process of imposing tariffs on all remaining imports from China, a move that would affect about an additional $300 billion worth of goods.
Lighthizer said a final decision on that has not yet been made but it would come on top of the Friday tariff rate increase to 25% from 10% on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.
Trump has claimed that China is paying for the tariffs but it is importers – usually U.S. companies or the U.S.-registered units of foreign companies – that have to pay. And U.S. farmers, a key constituency of Trump, have been among the hardest hit in the trade war, with soybean shipments to China dropping to a 16-year low in 2018.
Asked who was paying, Kudlow said on Sunday that “both sides will suffer on this,” although he added that the U.S. economy should be able to cope.
“We’re in terrific shape in order to correct 20 years plus of unfair trading practices with China … I think this is a risk we should and can take without damaging our economy in any appreciable way,” he said.
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Ben Blanchard, additional reporting by Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Rosalba O’Brien)
5/12/2019 President Trump to host Hungary PM at WH today by OAN Newsroom
President Trump is set to welcome Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to the White House.
The two NATO leaders will meet in Washington, D.C. on Monday to discuss trade, energy, and national security.
The pair will also explore opportunities to meet national security needs for their countries, respectively, and celebrate Hungary’s 20th anniversary as a member of NATO.
Following their meeting, the President and First Lady Melania will participate the annual White House Iftar Dinner to celebrate the Muslim month of Ramadan.
5/12/2019 Sen. Lindsey Graham seeking to declassify document about Steele Dossier by OAN Newsroom
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is taking steps to investigate the initiation of the Russia probe.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., gives an opening statement before swearing-in Attorney
General William Barr to testify, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Graham, in an interview on Sunday, said he’s looking to declassify a document which could confirm authorities knew the “Steele Dossier” lacked substantial independent verification.
He claims the Dossier’s facts were never verified but the FBI and Department of Justice still used its contents as evidence to obtain warrants to conduct surveillance on the Trump campaign.
This comes as the DOJ’s Inspector General is expected to publish the findings of his own investigation into the start of the Russia probe sometime in 2019.
5/12/2019 GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw calls for closure of border security loopholes by OAN Newsroom
Freshman U.S. house representative Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) calls for a massive immigration overhaul.
Representative Dan Crenshaw (Photo courtesy: Susan Walsh/AP/REX/Shutterstock/Susan Walsh/AP/REX/Shutterstock)
On Sunday, Crenshaw said a greater emphasis needs to be put on closing loopholes in the immigration system, particularly the country’s detention policy, and noted that illegal immigrants have begun using children to dodge detention.
Crenshaw claims a solution would be to keep families together in while in the custody of U.S. authorities, and process their cases quickly so they can be deported.
He also said the country needs to update and expand its detention facilities and hire more immigration judges to implement this plan.
5/12/2019 President Trump: China would love if Joe Biden won the 2020 election by OAN Newsroom
President Trump criticizes democrat party officials for their soft stance on China.
The President took to Twitter on Sunday saying Beijing would embrace the election of Joe Biden as president in the 2020 General Elections.
Trump tweet: “China is DREAMING that Sleepy Joe Biden, or any of the others, gets elected in 2020. They LOVE ripping off America!”
He also suggested Biden, or any other democrat candidate, would allow China to continue running trade surpluses with the United States and steal American intellectual property.
His remarks follow Biden’s defense of China amid the ongoing trade dispute. Referencing China, Biden said “they’re not bad folks,” adding the nation is “not a competition” for us, being the United States.
President Trump says officials in Beijing “LOVE ripping off” America and democrats could help them do just that.
5/13/2019 Sweden reopens Assange rape investigation, to seek extradition by Niklas Pollard and Simon Johnson
FILE PHOTO: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy
in London, Britain May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden reopened an investigation into a rape allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Monday and said it would seek his extradition from Britain.
Deputy Chief Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson told a news conference she would continue and conclude a preliminary investigation that was dropped in 2017 without charges being brought because Assange had taken refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
Assange was arrested in Britain last month after spending seven years hiding inside the embassy.
The United States is also seeking his extradition on charges relating to the public release by Wikileaks of a huge cache of secret documents.
The Swedish prosecutor said it would request Assange be detained in his absence on probable cause for an allegation of rape and that it would issue a European arrest warrant – the process under which his extradition would be sought.
The 47-year-old Australian is currently in prison in London after being sentenced to 50 weeks behind bars last month for jumping bail when he fled to the Ecuadorean embassy.
The decision to reopen the investigation poses the question of whether Assange will be moved to the United States to face conspiracy charges for hacking into classified information or to Sweden.
“I am well aware of the fact that an extradition process is ongoing in the UK and that he could be extradited to the US,” Persson said.
A British judge has given the U.S. government a deadline of June 12 to outline its case against Assange.
The statute of limitation for rape in Sweden is 10 years – a deadline which would be reached in mid-August next year for the alleged incident involving Assange, leaving prosecutors pressed for time to file any formal charge.
Responding to the reopening of the Swedish investigation, WikiLeaks said it would give Assange a chance to clear his name.
“Since Julian Assange was arrested on 11 April 2019, there has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen their investigation, but there has always been political pressure surrounding this case,” Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief, said in a statement.
“Its reopening will give Julian a chance to clear his name.”
If convicted in Sweden, Assange could face a prison sentence of up to four years. Per Samuelson, a Swedish lawyer for Assange, told public service broadcaster the decision to reopen the case was “embarrassing for Sweden.”
The British courts will have to rule on any extradition request and Home Secretary Sajid Javid would decide which one takes precedence once Swedish prosecutors file theirs.
Nick Vamos, lawyer at London-based firm Peters & Peters and former head of extradition at Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service, told Reuters before Monday’s decision that he expected a Swedish request would take supremacy.
“In the event of a conflict between a European Arrest Warrant and a request for extradition from the US, UK authorities will decide on the order of priority,” a Swedish prosecutor’s statement said.
Assange’s supporters cast him as a dissident facing the wrath of a superpower over one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history.
WikiLeaks published hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables that laid bare often critical U.S. appraisals of world leaders, from Russian President Vladimir Putin to members of the Saudi royal family.
It also published a classified U.S. military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.
(Additional reporting by Anna Ringstrom and Johan AHlander, and Guy Faulconbridge in London; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
5/13/2019 Manning refusing to testify at grand jury probing WikiLeaks
WASHINGTON – Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning said she’ll refuse to testify on Thursday before a second grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. But if a judge finds her in contempt of court again, she could wind up back in jail. Manning spent seven years in prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks. Recently, she spent two months in jail for refusing to answer one grand jury’s questions about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Now, the second grand jury has subpoenaed her.
5/13/2019 WikiLeaks says Swedish investigation gives Assange a chance to clear his name
FILE PHOTO: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange leaves Southwark Crown Court after being
sentenced in London, Britain, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo
LONDON (Reuters) – The reopening of a Swedish investigation into a rape allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will give him a chance to clear his name, WikiLeaks said on Monday.
“Since Julian Assange was arrested on 11 April 2019, there has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen their investigation, but there has always been political pressure surrounding this case,” Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief said in a statement.
“Its reopening will give Julian a chance to clear his name,” Hrafnsson said.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden)
5/13/2019 Spain’s Socialists seen winning most seats in European election: poll
FILE PHOTO: A European flag is seen ahead of the start of a political rally of the Renaissance (Renewal) list
for the European elections in Strasbourg, France, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler
MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s Socialists were seen winning the most seats in European Parliament elections on May 26, followed by the conservative People’s Party (PP), according to a poll by GAD3 published by ABC newspaper on Monday.
Spain’s Socialists, which won a national election on April 28 without a parliamentary majority, were seen winning 20 seats in the upcoming election, or 30.3% of the vote. That would be six more seats than in the 2014 EU election.
New far-right party Vox was seen winning its first representatives in the European parliament after winning its first seats in the national parliament last month.
With 7.8% of the vote, Vox would get five seats in the EU assembly according to the poll, the first major survey carried out since the national election.
PP would be second, but with its number of seats dropping from 16 to 12, after it lost more than half its seats in the national election. The center-right Ciudadanos would see its number of lawmakers jump from 2 to 10.
The poll of 830 people surveyed between May 3 and May 6 also showed right-wing and left-wing coalitions would win the same percentage of votes in municipal elections also due May 26. The poll did not spell out which municipalities they could win.
(Reporting by Paul Day; Editing by Ingrid Melander)
5/13/2019 President Trump warns China against tariff retaliation, says it will ‘only get worse’ by OAN Newsroom
President Trump said U.S. consumers will not be effected by a new round of tariffs, which take effect on China Monday.
In a series of recent tweets, he spoke about how the tariffs will help the U.S. and put China at a disadvantage. He said the tariffs can be completely avoided if purchases are made from other non-tariffed countries or if products are purchased in the U.S.
The president added, many tariffed companies will be leaving China, which is why they want to make a deal so badly. He warned China against retaliation, saying it would only make the situation worse.
Trump tweet “There will be nobody left in China to do business with. Very bad for China, very good for USA! But China has taken so advantage of the U.S. for so many years, that they are way ahead (Our Presidents did not do the job). Therefore, China should not retaliate-will only get worse!”
On Monday, China said it would impose new tariffs on more than $60 billion worth of U.S. imports on June 1, 2019.
FILE – In this May 9, 2019, file photo a container ship is unloaded at the Virginia
International Gateway terminal in Norfolk, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
5/13/2019 Rep. Yoho praises President Trump’s decision to send U.S. fleet to the Middle East by OAN Newsroom
Florida Congressman Ted Yoho is praising President Trump’s response to recent threats by Iranian officials. During an interview with The Hill on Sunday, Yoho said President Trump took the right course of action by sending a U.S. fleet to the Middle East to increase pressure on Iran.
In the past week, the country has issued several threats against the U.S. and military officials. It has also suggested it may move to violate the non-proliferation clause enacted under the Iran Nuclear Deal.
In this Friday, May 10, 2019 photo released by the U.S. Navy, Aviation Ordnancemen transport a missile aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft
carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Persian Gulf. The aircraft carrier strike group is being deployed to the Persian Gulf to counter
an alleged but still-unspecified threat from Iran. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeff Sherman, U.S. Navy via AP)
Yoho said the president’s decision was proactive and exemplifies this commitment to reign in Iranian aggression.
“You’ve got to understand why we’re sending the warship there — it’s because of the threats Iran has made and intelligence that we have,” stated the Florida lawmaker. “I think it’s a different strategy that hasn’t been used before, and I commend President Trump on doing it.”
According to reports, EU officials are expected to try and sway America to sign back onto the Iran deal during Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Belgium on Monday.
5/13/2019 Pompeo to hold talks on Iran in Brussels en route to Russia
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo walks to board a plane before departing from London
Stansted Airport, north of London, Britain May 9, 2019. Mandel Ngan/Pool via REUTERS
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will cancel the Moscow leg of his Russia trip, but will meet President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Black Sea resort of Sochi as planned on Tuesday, a State Department official said.
Pompeo, who departed from Joint Base Andrews near Washington en route for Brussels, will hold talks with European officials on Iran and other issues on Monday before heading to Russia, the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity.
On Sunday, a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander said the U.S. military presence in the Gulf used to be a serious threat but now represented a target, the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) said.
Forces sent by the U.S. military to the Middle East include an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers, in a move U.S. officials said was aimed at countering “clear indications” of threats from Iran to American forces in the region.
U.S. President Donald Trump also has stepped up economic pressure on Iran, moving to cut off all its oil exports, to try to get Tehran to curb its nuclear and missile programs as well as end support for proxies in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.
Speaking to CNBC in an interview to be broadcast on Monday, Pompeo said the U.S. deployments were in response to intelligence about potential Iranian attacks and aimed both to deter them and to be able to respond if necessary.
“In the event that Iran decided to come after an American interest – whether that be in Iraq or Afghanistan or Yemen or any place in the Middle East – we are prepared to respond in an appropriate way,” he said, adding “Our aim is not war.”
Last week, European countries said they wanted to preserve Iran’s nuclear deal and rejected “ultimatums” from Tehran, after Iran eased curbs on its nuclear program and threatened moves that might breach the 2015 international pact.
Iran’s announcement on Wednesday, related to curbs on its stockpiling of nuclear materials, was in response to U.S. sanctions imposed following Trump’s withdrawal of the United States from the accord with Tehran a year ago.
On his first trip to Russia as U.S. secretary of state, Pompeo is expected to discuss with Putin and Lavrov the “aggressive and destabilizing actions” Moscow has taken around the world, a senior state department official said last week.
Pompeo would reiterate U.S. concerns about Russia’s role in Venezuela and Syria and its breach of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, as well as Russian attempts to meddle in U.S. elections, the official told reporters in a preview of his trip.
Trump spoke with Putin by telephone on May 3, and said they discussed the possibility of a new accord limiting nuclear arms that could eventually include China in what would be a major deal between the globe’s top three atomic powers.
The 2011 New START treaty, the only U.S.-Russia arms control pact limiting deployed strategic nuclear weapons, expires in February 2021 but can be extended for five years if both sides agree. Without the pact, it could be harder to gauge each other’s intentions, arms control advocates say.bad deal” and “one-sided.”
Pompeo had been due to meet U.S. embassy staff and members of the business community in Moscow on Monday before heading to Sochi.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Writing by Clarence Fernandez; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
5/13/2019 Two years into presidency, Macron refocusing economic reform drive by Leigh Thomas
FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron attends a meeting with elected officials and local association members as part
of the "Great National Debate" in Evry-Courcouronnes, a Paris suburb, France, February 4, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
PARIS (Reuters) – When Emmanuel Macron became French president two years ago he promised a clean break with the past. Within months of taking office he had cut tax on companies and investors and made hiring and firing easier via changes to labor laws.
Two years on, and after six months of ‘yellow vest’ street protests against his pro-business reform drive, the 41-year-old former investment banker is steering the economy with a new focus on households and boosting their incomes.
His juggling act – keeping his reform drive alive while making concessions to protesters – has boosted growth, economists say, while investment is firm and unemployment down.
Faced with the protesters’ accusations that he was ignoring workers and pensioners, and with the sometimes violent demonstrations causing weekly disruption in cities across France, Macron changed tack.
After a package of concessions in December worth more than 10 billion euros ($11.23 billion), Macron announced income tax cuts last month worth a further five billion euros.
To pay for it, he aims to delay tax cuts for some companies and close corporate tax loopholes. Spending cuts have also been promised, although no details have been given.
“Public policy is swinging back to supporting demand and households to the detriment of competitiveness because we don’t have any extra margin to do both at the same time,” said economist Emmanuel Jessua with think-tank Rexecode.
France’s international partners say that is a fair price to pay if it helps keep the peace and allows Macron to push ahead with further reforms.
“Overall France needs to consolidate because the deficit and debt are too high,” a senior IMF official said in Paris last week, adding:
“There could be some flexibility to respond to social concerns and to find a renewed consensus to continue pushing the reform process forward.”
STRIKE A BALANCE
Macron’s concessions, made up mainly of tax breaks targeting low-income workers and pensioners, could push growth to 1.5% this year, the OFCE economics think-tank estimates. Without that public money, growth would be closer to 1%, OFCE economist Mathieu Plane said.
But the fiscal stimulus risks pushing the budget deficit further than planned over a 3% limit, which the government expects to temporarily overshoot this year due to a long-planned tax change.
By contrast Germany, ever hesitant to loosen the purse strings even as a slowdown in international trade weighs on its economy, is expecting growth of only half a percent this year.
“If Emmanuel Macron is able to get out of the domestic social crisis, there are some sources of growth,” Plane said.
“Mixing supply-side policy with measures focused on boosting demand and purchasing power can help strike the right balance.”
As Macron begins the third year of his five-year term, he can claim his policy steps are beginning to bear fruit, though economists caution it will take years before their success or failure is fully clear.
The labor market is looking its perkiest in years, with unemployment at a near 10-year low and the employment rate at its highest since 1980. Youth unemployment has fallen sharply.
The percentage of new workers hired on permanent contracts, which employers avoided until Macron eased rules on firing, has risen to a record high of nearly 50 percent.
People are starting new businesses in record numbers and the business climate has changed enough in two years to make France a top destination for foreign investment, according to U.S. consulting firm ATKearney.
It ranked France fifth worldwide as a place for foreign investment, up two spots from last year despite the images of “yellow vest” street clashes and vandalism beamed around the world.
With major overhauls to the unemployment and pensions systems due this year, big foreign companies like staffing company ManpowerGroup, which has its biggest market in France, are convinced Macron will stick to his reform program.
“Overall, the French government is intent on making France more competitive as a place to invest and as the place to grow. And I don’t see that changing,” ManpowerGroup CEO Jonas Prising said in a recent earnings call.
(For a graphic on ‘Measuring France under Macron’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2D6GjBV)
(Editing by Janet Lawrence)
5/13/2019 Oil prices fall with Wall St. on trade war, give back early rise by Stephanie Kelly
Pumpjacks are seen against the setting sun at the Daqing oil field in Heilongjiang province,
China December 7, 2018. Picture taken December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil futures fell on Monday with Wall Street, as worries about the Sino-U.S. trade talks spooked investors who had sent oil higher in early trade on concerns that tanker attacks in the Middle East could disrupt supplies.
Brent crude futures were down 21 cents at $70.41 a barrel by 11:58 a.m. EDT (1558 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 33 cents at $61.33 a barrel.
Oil was pressured by a slump in stocks and other risk assets as investors moved into safe havens like Treasury bonds due to the intensifying U.S.-China trade war.
China defied a warning from U.S. President Donald Trump and said it would impose higher tariffs on a range of U.S. goods including frozen vegetables and liquefied natural gas. The move was widely expected after Washington last week raised tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports.
Investors fear the trade war between the world’s two largest economies could escalate further and derail the global economy.
Earlier, oil prices had risen more than $1 a barrel after Saudi Arabia said two Saudi oil tankers were among vessels attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. It was unclear how the attacks occurred.
“This attack raises the stakes for oil and will add more volatility,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago, in a note.
On Sunday, the UAE said four commercial vessels were attacked near Fujairah, one of the world’s largest bunkering hubs. The port lies near the Strait of Hormuz, a vital oil export waterway.
Iran’s foreign ministry described the incidents as “worrisome and dreadful” and called for an investigation.
Saudi Arabia is the largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the UAE is third.
The U.S. Maritime Administration said in an advisory on Sunday that the incidents off Fujairah, one of seven emirates in the UAE, had not been confirmed and urged caution.
Volumes were strong in early U.S. trading, with more than 710,000 U.S. crude futures contracts changing hands.
Oil prices have risen more than 30 percent this year, supported by supply concerns as the United States imposed sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.
Washington reimposed sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of a 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and world powers. Iran insists on exporting at least 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil, triple May’s expected levels under U.S. sanctions, as a condition for staying in an international nuclear deal, sources with knowledge of Iran-EU talks said.
(Additional reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar in London, Colin Packham in Sydney and Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo; Editing by Jason Neely, David Goodman and David Gregorio)
5/13/2019 President Trump says it’s a ‘big mistake’ for Iran to threaten U.S., allies by OAN Newsroom
President Trump issued a stern warning to Iran during his meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban Monday. He told the Ayatollah regime to not take irresponsible steps in its foreign policies or threaten the U.S. and its allies. The president also left all options on the table in dealing with Iran.
“We’ll see what happens with Iran, if they do anything it will be a very bad mistake if they do anything,” stated President Trump. “It’s going to be a bad problem for Iran if something happens, I can tell you that, they’re not going to be happy…you can figure it out yourself, they know what I mean by it.”
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in the Oval Office
of the White House, Monday, May 13, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
This comes after the U.S. Air Force flew its nuclear capable B-52 bombers over the Persian Gulf over the weekend in a warning to Iran.
The president’s remarks come after the United Arab Emirates said four commercial vessels had possibly been sabotaged by Iranian operatives. Tehran has denied its involvement with the incident.
5/13/2019 President Trump remains tough on China despite tariff retaliation by OAN Newsroom
It seems to be another round of tit for tat measures between the U.S. and China as Beijing announced it will raise tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. imports. The announcement comes just days after President Trump raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10-percent to 25-percent after officials from both countries failed to reach a deal.
In a series of tweets Monday, President Trump dismissed concerns the U.S. consumer would pay for the tariffs on Chinese goods, adding, the tariffs could be completely avoided if companies buy or manufacture in the U.S. He continued on his tough stance against China, saying the country has taken advantage of the U.S. for years. His comments echo his campaign pledge of holding China accountable for its trade abuses:
“And I like the President (Xi Jinping) a lot; he’s a friend of mine, but I’m representing the USA, and he’s representing China. And we’re not going to be taken advantage of anymore. We’re not going to be paying China $500 billion a year.”
In another tweet, the president said China backed out of “a great deal” and urged Beijing not to retaliate, but rather make a deal. Those statements didn’t seem to deter China, with Beijing announcing it will be raising tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. imports and would range from five-percent to 25-percent beginning June 1st.
FILE – In this May 9, 2019, file photo a container ship is unloaded at the Virginia
International Gateway terminal in Norfolk, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
News of the impending tariffs on U.S. goods took a hit on the stock market with Dow futures more than 500 points in the red before Monday’s opening bell.
The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office stated its already started the process of levying tariffs on another $325 billion worth of Chinese goods, which analysts say would impact nearly every Chinese import.
While there are no official trade talks planned after Friday’s stalemate in negotiations, Americans can expect President Trump to use his negotiation skills to achieve the best deal that benefits the U.S.
5/13/2019 Supreme Court rules antitrust lawsuit against Apple can move forward
In a five-to-four decision Monday, the court affirmed iPhone users can proceed with an antitrust suit alleging the companies commission on sales through the App Store is a unfair use of monopoly power.
FILE- In this May 31, 2018, file photo customers enter the Apple store in New York. The Supreme Court is allowing consumers to pursue an
antitrust lawsuit that claims Apple has unfairly monopolized the market for the sale of iPhone apps. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Apple had contended only app developers should be able to bring forward such litigation.
However, in writing for the majority Justice Brett Kavanaugh rejected the argument. Instead, he suggested it was nothing more than an attempt to exclude Apple from the suit and similar litigation.
The court did not rule on the plaintiff’s merits, but the matter can now be litigated in District Court.
5/13/2019 Sen. Lindsey Graham to roll out immigration plan by OAN Newsroom
Senator Lindsey Graham is close to unveiling his new immigration plan, which seeks to radically revamp the asylum process. Graham reportedly began work on the project in late April. He said now that the president has “correctly identified the crisis at the border, it’s time to have a legislative solution.”
The bill is reportedly designed to deter migrants from “gaming the system” by making the application process more difficult, while simultaneously getting rid of loop holes that allow asylum seekers to stay in the U.S. indefinitely. It’s also designed to add pressure on groups of migrants posing as families in the hope of gaining asylum by extending the length of time minors can be detained by immigration officials.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., arrives in the hearing room where
Attorney General William Barr will testify about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report for the first time
since releasing it, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Graham spoke out on the immigration crisis during acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan’s recent testimony on human smuggling at the border:
“Bottom line — if this continues it’s like adding a congressional district of illegal immigrants every year. The average congressional district is about 600,000 people. This year alone we’re on track to do 640 — this has to stop.”
Graham is offering some leeway to court politicians on the left as well. He said he is open to discussing ways to find a pathway to citizenship for so-called Dreamers if, and only if, Congress comes together to pass comprehensive immigration reform. He also said the plan is contingent on Central American countries doing their part to stem the numerous caravans flowing into the U.S. However, as it stands, his proposal is not expected to garner much support from the left.
5/13/2019 ‘Like me, a little controversial’: Trump praises Hungary’s anti-immigration PM Orban by Jeff Mason
U.S. President Donald Trump greets Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the Oval Office at
the White House in Washington, U.S., May 13, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump praised Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Monday, describing him as “like me, a little controversial,” and brushing off concerns about threats to democratic norms in Hungary during Orban’s tenure.
Welcoming the right-wing Hungarian leader for a meeting in the Oval Office, Trump lauded him for being tough on immigration, a policy area in which the two leaders have similar visions.
“He’s a respected man. And I know he’s a tough man, but he’s a respected man,” Trump said, when asked whether he had concerns about a weakening of democracy in Hungary.
“He’s done the right thing, according to many people, on immigration. And you look at some of the problems that they have in Europe that are tremendous because they’ve done it a different way than the prime minister,” said Trump, who is often accused by critics of being too close to authoritarian leaders.
Orban, a nationalist, has often had conflicts with the European Union over his anti-immigration campaigns and judicial reforms.
He clashed with the administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama, a Democrat, over what critics said was an erosion of democratic values by his government.
Trump has also pushed what critics consider an anti-immigrant policy agenda, calling for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and banning travelers from several Muslim-majority countries at the beginning of his time in office.
Orban noted that his government had been elected several times.
“From the people, by the people, for the people. This is the basis for the Hungarian government,” he said, adding, when pressed about the issue: “We have a new constitution accepted in 2011 and it’s functioning well.”
He said Hungary was proud to stand with the United States on “fighting against illegal migration” and other issues.
Senior Republican and Democratic members of the U.S. Congress told Trump in a letter on Friday they were concerned about Hungary’s “downward democratic trajectory” and its close relationship with Russia. Hungary is a NATO ally.
Trump is often accused of cozying up to autocratic leaders. He has sought a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin despite Russian meddling in the 2016 election and has praised his own relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, with whom he has held summits in Singapore and Vietnam.
Trump projected an air of kinship with Orban.
“Highly respected. Respected all over Europe,” Trump said. “Probably, like me, a little bit controversial, but that’s okay. That’s okay. You’ve done a good job and you’ve kept your country safe.”
(Additional reporting by Timothy Ahmann and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Alistair Bell)
[I was glad to hear Trump recognize his efforts since he is being dissed by the European Union socialist, etc. for not doing what they want him to do.].
5/13/2019 Former U.S. Army Intel analyst Chelsea Manning says she won’t cooperate with grand jury by OAN Newsroom
Former U.S. Army intelligence whistleblower Chelsea Manning is not planning to cooperate with any grand jury investigations.
This comes after she resisted a subpoena to appear before a grand jury inquiry earlier this week, which expired on May 9th.
Investigators are seeking answers into her leaking of confidential government and military secrets to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2010, which landed her seven-years in jail.
Manning recently took her protests to YouTube and voiced her opposition against what she calls a “secret process.”
“Prosecutors run grand juries behind closed doors and in secret, without a judge present…the law requires that civil contempt only be used to coerce witnesses to testify,” she stated. “As I cannot be coerced, it instead exists as an additional punishment on top of the seven-years I have already served.”
This image released by Showtime shows Chelsea Manning in a scene from “XY Chelsea,” which premiered at the
Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday, May 1, and will air on Showtime on June 7. (Showtime via AP)
Manning’s refusal to testify has already led her to serve a two-month stint at a Virginia detention facility, which she was released from last week. However, this hasn’t deterred her opposition amid another subpoena demanding she testify before a grand jury later this week.
It’s unclear if Manning’s refusal to testify a second time, which appears likely, will land her back in jail.
Meanwhile, Assange remains in the custody of U.K. authorities, while the U.S. works to extradite him to face computer crimes charges.
5/14/2019 WikiLeaks source Manning could be jailed again soon if she disobeys U.S. grand jury by Mark Hosenball
FILE PHOTO: Chelsea Manning speaks at the South by Southwest festival in
Austin, Texas, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Suzanne Cordeiro/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. Army intelligence analyst and source for online publisher WikiLeaks, could be jailed again if she refuses to comply with a new grand jury subpoena, said a U.S. law enforcement source, as well as Manning herself.
After 62 days in prison, Manning was released last Thursday. She had been locked up for refusing to comply with a grand jury subpoena for testimony in an investigation into WikiLeaks by U.S. prosecutors in Alexandria, Virginia.
Federal prosecutors are believed to be focused on WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, who is serving 50 weeks in a London prison for jumping bail when he took refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in 2012.
The first grand jury expired and Manning was immediately summoned to appear before a new grand jury on May 16.
A law enforcement source said on Monday that if Manning refuses to testify, prosecutors will likely request that she be jailed again for contempt.
On Friday, Manning appeared in a YouTube video declaring that she will continue to refuse to cooperate. “When I arrive at the court house this coming Thursday, what happened last time will occur again. I will not cooperate with this or any other grand jury,” Manning said.
A lawyer for Manning did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Manning was convicted by court martial in 2013 of espionage for furnishing more than 700,000 documents and other materials to WikiLeaks while she was an intelligence analyst in Iraq. Former President Barack Obama, in his final days in office, commuted the final 28 years of Manning’s 35-year sentence.
Assange, after nearly seven years taking refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy, on April 11 was arrested by British police. The United States is seeking his extradition to face charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. Assange plans to fight the U.S. extradition request.
On Monday, the Assange case was complicated by Sweden reopening an investigation into a rape allegation against him and Sweden will seek to extradite him from Britain.
WikiLeaks published a classified U.S. military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.
The U.S. government said Assange tried to help Manning gain access to a government computer. It is not clear if the alleged collaboration between Manning and Assange led to a successful intrusion into any U.S. government computer.
(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Grant McCool)
5/14/2019 Oil down $0.62 to $61.04, DOW down 617 to 25,325.
[BE WARY OF THE FOLLOWING TWO ARTICLE MAY BE FAKE NEWS OR COMMENTS]
5/14/2019 New abortion laws may go to Supreme Court - Striking Roe v. Wade not regarded as likely by Richard Wolf, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – Red-state governors and legislators are rushing to enact tough new laws against abortion in hopes that a more conservative Supreme Court is ready to dial back reproductive freedom. There’s just one problem: The laws conflict with Supreme Court precedents. And the justices aren’t likely to reverse themselves anytime soon.
The latest flurry of anti-abortion action comes mostly in the form of “fetal heartbeat laws” in states with Republican governors and legislatures. The laws, enacted in Ohio, Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi, would ban abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. The goal is to produce lawsuits that work their way through lower courts and, ultimately, to the nation’s highest court. That didn’t work in North Dakota, where a fetal heartbeat law that was struck down failed to gain Supreme Court review in 2015.
The Alabama Legislature now could go even further by passing legislation that would make nearly all abortions illegal, except to save the mother’s life.
“Legislatures feel emboldened by this change on the court,” said Caitlin Borgmann, a former law professor and reproductive rights expert now leading the ACLU of Montana. “They’re going to be willing to try to push the envelope even more than before.”
Conservatives’ hopes focus on Juswon tice Brett Kavanaugh, who succeeded retired Justice Anthony Kennedy in October. Kennedy cast deciding votes to uphold abortion rights in a 1992 case and to strike down state restrictions in a Texas case three years ago.
Kavanaugh’s only brush with abortion on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit came in 2017, when he dissented from a decision allowing an undocumented teenager in federal custody to get an abortion. Kavanaugh wanted to allow more time for the girl to find a private sponsor, so that the government was not involved.
During his contentious Senate confirmation battle last year, he referred to the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide and subsequent rulings as “precedent on precedent.” That ultimately him the crucial support of moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.
“Justice Kavanaugh owes his seat to Sen. Collins,” said David Garrow, a Pulitizer Prize-winning historian who wrote a book on Roe v. Wade. “Is he going to publicly humiliate Sen. Collins in advance of the 2020 election?”
What the high court is more likely to do is whittle away at abortion rights by upholding less extreme laws that impose new restrictions on women seeking abortions or the doctors and clinics that provide them.
State laws directly challenging the right to abortion, however, stand little chance of reaching the justices, experts on both sides of the issue agree. Those laws have yet to withstand lower court scrutiny.
Women dressed as handmaids protest a proposed near-total abortion ban outside the
Alabama State House in Montgomery last month. MICKEY WELSH/AP
5/14/2019 Abortion laws on collision course - States’ ultimate goal is the Supreme Court by Richard Wolf, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – Red-state governors and legislators are rushing to enact tough laws against abortion in hopes that a more conservative Supreme Court is ready to rule favorably.
There’s one problem: The laws conflict with Supreme Court precedents. And the justices aren’t likely to reverse themselves anytime soon.
The flurry of anti-abortion action comes mostly in the form of “fetal heartbeat laws” in states with Republican governors and legislatures. The laws, enacted in Ohio, Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi, would ban abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy.
The goal is to produce lawsuits that work their way through lower courts and, ultimately, to the nation’s highest court. That didn’t work in North Dakota, where a fetal heartbeat law that was struck down failed to gain Supreme Court review in 2015.
The Alabama Legislature could go further by passing legislation that would make nearly all abortions illegal, except to save the mother’s life.
“Legislatures feel emboldened by this change on the court,” said Caitlin Borgmann, a former law professor leading the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana. “They’re going to be willing to try to push the envelope.”
Conservatives’ hopes focus on Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who succeeded Anthony Kennedy in October. Kennedy cast deciding votes to uphold abortion rights in a landmark case in 1992 and to strike down state restrictions in a Texas case three years ago.
Kavanaugh’s only brush with abortion on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit came in 2017, when he dissented from a decision allowing an undocumented teenager in federal custody to get an abortion. Kavanaugh wanted to allow more time for the girl to find a private sponsor, so the government was not involved.
During his contentious Senate confirmation battle last year, he referred to the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide and subsequent rulings as “precedent on precedent.” That won him the crucial support of moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.
“Justice Kavanaugh owes his seat to Sen. Collins,” said David Garrow, a Pulitizer Prize-winning historian who wrote a book on Roe v. Wade. “Is he going to publicly humiliate Sen. Collins in advance of the 2020 election?”
What the court is more likely to do is whittle away at abortion rights by upholding laws that impose lesser limits on women seeking abortions or the doctors and clinics that provide them.
Among the laws pending before or approaching the justices:
State laws directly challenging the right to abortion stand little chance of reaching the justices, experts on both sides of the debate say. Those laws have yet to withstand lower court scrutiny.
- An Indiana law, struck down in lower courts, that would ban abortions based on sex, race or disability and set standards for disposing of fetal remains.
- Another Indiana law that would require women to view ultrasound images at least 18 hours before an abortion unless they specifically declined to do so.
- Laws in Alabama and Texas banning dilation and evacuation, or D& E, abortions.
- Laws in Louisiana and Missouri imposing limits on doctors and clinics.
- Laws banning abortion after a certain number of weeks – 15 in Mississippi and Louisiana, 18 in Arkansas and Utah. Bans at 20 weeks or later generally have been upheld.
One indication of the court’s reluctance to enter the abortion wars came in February, when Chief Justice John Roberts joined four liberal justices in block- ing a Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The court may consider that case next term.
“Chief Justice Roberts is acutely aware of the political optics of overruling Roe in a 5-4 opinion, with all the women in dissent,” said Teresa Collett, a professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minnesota. That would be Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, all liberals who have voted to uphold abortion rights.
Kavanaugh sided with the court’s other three conservative associate justices against blocking Louisiana’s abortion restrictions. He wrote separately to suggest that implementing the law would determine whether it imposed too much of a burden on women’s rights – an indication he remains on the fence.
Another sign of the court’s reluctance came in December, when only three conservative justices dissented from its refusal to consider efforts by Republican-led states to defund Planned Parenthood. Roberts and Kavanaugh did not join the dissent.
The justices may get another chance to decide that question soon. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled in March that Ohio can deny government funding to private groups that provide abortions, such as Planned Parenthood.
It seems unlikely the justices will be able to avoid all abortion cases for long – or even until the 2020 election. That won’t stop them from trying.
“If there are five votes to fully overturn Roe,” said Cornell Law School professor Michael Dorf, “at least one of those, namely Roberts, is going to want to go slowly.”
New Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, right, joins his colleagues at the State of the Union address in February. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
5/14/2019 Pompeo shares details on ‘escalating’ Iran threats in Brussels: U.S. State Department
FILE PHOTO - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during the Arctic Council summit at the
Lappi Areena in Rovaniemi, Finland May 7, 2019. Mandel Ngan/Pool via REUTERS
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shared information on “escalating” threats from Iran with European allies and NATO officials during meetings in Brussels on Monday, the U.S. special representative for Iran said.
“Iran is an escalating threat and this seemed like a timely visit on his way to Sochi,” Brian Hook told reporters, referring to Pompeo’s planned visit to Russia on Tuesday for meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Pompeo canceled a visit to Moscow on Monday and stopped in Brussels instead, en route to Sochi.
“The secretary wanted to share some details behind what we have been saying publicly,” Hook said. “We believe that Iran should try talks instead of threats. They have chosen poorly by focusing on threats.”
Hook said Pompeo, while in Brussels, also discussed reported attacks on several oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
Asked if Pompeo was blaming Iran for the attacks, Hook said: “We discussed … what seemed to be attacks on commercial vessels that were anchored off Fujairah … we have been requested by the UAE to provide assistance in the investigation, which we are very glad to do.”
Asked if he himself believed there was the possibility of an Iranian role, Hook had no comment.
The UAE said on Sunday that four commercial vessels were sabotaged near Fujairah emirate, one of the world’s largest bunkering hubs lying just outside the Strait of Hormuz. It did not describe the nature of the attack or say who was behind it.
Saudi Arabia said Monday that two of its oil tankers were among those attacked and described it as an attempt to undermine the security of crude supplies amid tensions between the United States and Iran.
The UAE on Monday identified the vessels as very large crude carrier (VLCC) tanker Amjad and crude tanker Al Marzoqah, both owned by Saudi shipping firm Bahri. The other two were UAE-flagged fuel bunker barge A. Michel and Norwegian-registered oil products tanker MT Andrew Victory.
(Reporting by Makini Brice and David Brunnstrom; Editing by David Alexander and Jeffrey Benkoe)
5/14/2019 President Trump speaks out against Mueller probe as Barr assigns investigator by OAN Newsroom
President Trump recently referred to the Russia investigation as one of the biggest hoaxes in U.S. history. While speaking to reporters outside of the White House Tuesday, the president said the investigation proved there was no collusion even after special counsel Robert Mueller employed “18 angry people.”
The president then said while he did not know about the move, he’s glad the Attorney General William Barr is looking into the origins of the Russia investigation.
The president also commented on the recent congressional subpoena of his son Donald Trump Jr., saying his son already offered about 20-hours of testimony in the Mueller probe.
President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 14, 2019,
before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., to travel to Louisiana. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Meanwhile, the attorney general has continued to keep his promise to investigate the investigators. According to reports, Barr has begun a multi-agency investigation into possible surveillance on the Trump campaign. He is reportedly working closely with CIA Director Gina Haspel, National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats, and FBI Director Christopher Wray to uncover the origins of the Mueller probe.
This comes after the Trump Justice Department appointed a career Department of Justice lawyer — John Durham — to assist Barr into looking into those allegations. Durham has reportedly been on the case for months now.
5/14/2019 Sen. Graham backing off FISA abuse probe amid appointment of U.S. attorney Durham by OAN Newsroom
Senate Judiciary chairman Lindsey Graham said he is going to “back off” from investigating alleged FISA abuses amid the attorney general’s appointment of a U.S. attorney to probe the origin of the Russia probe.
Graham made the comment on Capitol Hill Tuesday, and also said he doesn’t want to get in the way of or “mess up” U.S. attorney John Durham’s investigation. The South Carolina Senator also said he’s “glad” there is now “a ‘prosecutor not a politician” looking into the matter.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, responds to reporters on
Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 14, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
One America’s John Hines caught up with the lawmaker for more of his thoughts on the move. He had this to say:
“Well, I think he seems to be highly qualified, he has a good reputation. Somebody needs to look at the other side of the equation in 2016 for potential criminal responsibility, and I think he’s a good choice and we need to give him the space to do his job.”
Graham also told reporters he doesn’t expect them to take his word about the FISA warrant, and doesn’t expect Republicans to take House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler’s word about wrongdoing by the president.
5/14/2019 Rep. Scalise praises President Trump’s hard stance in China trade war by OAN Newsroom
Congressman Steve Scalise is praising the president for his tough stance against China amid an ongoing trade dispute. While speaking to reporters at the White House Tuesday, Scalise accused China of “not playing by the rules.” He said their tactics have caused the American economy to suffer.
His comments come after China announced tariffs on U.S. made imports in response to efforts by President Trump to even out the trading field.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., walks past the West Wing on his way to a television interview on the
North Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, May 14, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
“Shouldn’t we all try to get a better deal for America and ultimately get to a place where there’s no tariffs on either side?” asked Scalise. “Unfortunately, there are a lot of countries that don’t treat us that way, and so it’s time that we finally recalibrate…I’m glad that the president is standing up to China and I’m hopeful that he’s going to be successful in getting this resolved.”
According to President Trump, the tariffs have been beneficial to the United States so far. He said the move has aided in rebuilding the steel industry, while also creating more jobs.
5/14/2019 ‘Poison pills’: Pentagon tells EU not to block U.S. companies from defense pact by Robin Emmott
FILE PHOTO: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks to the media during an alliance foreign minister's
meeting in Washington, U.S., April 4, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A new European Union military pact risks shutting American companies out of defense contracts and undermining NATO, the United States has told the bloc, hinting at possible retaliation.
In a May 1 letter, the U.S. government said limitations on the involvement of non-EU countries under consideration in the European pact amounted to “poison pills.”
“It is clear that similar reciprocally imposed U.S. restrictions would not be welcomed by our European partners and allies, and we would not relish having to consider them in the future,” said the letter from two U.S. Department of Defense undersecretaries, Ellen Lord and Andrea Thompson, to the EU’s foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini.
Any rules limiting U.S. defense contractors’ participation would also amount to “a dramatic reversal of the last three decades of increased integration of the transatlantic defense sector,” said the letter, seen by Reuters.
Mogherini said the American concerns over the EU accord – agreed in December 2017 and aiming to fund, develop and deploy armed forces together – were unfounded.
“The European Union is and remains open to U.S. companies and equipment,” she told reporters on Tuesday, adding the European procurement market is more open than that of the United States, which is already dominant in the global weapons trade.
EU defense ministers, who discussed the rules governing the pact on Tuesday, are trying to agree legislation by June on how to allow the involvement of non-EU countries, including Britain after it leaves the bloc and the United States.
Dutch Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld said the Netherlands wanted U.S. involvement and had proposed an “emergency brake” mechanism for EU governments to trigger if they felt unease about the participation of non-EU states in a defense project.
President Donald Trump’s administration told EU governments in February last year the United States should play a central role in the European pact.
However Trump’s “America First” policy, problems for European firms breaking into the U.S. weapons market and years of overlapping defense spending by individual EU members have spurred European efforts to better integrate its armed forces.
The U.S. letter, which says Brussels should not harm damaging burgeoning EU-NATO ties, was the most vocal U.S. opposition to the EU military pact.
As France and Germany seek to develop a next-generation European fighter jet, Washington said it noticed “restrictive language” in draft texts that failed to reciprocate U.S. openness to involving European companies in its contracts.
U.S. concerns about being frozen out of the European pact, known formally as Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and its multi-billion euro defense fund, have sown confusion in Brussels, which is also the headquarters of U.S.-led NATO.
One European government official said the letter showed a “misunderstanding of how the European Union works” because the defense pact and fund were only one way to coordinate with the United States.
“They are reading language into it (the pact) that fences the European continent off from American cooperation, and that is not true,” the official said.
Unlike past attempts at European defense integration that NATO took a dim view of, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has publicly backed the defense pact as long as it does not lead to duplication.
Caught off guard by Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and facing threats ranging from state-sponsored computer hackers to militant attacks, EU governments say the pact is justified by EU surveys that show most citizens want the bloc to provide security.
A Franco-British air campaign ran out of munitions and equipment in Libya in 2011 and Europe was again forced to turn to the United States. That was considered an enduring embarrassment for the EU, a global economic power.
(Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Frances Kerry)
5/14/2019 Trump denies U.S. plan to send 120,000 troops to counter Iran threat
U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Jim Malloy, commander, Task Force 50, speaks to the crew of the guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper on the ship’s
flight deck at sea in the Arabian Gulf, November 17, 2016. Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan T. Beard/U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday denied a New York Times report that U.S. officials were discussing a military plan to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East to counter any attack or nuclear weapons acceleration by Iran.
“I think it’s fake news, OK? Now, would I do that? Absolutely. But we have not planned for that. Hopefully we’re not going to have to plan for that. And if we did that, we’d send a hell of a lot more troops than that,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
The Times reported that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated plan last week in a meeting of top national security aides that envisions sending as many as 120,000 American troops to the region if Iran attacks U.S. forces or accelerates work on its nuclear weapons.
The updated plan does not call for a land invasion of Iran, which would require far more troops, the Times reported, citing unidentified administration officials.
The plan reflects revisions ordered by Iran hawks including national security adviser John Bolton, the newspaper said.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Makini Brice; editing by Jonathan Oatis and James Dalgleish)
5/14/2019 Trump to lay out immigration policy in coming days -senators by Susan Cornwell
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) questions Attorney General William Barr as he testifies before
a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "the Justice Department's investigation of Russian interference with
the 2016 presidential election" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Aaron Bernstein
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump plans a speech in coming days to lay out his views on how immigration laws should be overhauled, Republican senators said on Tuesday after top White House advisers briefed them on the plan.
Trump has been working with advisers on a proposal to boost visas for highly skilled workers seeking to immigrate to the United States and cut back on other types of visas – a plan unlikely to pass Congress ahead of the November 2020 presidential election.
Republicans and Democrats have fought for years about how to overhaul outdated immigration laws, and the battle has become even more polarized since 2016 when Trump ran for office on a pledge to build a wall on the southern U.S. border to keep out migrants entering the country illegally.
Republican Senators John Cornyn and John Barrasso told reporters that Trump would give his views in a speech as soon as this week. A White House spokesman did not respond to requests for comment on the speech.
The senators spoke as they were leaving their weekly policy lunch at the Capitol where they heard from Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and hardline immigration adviser Stephen Miller – who have been working on the plan with other White House officials for a couple of months.
Kushner briefed the senators on the contours of the plan, a person familiar with the situation said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He got a very warm reception,” the source said.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters the plan was aimed at unifying Republicans around core principles on border security and a merit-based system for legal immigration.
“I don’t think it’s designed to get Democratic support as much as it is to unify the Republican Party around border security,” Graham said.
Support from Democrats would be needed to advance any kind of immigration through Congress.
NO IMMIGRATION CUTS
Both Graham and Senator Kevin Cramer – who attended a similar briefing about the plan with Trump at the White House last week – said the plan would keep immigration numbers steady.
“I think the president feels, and rightfully so, that politically speaking, no lowering of the number, or raising of number – keeping a steady number – is probably the safe doable space that they are searching for. I think he’s right on that,” Cramer said.
Immigration hawks are likely to be wary of a plan that does not cut immigration numbers, particularly heading into elections, said Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that advocates for immigration restrictions.
“If the president botches this, it could cost all Republicans dearly in 2020,” Vaughan said.
The plan includes ideas to address the recent surge of Central American migrants at the southern border, Cramer said, including “changing some of the policies relating to sending people back, processing them quicker, having resources at the border to process, and changing some of the policies as it relates to asylum, some asylum reforms.”
Trump’s advisers also have been working on provisions for guest workers for farms and other seasonal employers.
Lawmakers have said the Republican proposals will not include measures to protect from deportation the more than 1 million immigrants brought illegally to the United States as children years ago and referred to as “Dreamers.”
The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives plans to consider its own immigration package in coming weeks, and “Dreamer” protections are expected to be included.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Additional reporting by Steve Holland in Hackberry, Louisiana, Roberta Rampton in Washington and Mica Rosenberg in New York; Editing by Phil Berlowitz and Peter Cooney)
5/14/2019 Germany sees 20% rise in anti-Semitic crime in 2018, blames far right
German Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and Holger Muench, Chief Commissioner of Germany's Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) Federal
Crime Office, attend a news conference on politically motivated crimes in Berlin, Germany, May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
BERLIN (Reuters) – Anti-Semitic crime rose by almost 20% in Germany last year, the interior minister said on Tuesday, blaming most incidents on individuals espousing far-right world views.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said around 90% of the 1,800 recorded incidents were perpetrated by supporters of far-right groups. The main offences included hate speech, anti-Semitic graffiti and displaying banned signs like the swastika.
"This is a development that we have to confront, especially in this country,” Seehofer told a news conference, alluding to Germany’s Nazi past. “(That means) with all our means – this is a job for the police as well as for the whole society.”
Germany’s Jews are alarmed by the rise of the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, whose leaders have been accused of playing down Nazi crimes and calling a national memorial to the victims of the Holocaust a “memorial of shame.”
The AfD, which says Islam is incompatible with the German constitution, denies it harbors racist views and has blamed a rise in attacks on Jews and Jewish businesses on asylum seekers from majority Muslim countries.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose decision in 2015 to welcome almost 1 million asylum seekers mainly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan contributed to the rise of the AfD, vowed to fight all forms of racism with the full force of the law.
“We have a duty and responsibility to defend our values and constitutional laws,” she said at a separate event. “This is especially the case when we must stand up against racism, anti-Semitic hatred and violence using all legal means available.”
Even though anti-Semitic incidents were on the rise, the overall number of politically motivated crimes was down 9%.
(Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
[The EU has let so many Muslim immigrants in their countries and babied them and now they are attacking Semitic factions and they will not admit it. And they are blaming it on the right instead of their leftist liberal socialist policies.].
5/15/2019 Oil up $0.74 to $61.78, DOW up 207 to 25,532.
5/15/2019 Durham to review Russia probe by Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – Attorney General William Barr has tapped Connecticut’s chief federal prosecutor to assist in a probe into the origins of the Russia investigation and the FBI’s surveillance activities, a person familiar with the matter said Monday.
John Durham, a mob-busting federal prosecutor for more than three decades, has been assisting the attorney general for several weeks to determine whether federal investigators acted appropriately in the early stages of the inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
Barr announced he had launched the review during an appearance last month before a Senate subcommittee. He expressed concern about the FBI’s use of surveillance involving associates of then-candidate Donald Trump as authorities sought to plumb Russia’s interference efforts, though Barr said he didn’t know whether officials had done anything wrong.
Durham has led several high-profile special investigations, including an examination of the FBI’s handling of criminal informants in Boston during the Clinton administration, which led to the prosecution of former agent John Connolly. He also led an inquiry during the George W. Bush administration into the CIA’s destruction of videotapes depicting the torture of terror detainees.
5/15/2019 FBI’s inquiry is under review - Barr gives Russia case to top federal prosecutor by Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – Attorney General William Barr tapped Connecticut’s chief federal prosecutor, John Durham, to assist in an investigation into the origins of the Russia inquiry and the FBI’s surveillance activities, a person familiar with the matter said Monday.
Durham, a Mob-busting federal prosecutor for more than three decades, has assisted the attorney general for several weeks to determine whether federal investigators acted appropriately in the early stages of the now completed inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
Former attorney general Barr announced he had launched the review last month in an appearance before a Senate subcommittee. He expressed concern about the FBI’s surveillance of associates of Donald Trump during the presidential campaign as authorities sought to understand Russia’s interference efforts. Barr said he did not know whether officials had done anything wrong.
“Spying on a campaign is a big deal,” Barr told lawmakers. “I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was adequately predicated.”
The attorney general said he planned to examine the “genesis and the conduct” of the FBI’s investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. “I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred,” he told the Senate Appropriations subcommittee. “I am concerned about it. There is a basis for my concern.”
Durham has led several high-profile special investigations, including an examination of the FBI’s handling of criminal informants in Boston during the Clinton administration, which led to the prosecution of former agent John Connolly. He led an inquiry during the George W. Bush administration into the CIA’s destruction of videotapes depicting the torture of terror detainees.
“It’s inconceivable to me that the appointment of someone with John Durham’s record would be considered unless the use of a grand jury was contemplated,” said former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who chose Durham for the CIA review.
President Trump enthusiastically endorsed Barr’s action. “I am so proud of our attorney general that he is looking into it,” he said Tuesday.
Democrats have seized on Barr’s use of the term “spying,” asserting that the attorney general sided with Trump to disparage the 22-month-long investigation, which the president repeatedly described as a “witch hunt.”
Last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray said he was unaware of any evidence indicating the FBI abused its authority, distancing himself from the attorney general. “That’s not the term I would use,” Wray told the same Senate panel, referring to the “spying” reference.
Rod Rosenstein, until recently the Justice Department’s second-in-command, said in a speech Monday that based on what he knew in 2017, “the investigation of Russian election interference was justified, and closing it was not an option.”
The review involving the attorney general and Durham marks the third such inquiry into aspects of the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. It was first reported late Monday by The New York Times.
The Justice Department’s inspector general is reviewing surveillance warrants authorities used to eavesdrop on a former campaign aide, Carter Page, in October 2016. Barr said that effort should be completed by late May or June. The chief federal prosecutor in Utah, John Huber, is in the midst of a separate review.
Trump and Republicans in Congress have complained that the FBI targeted the president’s campaign for political reasons, revealing text messages between two senior officials involved in the inquiry who expressed their personal contempt for Trump. Critics focused on the FBI’s reliance on information from a former British spy who had been hired indirectly by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to conduct research on Trump before the election.
“It’s inconceivable to me that the appointment of someone with John Durham’s record would be considered unless the use of a grand jury was contemplated.” Michael Mukasey
John Durham has led high-profile investigations. 2006 FILE PHOTO BY AP
[The above two articles show that the real collusion has been investigated at least two weeks ago and the time for those who committed crimes is coming to an end and I hope it goes all the way to the top, Obama himself and his administration.].
5/15/2019 Sen. Graham unveils plan to combat immigration crisis at southern border by OAN Newsroom
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham recently unveiled his plan to combat the influx of migrants at the southern border. He presented the Secure and Protect Act of 2019 Wednesday, explaining how his initiative would stop Central American migrants from claiming asylum at the Mexico border.
Graham noted that there has been a 64-percent increase in detaining family units at the border, and said his plan would increase the number of days to process a family unit from 20 to 100. His proposal also requested an additional 500 new immigration judges be hired to clear the backlog of asylum cases.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., an ally of President Donald Trump, is joined by Acting U.S. Customs and
Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders, left, as he announces his proposal to revamp laws that affect the increase of Central American
migrants seeking asylum to enter the U.S., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 15, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The South Carolina senator also called on his colleagues across the aisle to acknowledge they were wrong on the issue:
“To my Democratic colleagues: your credibility on this issue is pretty low right now. You need to understand that you were wrong. This was a real problem. To the president: you need to do more than talk about fixing it. You need to fix it.”
Graham also said asylum applications from residents of the Northern Triangle would be filed at refugee processing centers and not in the U.S.
[The Dems are too busy trying to impeach Trump to vote on a solution to the humanitarian border crisis.].
5/15/2019 Rep. Schiff working with DOJ to obtain unredacted Mueller report by OAN Newsroom
Democrats are pushing forward in their effort to obtain the full unredacted Mueller report. House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff is reportedly working with the Justice Department in furthering that effort.
Schiff is not only requesting access to the unredacted report, but all underlying counter-intelligence information as well.
Andrew Desiderio tweet: “Schiff says the intel committee is in negotiations w/ the Justice Department ahead of tomorrow’s deadline for a subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report & counterintelligence information. Judiciary was also in this phase the night before — and Barr was still held in contempt.”
The latest push comes ahead of a deadline set by congressional Democrats.
This is the same phase of negotiations the two sides were in prior to the deadline for Attorney General William Barr to testify. Of course, he was held in contempt the morning after.
Adam Schiff, chairman of the House intelligence committee, evades reporters as he rushes to a vote during a committee
hearing on Russia, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 28, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
[I hope the U.S. Attorney Durham is used to find out who was leaking information to the fake news services and I would suspect it was Adam Schiff since he spent two years making stuff up to the press and denied anything that was brought to life. Maybe he will get arrested for trying to force Barr to break the law.].
5/15/2019 How the EU will vote and why it matters by Alastair Macdonald
People are pictured inside the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europeans will elect a new EU legislature next week. This is why the vote matters:
WHO’S VOTING AND FOR WHAT?
Some 427 million people in the European Union’s 28 member states can vote from May 23 to 26, including nearly 50 million Britons who had been due to leave the bloc in March. Their votes for 73 lawmakers who may have to quit within weeks has upset some calculations after a delay to Brexit.
By proportional representation, Europeans will elect 751 members to the European Parliament, which divides its time between Brussels and Strasbourg. For five years, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will pass laws proposed by the European Commission, subject to approval by national governments in the EU Council. National contingents range in size from 96 seats for Germany to the minimum six each for tiny Cyprus, Estonia, Luxembourg and Malta.
European elections: https://tmsnrt.rs/2VBfCzA
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Issues range from spending – though the EU budget is just 1 percent of members’ gross domestic product – to climate change and labor rights. Some who want the EU broken up see it as a Brexit-style referendum on the EU’s survival, pitting advocates of historic, ethnic-based nations against the idea of pooling sovereignty to defend Europe’s wealth and values in a world of rising authoritarian powers and global corporations.
Caught up in this center-versus-states debate are refugees. Nationalists blame the EU for a surge in arrivals in 2015. Federalists say only cooperation can control migration. Leaders of some eastern states such as Hungary and Poland criticize Brussels over migrants and its complaints that they are undermining EU rules on democracy in Warsaw and Budapest; some westerners speak of cutting their EU subsidies in retaliation.
The election in Britain is seen by some as a new referendum on Brexit, one that could help block withdrawal – or accelerate it – as Britons go on debating how, and whether, to leave.
ARE THERE EU POLITICAL PARTIES?
Yes. And no. Eight party groups sit in the chamber today. The center-right European People’s Party (EPP) has 217 seats and ensures an establishment majority by often cooperating with the center-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D – 186) and ALDE liberals (68). Two right-wing, anti-EU groups led by Britain’s UKIP and France’s National Rally share 78 seats.
But all the groups are unruly and EU elections are mainly contested by national parties on issues familiar to voters.
IS BRITAIN A PROBLEM?
Some EU officials suggest a delay in approving key post-election appointments until after British MEPs leave, to avoid accusations parliament’s decisions will lack legitimacy.
The British vote will favor eurosceptics, Socialists and Greens – likely narrowing the gap with EPP, which has no members in Britain since the ruling Conservatives quit the group.
By taking part, Britain has forced the EU to postpone the redistribution of 27 of 73 UK seats to other countries. France, for example, will elect 79 MEPs, five more than it has now, but those five will not be able to take up their seats until after Britain leaves and parliament shrinks by 46 members to 705.
DOES THE WINNER GET TO RUN THE EU?
Not really. Well, maybe. Parliament’s leaders say they are the heart of European democracy. National leaders scoff at the 43 percent turnout in the 2014 EU elections. In practice, states wield most power and little happens that big countries dislike.
The EU executive Commission is led by Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg. A historic power struggle between Parliament and the Council will get an airing after the election. Parliament has pledged to force the Council to nominate as Juncker’s successor a lead candidate from a winning party. Leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron say they will not be bound by that. Parliament could reject the Council’s Commission nominee.
I’M CONFUSED. SO WHO REALLY RUNS THE EU?
It’s complicated. But the voting and lead candidate rumpus is part of horse-trading among governments to get compatriots or allies into top positions, not just in the Commission and Council but also in the European Central Bank.
Germany and France, the two biggest states, have the most clout, but even the smallest can play. Juncker is the third EU chief executive from little Luxembourg.
SO WILL THE ELECTIONS CHANGE MUCH?
A push by eurosceptics could mean a bigger, more cohesive minority to disrupt EU legislation. But EU optimists say a campaign that grabs more people’s attention could reinvigorate post-Brexit efforts to pull the EU together.
Polls suggest the far right could increase its share but probably not by enough to sound the death knell of the EU. It seems improbable that either camp, for or against closer integration in Europe, can land a knockout blow.
(Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Peter Graff)
5/15/2019 Merkel admits differences with Macron, says they agree on fundamentals
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery
in Berlin, Germany May 15, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she and French President Emmanuel Macron have “intense debates” and think differently but can still find compromises, insisting that they are able to drive the European Union forward.
Macron, seeking to breathe life into the European Union as growing euroskeptic nationalism tests the bloc’s cohesion, has made euro zone reform a priority but Merkel has resisted some of his ideas, especially those that may expose Berlin to more risk.
“Certainly, we have intense debates. Our mentalities do differ in certain respects, and we to some extent view our roles differently,” Merkel told German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
“However, despite our different situations and perspectives, we do reach compromises time and again. In this way, we’ve achieved, and continue to achieve, a lot for the European project,” she added. “We have the same general ideas.”
In January, the two leaders signed a new treaty to update their 1963 post-war reconciliation accord, but some analysts doubt they can still lead an EU that has grown to 28 members with diverse and often conflicting interests and priorities.
Turning to this month’s European Parliament elections, Merkel said: “Many people are concerned about Europe – including myself. This means I feel even more duty-bound to join others in making sure that Europe has a future.”
Merkel said she supported German conservative Manfred Weber in his quest to become the next president of the European Commission, adding: “That does not mean Germany has no other excellent candidates for other positions.”
In separate remarks at a foreign policy lecture on Wednesday, Merkel said she was pleased Britain wanted to remain involved in European security policy despite its planned exit from the EU.
“Wherever Britain is ready to cooperate, we should take the outstretched hand – that will make us stronger,” she told an audience in Ravensburg, in southwestern Germany.
On defense policy, Merkel said Germany’s restrictive guidelines on defense exports could leave its partners in despair.
To France’s irritation, Germany decided unilaterally last October – after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul – to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia, its second largest market in the world after Algeria.
The decision compromised existing and planned European defense projects.
“So here we, Germany, will have to be more ready to compromise to be considered at all as a partner,” Merkel said.
(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Gareth Jones and Janet Lawrence)
5/16/2019 Oil up $0.24 to $62.02, DOW up 116 to 35,648.
5/16/2019 Migrants sleep on ground, rig awnings at Texas Border Patrol station by Loren Elliott
Migrants are seen outside the U.S. Border Patrol McAllen Station in a makeshift encampment
in McAllen, Texas, U.S., May 15, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott
MCALLEN, Texas (Reuters) – Reuters photos taken on Wednesday show adults and children outside the U.S. Border Patrol station for migrants in McAllen, Texas, sleeping on the ground and rigging up makeshift awnings with reflective blankets to shelter from the sun.
The photos, taken from a helicopter, also show people sleeping in a shaded area of a parking lot and crowded around a military tent.
The ground temperature was about 89 Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) when the pictures were taken around midday.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesman Richard Pauza referred to testimony by U.S. Border Patrol chief Carla Provost when asked for comment. The Border Patrol is the law enforcement arm of the CBP.
During her May 8 testimony to a U.S. Senate committee, Provost said the agency faced an “unprecedented border security and humanitarian crisis” as Central American migrant families headed north and apprehension numbers went “off the charts.”
U.S. border officers apprehended nearly 99,000 people crossing the U.S. southern border in April, the highest monthly figure since 2007, Provost said.
According to the Border Patrol website, McAllen Station is responsible for patrolling a 53-mile (85 km) section of the Rio Grande that runs along the U.S.-Mexican border.
“From what we’ve seen at McAllen, people are sleeping on rocks and stones, and without shelter,” said Erika Andiola, chief advocacy officer at the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), which provides legal services to migrants.
The Border Patrol did not immediately respond to a specific question on why migrants were being held in makeshift conditions by the McAllen Border Patrol station.
The Trump administration on May 1 asked Congress for $4.5 billion in immediate emergency funding, saying a surge in Central American children and families claiming asylum at the U.S. southern border had drained government resources.
The money would come on top of the funding President Donald Trump has redirected to make good on a central pledge of his 2016 election campaign – to build a border wall – ahead of his looming 2020 presidential race.
The emergency funding request would represent a 44% increase in spending for programs that house, feed, transport and oversee record numbers of Central American families seeking asylum, fleeing poverty and violence in their home countries, and straining capacity at migrant shelters in border cities.
This month, the federal government spent $37 million erecting two new temporary shelters in El Paso and Donna, Texas to deal with the crisis.
A number of small border towns have declared emergencies in hopes of receiving government assistance to deal with migrants being diverted to their communities.
(Reporting by Loren Elliott, additional reporting by Kristina Cooke; Writing by Andrew Hay; editing by Bill Tarrant and Rosalba O’Brien)
5/16/2019 Alabama abortion ban sets up battle by Kim Chandler, ASSOCIATED PRESS
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama lawmakers’ vote to outlaw almost all abortions in the state is igniting a legal and political battle over what would be the most restrictive law in the country as conservatives aim to challenge the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
The legislation that would make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy, with almost no exceptions, a felony is now in the hands of the governor, who will decide whether to sign it. Even supporters anticipate that, if enacted, courts would block the legislation from taking effect as abortion opponents play a strategy to try to give states control over abortion access.
On Wednesday morning, abortion rights advocates urged Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to reject the bill and vowed swift legal action if it is enacted.
In Alabama and other conservative states, anti-abortion politicians and activists emboldened by the addition of conservative justices to the U.S. Supreme Court hope to ignite legal fights and eventually overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, putting an end to the constitutional right to abortion.
Ivey has not announced whether she will sign the bill approved Tuesday night but told reporters Wednesday that potential legal fees resulting from lawsuits “certainly cannot deter your efforts to protect the unborn.”
5/16/2019 Mnuchin says courts need to settle fight over Trump’s taxes
WASHINGTON – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that it’s up to the courts to referee his dispute with House Democrats demanding access to President Donald Trump’s tax returns. Mnuchin told a Senate panel that the fight between the administration and the House Ways and Means Committee chairman, Rep. Richard Neal, “will go to the third branch of government to be resolved.” Neal, D-Mass., has subpoenaed six years’ worth of Trump’s returns. Neal set a Friday deadline for the IRS to deliver them.
5/16/2019 Prominent attorney says former CIA Director at center of conspiracy to frame President Trump by OAN Newsroom
A prominent attorney believes former CIA Director John Brennan is at the center of a conspiracy to frame President Trump.
During an interview Wednesday, Joe Digenova said Brennan is the mastermind behind a scheme to remove the president from office with the Russian collusion hoax. He accused the former CIA director of working with James Clapper and James Comey to illegally exonerate Hillary Clinton of her email scandal in 2016.
Digenova said when Clinton still lost, Brennan used the Russian hoax as an “insurance policy” to undermine President Trump’s Election Day victory.
Former CIA Director John Brennan prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 23, 2017,
before the House Intelligence Committee Russia Investigation Task Force. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
“Make no mistake about it, John Brennan is the mastermind of this conspiracy to frame Donald Trump, and to steal his presidency from him after he was elected,” he stated. “John Brennan is at the core of this conspiracy — his handymen and acolytes were Clapper and Comey, and the senior FBI officials who worked with Comey, but lets not forget that all the people at the senior levels of the U.S. Department of Justice under Obama were involved in this plot.”
Digenova said President Trump’s decision to revoke Brennan’s security clearance proved to be in the best interest of the American people.
5/16/2019 Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says DACA not part of President Trump’s immigration plan by OAN Newsroom
According to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, DACA was left out of the president’s new immigration proposal on purpose.
While speaking to reporters outside the White House Thursday, Sanders said the administration wants lawmakers to read the plan rather than reject it before seeing it. The press secretary also said the Obama-era policy is a failing program and an issue that divides the American people.
“Every single time that we have put forward, or anyone else has put forward, any type of immigration plan and it’s included DACA — it’s failed,” she stated. “That’s a divisive thing, certainly something to discuss and look at and address, but this plan is focused on a different part of fixing the immigration system.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks to members of the media outside the West Wing
of the White House, Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Sanders went on to say the president’s new immigration plan is intended to be legislation, not just talking points. It will include a merit based criteria for immigrants.
The press secretary also said there’s nothing in the plan that Democrats should be against.
5/16/2019 Legal experts agree Democrats subpoena asks Attorney General Barr to violate law by OAN Newsroom
Witnesses brought to Capitol Bill by Democrats recently delivered a blow to the party’s rhetoric on the attorney general.
Republican Congressman Kelly Armstrong grilled legal experts Wednesday about the subpoena issued to William Barr by the House Judiciary Committee. When pressed on the issue, the witnesses agreed that the subpoena asks Barr to violate the law in order to comply.
The committee voted last week to hold Barr in contempt for refusing to releasing the unredacted report. This forced President Trump to assert executive privilege over the material and any underlying evidence.
FILE – In this May 1, 2019, file photo, Attorney General William Barr appears at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on
Capitol Hill in Washington. Barr has appointed a U.S. attorney to examine the origins of the Russia investigation and determine if intelligence
collection involving the Trump campaign was “lawful and appropriate.” (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
5/16/2019 Trump proposes new U.S. immigration plan favoring skills over family ties by Roberta Rampton and Steve Holland
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks on immigration reform in the Rose Garden
of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said he wants to overhaul the immigration system to favor young, educated, English-speaking applicants with job offers instead of people with family ties to Americans, a plan with little chance of advancing in Congress.
Trump’s plan, roundly panned by Democrats and immigration advocacy groups, is aimed at trying to unite Republicans – some who want to boost immigration, others who want to restrict it – ahead of the November 2020 presidential and congressional elections.
“If for some reason, possibly political, we can’t get the Democrats to approve this merit-based, high-security plan, then we will get it approved immediately after the election when we take back the House (of Representatives), keep the Senate, and, of course, hold the presidency,” Trump said in a Rose Garden address to Republican lawmakers and Cabinet members.
Currently, about two-thirds of the 1.1 million people allowed to emigrate to the United States each year are given green cards granting permanent residency because of family ties.
Trump proposed keeping the overall numbers steady, but shift to a “merit-based” system similar to one used in Canada – a plan he said would result in 57% of green cards to be based on employment and skills.
Ahead of the speech, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “merit” was a “condescending” term.
“Are they saying family is without merit? Are they saying most of the people who have ever come to the United States in the history of our country, are without merit, because they don’t have an engineering degree?” Pelosi told reporters.
The plan was developed by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and Stephen Miller, an adviser known for his hard line on immigration issues.
Democratic support would be needed to advance any legislation through the Republican-led Senate – let alone the Democratic-controlled House.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer criticized the White House for failing to consult with Democratic lawmakers, and said that showed the proposal was not serious.
Trump’s plan included proposals to beef up security at the border to try to prevent people from crossing illegally and legal changes aimed at curbing a flood of Central American migrants seeking asylum.
But it left aside the thorny issue of how to deal with the roughly 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally – many for years – and protections for “Dreamer” children brought to the country illegally, a top priority for Democratic lawmakers.
“To say it’s dead on arrival would be generous,” said Pili Tobar, deputy director of America’s Voice, a group that advocates for undocumented immigrants.
The plan also does not include provisions to help farmers and other seasonal employers obtain more guest workers, or reforms for technology visa programs.
Business groups said the plan was a good first step but emphasized solutions needed to be broader and bipartisan.
“It should also incorporate policies to improve access to temporary workers with skills needed in the marketplace and provide a practical solution for undocumented immigrants and those living under temporary relief from removal, including Dreamers,” the Business Roundtable – a group of chief executives from large companies – said in a statement.
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton; additional reporting by Makini Brice, Susan Cornwell, Mica Rosenberg, Yeganeh Torbati and Kristina Cooke; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
5/16/2019 Trump says he hopes U.S. not going to war with Iran by Steve Holland
U.S. President Donald Trump awaits the arrival of Swiss Federal President Ueli Maurer
at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he hoped the United States was not heading to war with Iran as he met with Switzerland President Ueli Maurer, whose nation has served as a diplomatic conduit between the two countries.
Asked by reporters if Washington was going to war with Tehran, Trump responded, “Hope not” as he greeted Maurer at the White House.
Tensions have escalated in recent days with increasing concerns about a potential U.S.-Iran conflict. Earlier this week the United States pulled some diplomatic staff from its embassy in Baghdad following weekend attacks on four oil tankers in the Gulf.
Switzerland, a neutral country, has historically been a liaison between the United States and Iran, which have no diplomatic relations.
A White House statement said the two leaders discussed “a range of international issues, including the crises in the Middle East and in Venezuela.”
“President Trump expressed his gratitude for Switzerland’s role in facilitating international mediation and diplomatic relations on behalf of the United States,” the statement said.
The Washington Post, citing unnamed U.S. officials, reported late Wednesday that Trump preferred a diplomatic route with Iran and direct talks with its leaders but worried that some of his advisers were pushing war.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” that there is no friction between Trump and his advisers and he welcomes different viewpoints.
“He’s the one the American people elected. He’s going to take in the information and the guidance from all of his national security team and he then will make a decision on what he thinks is the best and safest thing for the American people,” she said.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday welcomed what she called Trump’s lack of “appetite” for military conflict with Tehran.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Richard Chang and Cynthia Osterman)
5/16/2019 Trump, Swiss president discussed Middle East, Venezuela crises: White House
U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Swiss Federal President Ueli Maurer as he arrives for meetings
at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump discussed crises in the Middle East and Venezuela during a meeting on Thursday with Switzerland President Ueli Maurer, a White House spokesman said.
“President Trump expressed his gratitude for Switzerland’s role in facilitating international mediation and diplomatic relations on behalf of the United States,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Susan Thomas)
[5/17/200109 THE FOLLOWING IS A BRIEF REVIEW OF WHAT GOT US TO HERE AND MAY LEAD TO SOME PROSECUTIONS]
Obama and his staff used the NSA to spy on Americans illegally and if you did not know Benjamin J. Rhodes, he was an American political advisor and White House staff member who served as the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications for U.S. President Barack Obama and adviser on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran was involved in this cover up also.
And definitely these two suspects who were involved: Gen. James R. Clapper National Intelligence and John O. Brennen CIA Director both under Obama.
Sidney Stone Blumenthal, an American journalist, activist, writer, and political aide and former aide to President Bill Clinton; a long-time confidant of Hillary Clinton, formerly employed by the Clinton Foundation; and a journalist, especially on American politics and foreign policy, along with Cody Shearer, and Estate Department Johnaton Winer originally gave the information to Christopher Steele.
James Brien Comey Jr., an American lawyer who was the 7th Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 2013 until his dismissal in May 2017. And of course, there was this illegal handling of classified documents and FBI director James Comey got involved somehow.
Hillary Clinton was hit on about a private server with classified files on it. Of course, she went in DENY, DENY mode which sounds like her husband, Bill Clinton.
Christopher David Steele, a former British intelligence officer with the Secret Intelligence Service MI6 from 1987 until his retirement in 2009. He ran the Russia desk at MI6 headquarters in London between 2006 and 2009. In 2009 he co-founded Orbis Business Intelligence, a London-based private intelligence firm. Christopher David Steele, was the creator of the Trump dossier.
Can anyone figure out how the creation of a secret wiretap warrant that the FBI used to do a Russia Investigation from a Trump dossier, became breaking news? I can guess who leaked that to the "fake news."
I thought that the above was amusing since he is the one covering it up now, and is on Trump on the Russian collusion “witch hunt.” Of course Adam Schiff was involved to egg everything on to impeach Trump now.
Adam Schiff, the leaker said Christopher Steele's dossier was "evidence beyond a shadow of doubt of Trump's collusion."
The Trump dossier was paid for by the Clinton-Kaine 2016 Democratic Party. Christopher Steele was fired because he leaked files to the media.
Bruce Genesoke Ohr, a United States Department of Justice official, former associate deputy attorney general and former director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, as of February 2018, and working in the Justice Department's Criminal Division. His wife Nellie Ohr worked for Fusion GPS, who ordered it, and when she got the dossier, she gave it to Bruce, who then gave it to the FBI.
It was Michael Isikoff who did a Yahoo article over Carter Page and his Russian connection, which is where Rep. Nunes got involved who wondered why the court did not know about that.
Sidney Stone Blumenthal, an American journalist, activist, writer, and political aide and former aide to President Bill Clinton; a long-time confidant of Hillary Clinton, formerly employed by the Clinton Foundation; and a journalist, especially on American politics and foreign policy, along with Cody Shearer, and Estate Department Johnaton Winer originally gave the information to Christopher Steele.
Surveillance on Carter Page and anyone associated with him were being spied on. So this was a SMEAR job for Hillary clinton to win the election, which we know did not happen.
Nunes sent Rep. Trey Gowdy and Rep. John Ratcliffe to review the FISA document. The review showed that FBI Comey and McCabe did not verify it. Comey signed it 3 times, McCabe signed it once, and then to Loretta Lynch in charge of the DOJ, knew that the following signed the FISA warrant: Salley Yates, Dana Boente (Virginia Judge) and Rod Rosestein and sent it through by October 21, 2016, less than a month after Michael Isikoff's article was released. Does anyone smell six dishonest lying FBI and DOJ officials?
Rosemary Mayers Collyer, a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and currently the Presiding Judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Collyer was one of four FISA Court judges who approved a FISA warrant (issued in October 2016 and renewed several times) authorizing the wiretapping of Carter Page. So now it is found out that there was illegal activity by the FBI, with contractors doing improper disclosures on Americans.
FBI lawyer James Baker was under criminal investigation for leaking to media, Republican lawmakers revealed, closed-door interview, Baker’s lawyer, Daniel Levin, instructed him to not talk about his contacts with journalists.
Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) addressed the Jan. 15 letter to John Durham, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, who, according to Levin, handles the investigation of Baker.
The following three individuals have been mentioned recently to have some issues with these events.
Joseph Misfud, allegedly told Papadopoulos this in April 2016, and Papadopoulos allegedly told Downer what Misfud had said in early May. It is entirely possible that Papadopoulos was set up by Misfud, who has now disappeared and is hopefully just in hiding and not at the bottom of some body of water.
This chain of events became important when the FBI began using the Papadopoulos tip as an excuse for its “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into the Trump campaign, in order to say why they didn’t rely on the Clinton-funded dossier.
But the FBI didn’t open Crossfire Hurricane until several months after the Dibble-Downer tip was received, and that tip, if it ever even occurred, didn’t go through the normal and proper chain of intelligence (others have claimed that the tip wasn’t taken seriously until the Democratic National Committee hack was made public).
More damning for the FBI’s Papadopoulos excuse was that they didn’t interview Papadopolous until after the 2016 election, and went after Carter Page for FISA surveillance instead. This was no damning piece of firsthand information, or emergency. It was hearsay, and what Papadopoulos said to Downer, and what Misfud said to Papadopoulos, is still disputed.
The reality is that the Clinton-funded dossier started the FBI’s investigation into Trump, at least the official Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
Kathleen Kavalec, was the Deputy Assistant Secretary – Department of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs serving under Victoria Nuland.
Kavalec sent Bruce Ohr “information on Simon Kukes, a Russian-born executive who contributed more than $250,000 to Trump-supporting organizations after Trump won the Republican nomination.” In follow-up email, Kavalec references connections between Kukes and Sergei Millian.
As of 2018, Kavalec was President Trump's nominee to be ambassador to Albania. Kavalec is on Devin Nunes' interview list.
Sidney Blumenthal, is an even more infamous Clinton stooge. “Sid” is so infamous that Obama told Hillary that he didn’t want Blumenthal associated with the Obama administration. Blumenthal got the Trump-Russia conspiracies written by Shearer into the Obama State Department, when only the Clinton campaign was talking about Trump-Russia collusion.
So as seen below is that group who will be under investigation for some time until they get the real story out to the public.
5/17/2019 Oil up $0.85 to $62.87, DOW up 215 to 25,863.
5/17/2019 Manning refuses to testify at grand jury, returns to jail
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning has been sent to jail – again – for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. A judge on Thursday ordered Manning back to the Alexandria Detention Center until she agrees to testify or until the grand jury term expires in 18 months. Manning has already served two months in jail but was released last week when that grand jury term expired. Manning told Judge Anthony Trenga that she would “rather starve to death” than change her opinion.
5/17/2019 Attorney General Barr review on Russia probe to focus on intelligence gathering actions by OAN Newsroom
Attorney General William Barr said he wants to make sure the Russia investigation was done properly. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Friday, Barr said his own review of the probe, which examines Russian interference in the 2016 election, will be focused on intelligence gathering efforts prior to the formal FBI inquiry in July 2016.reviewing the conduct” of the FBI in the earliest days of what would become a two-year long investigation.
In the interview, the attorney general said, “government power was used to spy on American citizens, I can’t imagine any world where we wouldn’t take a look and make sure that was done properly.”
He didn’t expand on what prompted his concerns about the origins of the probe, but did say he has more questions now than when he came in. Barr said he’s most interested in the underlying intelligence which prompted the FBI to start the investigation, and what actions officials took based on that intelligence.
Earlier this week, President Trump praised the attorney general for his work:
“It was the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the people of this country. And you know what? I am so proud of this attorney general that he is looking into it. I think it’s great.”
President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr attend the 38th Annual National Peace Officers’
Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, May 15, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
In a tweet Friday, the president said his campaign was “conclusively spied on,” and said the act amounts to “treason.”
Trump tweet: “My Campaign for President was conclusively spied on. Nothing like this has ever happened in American Politics. A really bad situation. TREASON means long jail sentences, and this was TREASON!”
On Monday, Barr announced Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham would be heading the review. Durham previously investigated cases of law enforcement corruption as well as the destruction of CIA videotapes.
Barr hasn’t indicated when the review may end, but reports say he’s working closely with the CIA, FBI and the director of National Intelligence on the matter. The attorney general also said he’s reviewing Justice Department rules surrounding the investigation, but did not specify what if any changes could come.
5/17/2019 Judicial Watch: Obama knew of FOIA request, knew Clinton was using private servers by OAN Newsroom
New evidence has suggested the Obama-era White House was more involved with Hillary Clinton’s email scandal than previously thought.
Judicial Watch obtained 44 pages of documents from the State Department this week, revealing White House staff were tracking a December 2012 FOIA request by the left-leaning group ‘Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington’.
(CREW). According to those documents, the request raised the alarm among Obama White House staff and the damage control began.
“CREW had sent this request asking for records about any email accounts associated with Hillary Clinton. They had sent this request again in December of 2012. The White House contacts the State Department and says ‘we want to know what’s going on, how are you responding to this to this Freedom of Information Act request?’ So, there’s some very interesting dialogue back and forth among the State Department officials.” – Bill Marshall, senior investigator – Judicial Watch
CREW’s request went ignored until months later in May of 2013. The State Department finally responded, saying there were no records matching their request. In a chain of emails sent between Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, the Clinton aides referred to waiting on advice from the White House Counsel on how to proceed further.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. (AP Photo)
Meanwhile, Judicial Watch was still pushing for access to Clinton’s emails in court, claiming the State Department acted in bad faith. They are not alone. A judge has declared the email scandal to be “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”
“Like what we’re seeing here…it demonstrates how the White House knew all along, for a long period of time, that that Hillary was was using an illegal email server,” stated Judicial Watch’s senior investigator. “Of course they knew because Hillary, we know, was communicating with Barack Obama via her illegal email account.”
As a result of court ordered depositions and a series of document releases, Judicial Watch believes the Obama-era White House orchestrated a cover-up for the former secretary of state.
5/17/2019 President Trump says ‘America is a nation of builders,’ touts economy by OAN Newsroom
President Trump recently addressed the National Association of Realtors’ annual legislative meetings and trade expo in Washington, D.C. On Friday, the president said his administration is getting Americans off of welfare and back into the workforce. He called America “a nation of builders.”
The president also touted the strength of the economy under his administration, with the most recent economic data showing the housing market continuing to stabilize.
President Donald Trump pumps his fist before speaking at the National Association of REALTORS Legislative Meetings
and Trade Expo, Friday, May 17, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
This comes on the heels of the U.S. reaching a deal to life steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico. The president alluded to the deal, saying he hopes it will benefit the U.S. and lead to the passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement.
“So, that deal is going to be a fantastic deal for our country, and hopefully Congress will approve the USMCA quickly,” stated President Trump. “And then the great farmers and manufactures and steel plants will make our economy even more successful than it already is, if that’s possible, which it is possible.”
Vice President Mike Pence said he will travel to Canada to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the end of the month to advance the USMCA deal. The vice president called the agreement a win for all three nations.
Trump tweet: “Today, it was my great honor to address the the National Association of REALTORS! https://www.pscp.tv/w/b68D-zFvTlFsTFJub1dwUXd8MU93R1drYkJwRVdHUZ2kIfKazyqIGEZS07dMKHqEwgPuxroDp-SAVHlE06VX?t=5s …”
5/17/2019 5 states announce new lawsuits against Purdue Pharma over prescription opioids by OAN Newsroom
Five more states have announced lawsuits against giant pharma company and OxyCotin maker Purdue Pharma, saying its marketing of the drug fueled the nationwide opioid crisis. In legal filings by five state attorney generals Thursday, they accused Purdue Pharma and its chief executive, Richard Sackler, of using deceptive marketing as well as downplaying the drug’s abuse potential.
Prosecutors in Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, West Virginia and Wisconsin said they intend to hold the drug industry responsible for the crisis, which has become the biggest cause of accidental deaths across the country.
The flurry of suits comes just one day after Pennsylvania’s attorney general announced he was suing the company. He is claiming it pushed OxyContin to vulnerable populations, such as elderly and military veterans, while underplaying its addictive qualities.
“Let me be clear, the opioid epidemic is manmade. It is built prescription by prescription by Purdue and other pharmaceutical companies. The irresponsible marketing and sales, and prescribing and distribution of opioid medications is the jet fuel in this crisis.” — Josh Sharpio, Attorney General – Pa.
The new filings bring the total number of states accusing the OxyContin maker of being behind the epedemic to 45.
FILE – This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy, in Montpelier, Vt. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)
West Virginia, who has the highest rate of overdose deaths involving opioids, previously filed a lawsuit, which ended in a $10 million settlement in 2004. The past suit said Purdue promoted its products “through a deceptive narrative” insinuating the drug OxyContin was safe and unfairly targeted vulnerable populations.
“Enough is enough, the opioid epidemic knows no boundaries, but our states will not go down quietly,” stated West Virginaia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
More than 1,600 lawsuits have been filed against the company in recent years. Purdue Pharma has continued to vigorously deny all allegations, and have called the suits “misleading attacks.”
5/17/2019 President Trump calls out media outlets over Iran coverage by OAN Newsroom
President Trump recently blasted the mainstream media over it’s reporting on U.S. tensions with Iran. In a tweet Friday, he said “the fake news media” is the country “with its fraudulent” and "inaccurate coverage of Iran.” He went on to call poor sourcing “dangerous.”
Trump tweet: “The Fake News Media is hurting our Country with its fraudulent and highly inaccurate coverage of Iran. It is scattershot, poorly sourced (made up), and DANGEROUS. At least Iran doesn’t know what to think, which at this point may very well be a good thing!”
The tweet comes after news outlets reported that U.S. Intelligence said Iran was only increasing military defenses because it believed the U.S. was about to launch a preemptive strike on Tehran.
Reports Thursday said President Trump told acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan that he did not want a war with Iran.
In this Thursday, May 9, 2019 photo released by the U.S. Navy, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln transits the
Suez Canal in Egypt. The aircraft carrier and its strike group deployed to the Persian Gulf on orders from the White House to
respond to an unspecified threat from Iran. (Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Dan Snow, U.S. Navy via AP)
5/17/2019 Trump admin. pulls funding from Calif. high speed rail project by OAN Newsroom
President Trump is following through on his promise to pull federal funds away from the stalled California high-speed rail project.
On Thursday, the Federal Railroad Administration announced it has terminated its $929 million agreement with California, and is asking for the return of $2.5 billion in stimulus funding.
The agency said California repeatedly failed to comply with the terms of the agreement, and has failed to make progress on the project.
FILE – In this Dec. 6, 2017, file photo, one of the elevated sections of the high-speed rail is under construction in Fresno, Calif.
The Trump administration cancelled nearly $1 billion in federal money for California’s high-speed rail project Thursday, May 16, 2019,
further throwing into question the future of the ambitious plan to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
The move comes after the state’s governor — Gavin Newsom — said he would alter the scope of the plan to avoid giving the money up to President Trump.
The high-speed rail project has been in the works for a decade, and has stalled due to cost over-runs.
5/17/2019 Trump says EU treats U.S. worse than China does on trade
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the National Association of Realtors' Legislative
Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, U.S., May 17, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said the European Union is less fair to the United States on trade than even China, which is embroiled in a months-long trade war with Washington.
“The European Union treats us, I would say, worse than China, they’re just smaller,” Trump told a gathering of real estate agents in Washington.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Doina Chiacu)
5/18/2019 Oil down $0.43 to $62.71, DOW down 99 to 25,764.
[BE AWARE AS THE DEMOCRATS ARE TRYING TO PASS LEGISLATION THAT WILL GET RID OF OUR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS WHICH prevents the government from making laws which
respect an establishment of religion,
prohibit the free exercise of religion,
or abridge the freedom of speech,
the freedom of the press,
the right to peaceably assemble,
or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.
These rights were adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.
THESE RIGHTS COULD DISAPPEAR IF THIS LEGISLATION TAKES OVERS SO DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO STOP THIS TAKEOVER.].
5/18/2019 House passes bill to expand gay rights by Matthew Daly, ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON – Democrats in the House approved sweeping anti-discrimination legislation Friday that would extend civil rights protections to LGBT people by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The protections would extend to employment, housing, loan applications, education, public accommodations and other areas. Called the Equality Act, the bill is a top priority of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said it will bring the nation “closer to equal liberty and justice for all.”
Sexual orientation and gender identity “deserve full civil rights protections – in the workplace and in every place, education, housing, credit, jury service, public accommodations,” Pelosi said.
The vote was 236-173, with every Democrat voting in favor, along with eight Republicans. Cheers and applause broke out on the House floor as the bill crossed the threshold for passage.
The legislation’s chief sponsor, Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., said it affirms fairness and equality as core American values “and ensures members of the LGBTQ community can live their lives free from the fear of legal discrimination of any kind.”
Cicilline, who is gay, called equal treatment under the law a founding principle of the United States.
Most Republicans opposed the bill and called it another example of government overreach. Several GOP lawmakers spoke against it Friday on the House floor. President Donald Trump is widely expected to veto the legislation if it reaches his desk.
At a news conference Thursday, the Republicans said the bill would jeopardize religious freedom by requiring acceptance of a particular ideology about sexuality and sexual identity.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., called the legislation “grossly misnamed” and said it is “anything but equalizing.”
The bill “hijacks” the 1964 Civil Rights Act to create “a brave new world of ‘discrimination’ based on undefined terms of sexual orientation and gender identity,” Hartzler said.
The legislation threatens women’s sports, shelters and schools, and could silence female athletes, domestic abuse survivors and other women, she said.
A similar bill in the Senate has been co-sponsored by all but one Senate Democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, but faces long odds in the Republican-controlled chamber.
A Trump administration official who asked not be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the president’s intentions, said the White House “opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all. However, this bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights.”
The eight House Republicans who voted for the bill Friday were Reps. Susan Brooks of Indiana, Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Will Hurd of Texas, Greg Walden of Oregon and New York lawmakers John Katko, Tom Reed and Elise Stefanik.
Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., speaks about the Equality Act of 2019, which would modify existing civil rights law
to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBT people. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP
5/18/2019 Trump administration to send migrants ‘across the entire nation’
The Trump administration is preparing to send Central American migrants caught along the southern border to Border Patrol stations “across the entire nation,” a senior Border Patrol official confirmed Friday. The agency’s southern facilities are full, so it may house captured migrants in sites around the country, including along the border with Canada and coastal states. The official confirmed reports Thursday that Broward and Palm Beach counties in Florida are under consideration given the size of their Border Patrol stations.
5/18/2019 Migrant families being flown to San Diego from Texas in U.S. border crisis by Bill Tarrant
FILE PHOTO - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) temporary facilities for housing migrants
are seen in Donna, Texas, U.S., May 15, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Hundreds of detainees from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities in Texas and elsewhere are being flown to San Diego for processing beginning on Friday, the agency said.
Border officials said they are developing plans to fly potentially thousands of migrant families to other places away from the southern U.S. border with Mexico.
The agency said the number of people apprehended at the border since Oct. 1 was nearly 520,000, the highest in a decade. In the past week, there was an average of 4,500 arrests a day.
This is making it difficult to process and release family units within 20 days of their arrival at a detention center, as required by law, the CBP said in a statement.
U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this year declared the immigration influx a national emergency, which allowed him to circumvent Congress to redirect more than $6 billion in funding to start building the border wall that he campaigned on in the 2016 presidential election. His move has been challenged in courts.
Three flights a week will arrive in the San Diego area from the Rio Grande Valley carrying approximately 130 people per flight, a CBP official at the San Diego office said.
“We’re in the middle of a humanitarian crisis and the numbers in Texas are staggering so the BP is helping out in those sectors to more efficiently process these folks,” said the official, who declined to be identified.
Flights operated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) will land at San Diego International Airport and the detainees will be moved to the eight Border Patrol stations in the San Diego sector. “They will be housed properly inside,” the official said.
The program has no end date and no unaccompanied children will be on the flight.
The CBP statement said the border officials are also busing people to El Centrol from Yuma and to Laredo from the Rio Grande Valley. It did not say which other cities might receive migrants. Media reports say the agency was considering flights to Detroit, Miami and Buffalo, New York, where the agency has facilities.
Trump last month threatened to send migrants to so-called sanctuary cities such as New York and San Francisco, which generally give undocumented immigrants safe harbor by refusing to use their resources to help enforce federal immigration laws that could lead to deportations.
In the past week, border authorities have averaged 4,500 apprehensions a day and facilities aren’t equipped to care for the influx of children, the CBP statement said. Since Dec. 21, ICE has released approximately 180,000 family members into places in the United States.
“Whenever possible, the releases have been coordinated with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs). As NGOs have reached their capacities, CBP has released family units at transportation hubs during daylight hours when the weather does not endanger those released,” the statement said.
(Reporting by Bill Tarrant; editing by Grant McCool)
5/18/2019 U.S. lifts tariffs on Canadian, Mexican metals in boost for trade pact by David Lawder and Steve Scherer
Flags of the U.S., Canada and Mexico fly next to each other in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. August 29, 2018. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
WASHINGTON/OTTAWA (Reuters) – The United States struck deals on Friday to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico, the three governments said, removing a major obstacle to legislative approval of a new North American trade pact.
The separate agreements, which will not impose U.S. quotas on Canadian and Mexican metals shipments, will also eliminate Mexican and Canadian retaliatory tariffs on a broad range of U.S. products, including pork, beef and bourbon.
The United States and Canada said their agreement will be implemented by Sunday afternoon, and includes new curbs aimed at preventing dumped steel and aluminum from China and other countries from entering the U.S. market via Canada.
President Donald Trump had imposed the global “Section 232” tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum in March 2018 on national security grounds, invoking a 1962 Cold War-era trade law.
Both Canada and Mexico argued for 14 months that their metals industries posed no security threat as their economies are integrated with the United States, and challenged the tariffs before the World Trade Organization.
“This is just pure good news for Canadians,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters after announcing the deal to workers at Stelco Holdings Inc’s steel mill in Hamilton, Ontario.
Stelco shares soared 11 percent on the news, while top U.S. steelmaker Nucor fell 3.1 percent and U.S. Steel Corp, which had seen massive profit improvement because of the tariffs, fell 1.2 percent.
Spokesmen for U.S. Steel and Nucor, which had advocated for maintaining strong tariff protections, could not be reached for comment.
TRADE DEAL VOTE
The metals tariffs were a major irritant for Canada and Mexico and had caused them to halt progress toward ratification the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the trilateral trade deal to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.
U.S. lawmakers with constituents suffering from Canadian and Mexican retaliation, including Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, also said they would not consider a USMCA vote with the tariffs in place.
After the deal, Grassley tweeted: “Thank u Mr President for really helping the farmers of Iowa w this important step in USMCA. w lifting metal tariffs @realdonaldtrump just proved he can deliver on negotiations. China ought to take note/start dealing in good faith & take Pres Trump seriously.”
Trudeau said Canada would now work with the United States on the timing of USMCA ratification and said he was optimistic Canada would be “be able to move forward well in the coming weeks.”
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said he would meet with Trudeau in Ottawa on May 30 to discuss “advancing” ratification.
Several U.S. Democrats applauded removal of the tariffs, but said USMCA was not yet ready for their support.
“When it comes to the new agreement, House Democrats continue to have a number of substantial concerns related to labor, environment, enforcement, and access to affordable medicines provisions. Those issues still need to be remedied,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal.
Neal added that the deal does not address global steel overcapacity and criticized Trump’s handling of trade negotiations with China, which deteriorated significantly in the last two weeks.
Trump, speaking to realtors in Washington, called the pact “a fantastic deal for our country” and said Congress would hopefully approve the USMCA quickly. “Then the great farmers and manufacturers and steel plants will make our economy even more successful than it already is.”
Jesus Seade, Mexico’s deputy foreign minister for North America, said the deal “measurably increases the probability” the USMCA will be approved before the U.S. Congress’ summer break in August. Some U.S. lawmakers say passage would become more difficult after the recess due to budget battles expected in the fall and increased 2020 presidential campaign activity.
Trump’s metals tariffs have been largely aimed at keeping excess production from China out of the U.S. market, and the deal includes a new monitoring mechanism aimed at preventing steel and aluminum from China and other countries from being transshipped through Canada and Mexico to the United States.
But the U.S. Trade Representative’s office also said the deal allows it to reimpose tariffs in the event of “surges” in imports of specific steel products. If tariffs are reimposed, retaliation would be limited to the steel and aluminum sectors.
Carmakers, which have announced hundreds of millions of dollars in higher U.S. costs due to the tariffs, praised the deal and said it brought USMCA passage a big step closer.
“While many automakers already source the vast majority of their steel and aluminum domestically, tariffs drive those prices up which decreases investment and harms auto workers and ultimately consumers,” said the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group representing most major brands including General Motors Co, Toyota Motor Corp Volkswagen AG and others.
The National Pork Producers Council, which says retaliatory tariffs have cost its members $12 per animal, or a total of $1.5 billion, also expressed relief at the end of “a trade dispute that has placed enormous financial strain on American pork producers.”
(Additional reporting by David Shepardson, Andrea Shalal and Doina Chiacu in Washington and Anthony Esposito and Stefanie Eschenbacher in Mexico City; Writing by David Lawder; Editing by Susan Thomas and Tom Brown)
5/18/2019 Giuliani: no one really respects Comey by OAN Newsroom
President Trump’s personal attorney is firing back at former FBI Director James Comey, for his recent comments on Attorney General William Barr.
On Twitter late Friday, Rudy Giuliani undermined Comey’s opinion, saying “no one really respects him, or wants to hear from him.”
FILE – In this May 5, 2018, file photo, Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for President
Donald Trump, speaks in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
Giuliani went on to slam Comey’s previous position at the FBI, saying he abused his power while violating DOJ ethics.
This comes, after Comey accused AG Barr of “sliming” the department, in regards to his handling of the Russia investigation.
[Lying Comey knows his time is short and he has no protection except to rat on the real collusion.].
5/18/2019 ICE hiring private company to help move asylum seekers to shelters by OAN Newsroom
The Trump administration is looking to hire a private contractor to help re-distribute asylum seekers to holding centers across the U.S. as their claims are processed.
FILE – In this April 5, 2019 file photo, President Donald Trump participates in a roundtable on immigration and
border security at the U.S. Border Patrol Calexico Station in Calexico, Calif. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
According to a document released by the agency this week, the contractor will be responsible for transporting roughly 225,000 unaccompanied minors and migrant families over the course of five-years.
Officials said the plan will help alleviate over-crowded holding centers at points of entry along the southern border.
This comes the same week that the president rolled out his highly anticipated merit-based immigration reform proposal.
5/18/2019 Merkel calls for Europe to stand up against far-right parties by Andreas Rinke
FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on as she attends a news conference
at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
ZAGREB (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Saturday for Europe to push back against far-right parties, saying populist movements wanted to destroy core European values such as fighting corruption and protecting minorities.
Merkel made the remarks when asked about a scandal engulfing Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, whose leader Heinz-Christian Strache quit on Saturday as government vice-chancellor after he was videoed offering state contracts in exchange for political support.
“We’re having to deal with populist movements that in many areas are contemptuous of these values, who want to destroy the Europe of our values. We have to stand up to this decisively,” said Merkel, who has kept a low-profile during campaigning for next week’s EU parliamentary election.
“What falls under this is that minorities are not protected, that basic human rights are called into question and that corruption plays a role in politics,” she added after meeting Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic in Zagreb.
Merkel has left the most vocal election campaigning to fellow countryman Manfred Weber, the top conservative candidate in the May 23-26 election.
Weber, also speaking in Zagreb, said the Austrian scandal vindicated his intention not to rely on votes from far-right parties in his bid for EU commission president.
“The far right and populists are ready to sell their patriotism and the values of their country for their gains,” he said, referring to the affair.
(Writing by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Helen Popper)
5/19/2019 France’s Le Maire says a Le Pen win in EU elections would hurt euro
Marine Le Pen, leader of French National Rally party addresses a major rally of European nationalist and far-right
parties ahead of EU parliamentary elections in Milan, Italy May 18, 2019. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo
PARIS (Reuters) – A win by Marine le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National party in next week’s European parliament elections could hurt the euro and damage the French economy and industries, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday.
Opinion polls show Le Pen’s party, formerly known as the National Front, to be neck-and-neck with President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Republic On the Move.
“If the nationalists, through Marine Le Pen, win on May 26, it would be serious for our finances, it would be serious for the stability of the euro,” Le Maire said on a Sunday talk show on BFM television.
“It will be serious for all economic and industrial policies that we have launched,” the minister said.
Countries in a “fragile” euro zone needed to take extra steps to support the single currency, including measures addressing its budget, banking and capital market unions.
“These decisions are hard to make. If we do not take them, it is the euro that risks being threatened,” he said.
(Reporting by Simon Carraud and Bate Felix; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
5/19/2019 Pres. Trump Responds to Rep. Amash’s Impeachment Call by OAN Newsroom
President Trump is firing back at GOP Representative Justin Amash after he accused the President of obstructing justice.
In a message to Twitter Sunday, President Trump called the lawmaker a total ‘lightweight’ who only opposes Republican ideas to make his name known.
Trump tweet: “Never a fan of @justinamash, a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there through controversy. If he actually read the biased Mueller Report, “composed” by 18 Angry Dems who hated Trump,....”
This comes after Amash made headlines Saturday for becoming the first GOP Congressman to signal for impeachment.
He also accused the Attorney General of ‘deliberately misrepresent(ing) Mueller’s report.’
While the Special Counsel’s report conclusively found no collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and the Russians, House Democrats are still largely divided on impeachment.
The lawmaker has been a vocal critic of the Administration, and voted with a Democrat majority in February to overturn the President’s Emergency Declaration at the U.S.-Mexico border, A move which was unsuccessful.
5/19/2019 Trump threatens Iran in tweet as tension between two countries escalate
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the National Association of Realtors' Legislative
Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, U.S., May 17, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump threatened Iran in a tweet on Sunday, raising concerns about a potential U.S.-Iran conflict at a time when tensions between Washington and Tehran have risen.
“If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again,” Trump said in a tweet.
Trump has tightened economic sanctions against Iran, and his administration says it has built up the U.S. military presence in the region. It accuses Iran of threats to U.S. troops and interests.
Tehran has described U.S. moves as “psychological warfare” and a “political game.”
(Reporting by Nandita Bose; Editing by Sandra Maler)
5/20/2019 U.S. warship sails in disputed South China Sea amid trade tensions by Idrees Ali
FILE PHOTO: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) transits in the the Indian Ocean,
March 29, 2018. Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Morgan K. Nall/U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military said one of its warships sailed near the disputed Scarborough Shoal claimed by China in the South China Sea on Sunday, angering Beijing at a time of tense ties between the world’s two biggest economies.
The busy waterway is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which include a trade war, U.S. sanctions and Taiwan.
China struck a more aggressive tone in its trade war with the United States on Friday.
The tough talk capped a week that saw China unveil new retaliatory tariffs in response to a U.S. decision to raise its levies on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25% from 10%.
The U.S. destroyer Preble carried out the operation, a U.S. military spokesman told Reuters.
“Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Reef in order to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law,” said Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the Seventh Fleet.
Speaking in Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the ship had entered waters near the shoal without China’s permission, and the Chinese navy had warned it to leave.
“I must stress once again that the U.S. warship’s relevant actions have violated China’s sovereignty and undermined the peace, security and good order in the relevant sea areas. China is firmly opposed to this,” Lu told a daily news briefing.
The United States was trying to disturb regional peace and stability by using the issue of freedom of navigation and flight, he added.
“We strongly urge the United States to immediately stop such provocative actions so as not to undermine Sino-U.S. relations and regional peace and stability.”
It was the second such U.S. military operation in the South China Sea in the last month. On Wednesday, the chief of the U.S. Navy said its freedom of navigation movements in the disputed South China Sea drew more attention than they deserved.
The U.S. military has a long-standing position that its operations are carried out throughout the world, including areas claimed by allies, and they are separate from political considerations.
The operation was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, where Chinese, Japanese and some Southeast Asian navies operate.
China claims almost all of the strategic South China Sea and frequently lambastes the United States and its allies over naval operations near Chinese-occupied islands.
Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have competing claims in the region.
China and the United States have repeatedly traded barbs in the past over what Washington says is Beijing’s militarization of the South China Sea by building military installations on artificial islands and reefs.
China defends its construction as necessary for self-defense and says the United States is responsible for ratcheting up tension by sending warships and military planes close to islands Beijing claims.
Last month, China’s navy chief said freedom of navigation should not be used to infringe upon the rights of other nations.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Robert Birsel)
5/20/2019 Swedish prosecutor requests Assange’s detention over rape allegation by Helena Soderpalm
FILE PHOTO: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen as he leaves a police station
in London, Britain April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – The Swedish prosecutor heading an investigation into a rape allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange filed a request with a local court on Monday for him to be detained in absentia.
If granted, the court order would be the first step in a process to have Assange extradited from Britain, where he is serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail.
Sweden reopened the rape investigation last week. It was begun in 2010 but dropped in 2017 after Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
Assange, who denies the accusation, was arrested in London last month after spending seven years inside the embassy.
“I request the District Court to detain Assange in his absence, on probable cause suspected for rape,” Deputy Chief Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson said in a statement on Monday.
She said she would issue a European arrest warrant for Assange to be surrendered to Sweden if the court decided to detain him.
Sweden’s decision to reopen the rape investigation casts doubt on where Assange may eventually end up, with U.S. authorities already seeking his extradition over conspiracy charges relating to one of the biggest ever leaks of classified information.
A lawyer representing Assange in Sweden said he would tell the District Court it could not investigate the prosecutor’s request until he had conferred with his client and learned whether or not he wished to oppose a detention order.
“Since he is in prison in England, it has so far not been possible even to speak to him by telephone,” Per Samuelson told Reuters.
Assange, an Australian national, took refuge in the embassy after fighting unsuccessfully through the British courts to avoid extradition to Sweden.
The British courts will have to rule on the Swedish and U.S. extradition requests, with interior minister Sajid Javid having the final say on which one takes precedence.
“The outcome of this process is impossible to predict,” Persson said. Citing information from UK authorities, she said Assange would serve 25 weeks of his UK sentence before he could be released.
A British judge has given the U.S. government a deadline of June 12 to outline its case against Assange.
(Reporting by Helena Soderpalm and Esha Vaish; editing by John Stonestreet and Niklas Pollard)
5/20/2019 UK ministers to consider merits of indicative Brexit votes
FILE PHOTO: British MPs vote on amendment that would allow more indicative votes on Brexit option, in
the Parliament in London, Britain April 3, 2019, in this screen grab taken from video. Reuters TV via REUTERS
LONDON (Reuters) – Senior ministers will consider the merits of whether lawmakers should hold indicative votes on Brexit options when Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet meets on Tuesday, her spokesman said.
May is due to bring a European Union Withdrawal Agreement Bill before parliament in the week beginning June 3, but the spokesman said on Monday he was unable to say when details of this would be published.
Officials say the Bill will try to offer “sweeteners” to both Conservative and opposition Labour lawmakers to try to encourage them to vote in favor of it, but after months of deadlock, many positions have hardened and few believe parliament is ready to back it.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper, writing by Michael Holden; editing by William James)
5/20/2019 Ex-Trump aide Bannon praises Marine Le Pen’s campaign
FILE PHOTO: Marine Le Pen, National Front (FN) political party leader, and Former White House Chief Strategist
Steve Bannon attend the party's convention in Lille, France, March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
PARIS (Reuters) – Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon on Monday praised French far-right politician Marine Le Pen’s political recovery but said he was in France as an observer of the European elections rather than actively playing a role in Le Pen’s campaign.
Bannon said Le Pen had done well in terms of managing to come back from her defeat to President Emmanuel Macron in France’s 2017 presidential election.
“Her resilience, given that she has managed to come back from her failure in 2017, and the way in which she has given a new identity to the Front National, everything that she has done in terms of leading her party – I find it quite remarkable,” Bannon told BFM TV. Bannon spoke in English and his comments were translated into French.
Bannon, a former chairman of the right-wing Breitbart.com website, has been meeting several of Europe’s populist groups with the aim of advising them before May’s European elections.
Opinion polls show Le Pen’s Rassemblement National party, formerly known as the National Front, to be neck-and-neck with President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Republic On the Move.
“Bannon has no role in our campaign. I did not even know he was in Paris for business. It has nothing to do with the campaign. It is you, the media that are dragging him into the campaign,” Le Pen also told FranceInfo on Monday.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Bate Felix; Editing by Toby Chopra)
5/20/2019 U.S. Border Patrol sends flights of illegals from Texas to San Diego for processing by OAN Newsroom
Flights of hundreds of illegal immigrants are arriving in San Diego, California from the Texas Rio Grande Valley. U.S. Border Patrol began the flights over the weekend in an effort to help agents with the influx of illegals in Texas.
The flights are costing the U.S. government about $6,000 each, and Customs and Border Protection is sending three flights per week with up to 135 people.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials will process each illegal immigrant, and they are expecting many to have false asylum claims.
FILE – Central American migrants, part of a caravan hoping to reach the U.S. border, move
on the road in Escuintla, Chiapas state, Mexico. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo, File)
A similar plan was being considered in Florida, but the Department of Homeland Security confirmed they will not be sending illegals to the state.
“The system is full, we’ve been very clear about that,” stated acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan. “So, what we are trying to do is to be able to plan to manage that capacity safely, to bring in people where we can process them efficiently."
McAleenan said Customs and Border Protection has about 16,000 illegal immigrants in custody, and is utilizing all resources and options to process them.
5/20/2019 Sen. Schumer asks for probe into Chinese rail tech company by OAN Newsroom
Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer is calling for a federal probe into a plan for a state-owned Chinese company to design railcars for the New York subway. On Sunday, Schumer told reporters he wanted the Commerce Department to conduct a review of the Chinese company CCRC after it won a contest to design New York City railway cars for the Metropolitan Transit Association.
“I am asking tonight for the Commerce Department to do a thorough review of CRRC –the Chinese, state-owned rail company — and make sure that the Chinese government, should tensions escalate between the United States and China, can’t mix in and interfere with the signals, with the WiFi, with the other aspects of running a rail system,” he stated.
FILE – In this May 14, 2019 photo, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks to reporters at the Capitol
in Washington. The Senate’s top Democrat wants an investigation into whether a plan for new subway cars in New York
City designed by a Chinese state-owned company could pose a threat to national security. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
This comes after the White House officially added the Chinese tech company Huawei to its trading blacklist amid mounting evidence the company is responsible for stealing U.S. information.
CCRC has done business for other U.S. transportation systems in the past, including in Chicago and Los Angeles, and is often able to undersell other companies due to the subsidies it receives from the Chinese government.
A spokesperson for the Chinese metro company told reporters it would only use materials from the U.S. to make the cars, and would welcome an investigation into their security.
5/21/2019 Oil up $0.34 to $63.10, DOW down 84 to 25,680.
5/21/2019 Trump: U.S. will respond with ‘great force’ if Iran attacks interests by Mark Hosenball
FILE PHOTO - U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a Trump 2020 re-election campaign rally
in Montoursville, Pennsylvania, U.S. May 20, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump warned on Monday Iran would be met with “great force” if it attacked U.S. interests in the Middle East, and government sources said Washington strongly suspects Shi’ite militias with ties to Tehran were behind a rocket attack in Baghdad’s Green Zone.
“I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Monday evening for an event in Pennsylvania. “If they do something, it will be met with great force but we have no indication that they will.”
His comments came as two U.S. government sources said the United States strongly suspects Shi’ite militias with ties to, and possibly encouragement from, Iran fired a rocket on Sunday into Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.
The sources, who are familiar with U.S. national security assessments and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the United States was still trying to establish which militia fired the Katyusha rocket on Sunday and the extent, if any, of Iranian involvement.
The rocket fell in the Green Zone which houses government buildings and embassies and caused no casualties, the latest in a series of regional attacks the United States believes may have been inspired by Iran. Iran has rejected allegations of its possible involvement in attacks last week and Iran’s Iraqi allies rushed to condemn Sunday’s rocket blast.
The attacks include what Saudi Arabia described as armed drone attacks on two oil pumping stations within the kingdom on May 14 and the sabotage of four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on May 12.
Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group claimed responsibility for attacking the pumping stations. Saudi Arabia accused Tehran of ordering the attack. Tensions between Washington and its Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab allies on one side and Tehran and its Shi’ite Muslim proxies on the other have been flaring for weeks.
European and U.S. government sources believe Shi’ite militias based in Yemen or Iraq carried out the attacks in Saudi Arabia and near the UAE, likely with Iran’s encouragement.
The two U.S. sources said they are still trying to establish whether the rocket attack, if inspired or directed by Iran, was designed to send a specific signal to the United States.
The incidents all took place after Trump decided to try to cut off Iran’s oil exports, roughly a year after he withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers.
Trump’s decision to abandon the deal that restricted Iran’s potential pathway to developing a nuclear bomb in return for relief from economic sanctions angered Tehran, which accuses Washington of breaking its word. Iran denies ever having a nuclear weapons program.
LOW-GRADE URANIUM ENRICHMENT
In what may be a sign of Iranian displeasure, an Iranian news service reported on a fourfold increase in Iran’s rate of production of low-grade uranium enrichment.
Quoting an official at the Natanz enrichment plant, the semi-official Tasnim news service said Iran was accelerating the rate of production at which it refines uranium to 3.67% fissile purity, suitable for civilian nuclear power generation.
Two weeks ago, after Trump sought to block all Iranian oil exports, Iran said it would relax some of its commitments under the accord it struck with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.
Under the deal, negotiated by the administration of Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, Iran was allowed to stockpile up to 300 kg of low-enriched uranium (LEU) and ship any excess out of the country for storage or sale.
Iran said this month that cap no longer applied in response to the U.S. withdrawal from the deal.
It was not clear how far Iran’s LEU stock was from the 300-kg limit. Under the deal Iran can enrich uranium at 3.67%, well below the 90% purity required to make bombs and the 20% level to which Iran enriched before the deal.
Former U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, speaking to BBC World News television, played down the uranium announcement, saying “I don’t know that it’s necessary to go into the panic mode yet.”
Clapper stressed, as have some other analysts and diplomats, the danger of an accidental escalation, particularly when opposing forces are close to one another. Both U.S. and Iranian vessels patrol in the Strait of Hormuz.
“The thing I would be concerned about is some inadvertent incident that could go incendiary,” he said.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had warned Iraqi leaders during a surprise visit two weeks ago to Baghdad that if they failed to rein in Iran-backed militias, which are expanding their power in Iraq and form part of its security apparatus, the United States would respond with force.
A U.S. State Department official noted on Sunday that there had been no claim of responsibility for the rocket attack, and that no U.S.-inhabited facility was affected, but said “we will hold Iran responsible” if such attacks were carried out by proxy militia forces.
On Sunday, Trump threatened Iran in a tweet, raising concerns about a potential U.S.-Iran conflict.
“If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” he tweeted.
Critics accused Trump of sending mixed signals. Last week three U.S. officials told Reuters that Trump had told his top advisers he does not want war with Iran.
Democratic Senator Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Trump “bluffs about going after Iran” and said the consequences of being drawn into a war would be “tragic.”
Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi warned U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a letter made public on Monday that “if unchecked, the current situation might – sooner or later – go beyond the perimeter of control and thereby lead to another unnecessary regional crisis.”
(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Additional reporting by Steve Holland, Patricia Zengerle and David Brunnstrom in Washington; John Davison, Ahmed Rasheed, and Ahmed Aboulenein in Baghdad, Raya Jalabi in Erbil and Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London; Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Writing by Arshad Mohammed and David Alexander; editing by Grant McCool and Phil Berlowitz)
5/21/2019 In hometown, Macron battles disillusion and apathy ahead of EU election by Michel Rose
A woman walks past official European election posters in a street in Amiens, France,
May 16, 2019. Picture taken May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
AMIENS, France (Reuters) – In Emmanuel Macron’s hometown of Amiens, it’s hard to find enthusiasm for either the French president or the European Union, less than a week before European parliament elections.
Blue-collar workers on its outskirts are tempted by protest votes, while a disillusioned, conservative middle-class in its pretty center is contemplating other right-leaning candidates or not even voting at all, spelling bad news for the president in his battle against the far-right.
“We’ve been abandoned,” Antonio Abrunhosa, 49, a former welder, told Reuters on the deserted parking lot of the former Whirlpool tumble-dryer factory.
It was at the plant in the 2017 presidential election campaign that Macron tried to convince workers angered about the plant’s relocation to Poland that far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s protectionist, Eurosceptic views were misguided.
Two years on, only a fraction of the former workers have been taken on by the plant’s new owner, and resentment at both the European Union and Macron is building.
Abrunhosa, a unionist who was born in Portugal, says the European project was a good thing, but that competition with low-paid eastern European workers was killing what’s left of France’s industrial heritage.
“That’s what Europe has become. Even the dumbest of idiots can understand it’s better to hire in Poland than here. It’s going haywire,” said Abrunhosa, whose job application was declined by the new buyer because he was “too qualified.”
With five days to go before French voters elect their representatives for the 751-seat European parliament, the election is becoming both a referendum on Macron’s first two years in power and a vote of confidence in the EU.
A fervent Europhile, Macron is hoping to convince the French he can reform the EU into a bloc that better protects its workers, its borders and the environment, though he has had to dilute his ambition on matters such as euro zone reform.
But even in the pretty city center of his hometown, where concerns abound over closing factories on the outskirts and public sector job cuts, the argument is falling flat.
Many middle-class voters feel Macron did not live up to his promise of re-energising the economy and cleaning up politics.
The ‘yellow vest’ crisis, which started as a revolt against high fuel prices and turned into a broader challenge to his presidency, has dented his appeal among center-right voters who hoped he would mark a clear break from years of stagnation.
“We had hope in Macron, like a lot of people here. He was young, dynamic and he wasn’t a career politician,” said Frederic Dupont, a 41-year-old government worker who identifies as right-wing.
“With the yellow vests, his whole program was derailed, he’s more reacting than acting now,” he said, adding that he and his wife Marie-Christine would not bother voting this time.
A few steps from the chocolatier owned by Brigitte Macron’s family, a couple of pensioners said they were still hesitating whether to vote for Macron or another candidate. “We don’t know yet – we’ll decide at the last minute,” said Bernard Lemaire.
Whether these conservative voters, in mid-size cities such as Amiens, Reims or Angers targeted by Macron to expand his centrist base, turn out to vote, abstain, or opt for another candidate, will be pivotal to the vote’s outcome, analysts say.
Few of these will vote for Le Pen’s National Rally party, which can count on a strong core of working-class voters but is struggling to make inroads with wealthier ones. But the candidate for the traditional center-right party, Francois-Xavier Bellamy of The Republicans, is proving tougher competition than expected for Macron’s Republic On the Move.
The candidate Macron picked as his campaign flagbearer, European affairs minister Nathalie Loiseau, whose conservative background was meant to attract the center-right, also made a series of gaffes that have weighed in the polls.
“This issue will decide who comes first. With a strong showing by the Republicans, the Republic On the Move cannot possibly come first,” Bernard Sananes of the Elabe pollster said.
Although mid-term disillusion with government and protest votes are normal in France, the stakes are now high for Macron.
If he comes second to Le Pen’s party, as polls suggest, it will hurt his ambitions both at home and on the European stage.
In France, second place could pressure Macron to reverse his reform agenda, already derailed by the yellow vest crisis.
But it could also cost the French president influence over policymaking affecting some 427 million people and credibility with other EU leaders, just as they negotiate the next top jobs in Brussels, including the European Commission president.
Seeking to drum up support, Macron has not downplayed what is at stake, a gamble that may prove risky.
“I’m not of those who think it’s no problem if the National Rally is once again the big winner of these elections,” he told reporters in Biarritz last week. “The more the French rally behind the candidates of the presidential majority, the more they strengthen France’s ability to influence Europe.”
(Reporting by Michel Rose; editing by Richard Lough, William Maclean)
5/21/2019 Loretta Lynch denies she told Comey to downplay Clinton email probe by OAN Newsroom
It is now known that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch disputed claims by James Comey. She said he twisted her words when he claimed she told him to downplay the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Lynch’s made the comments last year, but they only came to light Monday in another set of transcripts released by the House Intelligence Committee.
Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch is pictured. (AP Photo)
Lynch said she told Comey she received a referral to open the investigation, and that she was “looking at the matter.” However, she said she never instructed him to use “specific phraseology.”
Back in 2017, the former FBI director told the Senate Intelligence Committee Lynch had directed him to refer to the probe as a “matter instead of an investigation.”
5/21/2019 House Freedom Caucus condemns Rep. Amash’s ‘out of touch’ impeachment calls by OAN Newsroom
The House Freedom Caucus officially took a stand against Michigan Representative Justin Amash’s’ statements, which advocated for the impeachment of President Trump. According to Congressman Jim Jordan, the conservative House Freedom Caucus unanimously voted to condemn Amash for his stance against the president.
This all comes after Amash, a founding member of the Freedom Caucus, took to Twitter Saturday, where he accused President Trump of obstructing justice and claimed Attorney General William Barr misrepresented the findings of the Mueller report.
Amash tweet: “Here are my principal conclusions:
1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report.
2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.
3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances.
4. Few members of Congress have read the report.”
FILE – This file photo shows Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., followed by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, leaving a
closed-door strategy session on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
The president responded to the rogue Republican’s attacks, calling him a “lightweight” and a “loser.” He also reiterated Barr’s statement that there was no obstruction, because no crime was committed. President Trump went on to call out Amash for using the Mueller report as a political stunt to gain media attention ahead of the 2020 elections.
“He’s a libertarian, he’s not a Republican…I know he’s talked about running for President as a libertarian…so, I suspect this is nothing more than a media stunt to get national attention in that regard,” stated the president.
Although he’s a longtime member of the GOP, Amash has a history of voting against party lines on principled issues such as border security. In fact, back in February he co-sponsored an action, alongside House Democrats, attempting to block President Trump’s national emergency declaration along the southern border.
While his recent comments serve as a shock for some lawmakers on Capitol Hill, they are not entirely unprecedented. While Amash isn’t expected to be ousted from the House Freedom Caucus anytime soon, there is a chance he will lose his congressional seat in 2020.
Since making his comments, Michigan state Representative Jim Lower announced he will be challenging Amash in the upcoming elections. He said the congressman’s recent comments are out of touch with both reality and the people he represents.
5/21/2019 Resurfaced 2007 clip shows Biden flip on sanctuary city stance by OAN Newsroom
2020 Democrat front-runner Joe Biden is once again walking back on policy claims he has made in the past. During a Democrat presidential primary debate back in 2007, Biden vowed to ban sanctuary cities nationwide.
When asked if he would support states or local jurisdictions harboring illegal aliens, Biden said all cities need to enforce “existing federal law,” which he blamed the Bush administration for not properly funding.
Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden tosses his coat during a campaign rally
at Eakins Oval in Philadelphia, Saturday, May 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
“Part of the problem is you have to have a federal government that can enforce laws. This administration’s been fundamentally derelict in not funding any of the requirements that are needed even to enforce the existing law.”
This isn’t the first time Biden’s stance on immigration has been called into question. Back in 2006 Biden touted the Secure Fence Act, which sought to add 700-miles of fencing at the border to deter illegal immigrants.
5/21/2019 Former White House Counsel McGahn fails to appear at House Judiciary Committee hearing by OAN Newsroom
Former White House Counsel Don McGhan followed orders from the White House and refused to appear in front of the House Judiciary Committee in defiance of a subpoena by the Democrat-led panel.
McGhan didn’t to show up for the committee’s hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday, just one day after being directed by the White House not to comply with the subpoena to testify on the Mueller report.
Chairman Jerry Nadler vowed to hold him in contempt if he failed to appear. In a letter to Nadler Monday, current White House Counsel Pat Cippolone said the Department of Justice advised him that McGhan is “absolutely immune” from being forced to give congressional testimony.
A name placard is displayed for former White House Counsel Don McGahn, who is not expected to appear before a House
Judiciary Committee hearing, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Ranking member Doug Collins suggested Democrats are misusing their oversight powers:
“This committee and all committees in Congress have oversight responsibility, but it is also the sacred responsibility of the chairman and the majority to use it properly and to not headlong rush into subpoenas when you don’t get what you want — that’s all we’ve seen in five-months here…everything else has been a race to get a headline.”
Collins also accused the committees majority of not wanting to talk to special counsel Robert Mueller, but rather just talk about the report and attack the president.
5/22/2019 Oil down $0.08 to$63.02, DOW up 197 to 25,877.
[THE NEXT TWO ARTICLES ARE THE NEXT DAY FAKE NEWS COMPARED TO THE VERSION ABOVE.].
5/22/2019 McGahn skips hearing, defies House subpoena - Lawyer advised not to appear in Russia probe by Bart Jansen, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – The White House’s former top lawyer, Don McGahn, defied a congressional subpoena and skipped a hearing Tuesday in which lawmakers had planned to press him on President Donald Trump’s efforts to thwart the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
McGahn’s refusal to comply with a House Judiciary Committee subpoena came at the direction of the White House and after a legal opinion from the Justice Department on Monday said he could not be forced to appear before the panel.
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., bristled at McGahn’s absence. “This conduct is not remotely acceptable,” he said, facing an empty witness chair. “Our subpoenas are not optional.”
McGahn’s move marked the latest in a series of clashes between Trump and lawmakers seeking to investigate him. The committee already found Attorney General William Barr in contempt for refusing to provide Congress with a complete version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report about the Russia inquiry. Nadler said Tuesday that he intended to pursue McGahn’s testimony “even if we have to go to court to secure it.”
McGahn provided prosecutors hours of testimony about Trump’s efforts to stymie Mueller’s investigation, and Democrats who lead the committee wanted to press him to detail those episodes in public.
The department said McGahn need not appear to answer those questions. In a 15-page letter, the head of the department’s Office of Legal Counsel, Steven Engel, told White House counsel Pat Cipollone that McGahn and other advisers to the president cannot be compelled to testify.
“We provide the same answer the Department of Justice has repeatedly provided for nearly five decades: Congress may not constitutionally compel the president’s senior advisers to testify about their official duties,” Engel wrote. “Those principles apply to the former White House Counsel. Accordingly, Mr. McGahn is not legally required to appear and testify about matters related to his official duties as counsel to the president.”
Republicans on the committee questioned the need to force McGahn to testify, rather than negotiating with the administration. “Everything else has become a race to get a headline,” said the panel’s top Republican, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia. “Don’t undercut congressional oversight because you can’t wait.”
After about 20 minutes of statements from Nadler and Collins, the committee voted 21-14 to adjourn with no testimony from McGahn and no announcement of how it would try to secure his appearance in the future. Nadler has said previously that McGahn could be held in contempt.
“This is disgraceful,” Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, said in voting against adjournment.
“Our subpoenas are not optional,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., left, bristled Tuesday. PATRICK SEMANSKY/AP
5/22/2019 Don McGahn defies House subpoena - White House had advised ex-counsel to skip hearing by Bart Jansen, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – The White House’s former top lawyer, Don McGahn, defied a congressional subpoena and skipped a hearing Tuesday where lawmakers had planned to press him on President Donald Trump’s efforts to thwart the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
McGahn’s refusal to comply with a House Judiciary Committee subpoena came at the direction of the White House and after a legal opinion from the Justice Department on Monday said he could not be forced to appear.
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., bristled at McGahn’s absence.
“This conduct is not remotely acceptable,” he said Tuesday, facing an empty witness chair. “Our subpoenas are not optional.”
McGahn’s move marked the latest in a series of clashes between Trump and lawmakers seeking to investigate him. The panel already found Attorney General William Barr in contempt for refusing to provide Congress with a complete version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report about the Russia inquiry. And Nadler said Tuesday that he intended to pursue McGahn’s testimony “even if we have to go to court to secure it.”
McGahn provided prosecutors with hours of testimony about Trump’s efforts to stymie Mueller’s investigation, and Democrats who lead the committee wanted him to detail those episodes in public.
But the department said Monday that McGahn need not appear to answer those questions.
In a 15-page letter, the head of the department’s Office of Legal Counsel, Steven Engel, told White House counsel Pat Cipollone that McGahn and other advisers to the president cannot be compelled to testify.
“We provide the same answer the Department of Justice has repeatedly provided for nearly five decades: Congress may not constitutionally compel the president’s senior advisers to testify about their official duties,” Engel wrote. “Those principles apply to the former White House Counsel."
“Accordingly, Mr. McGahn is not legally required to appear and testify about matters related to his official duties as counsel to the president.”
Republicans on the committee questioned the need to force McGahn to testify, rather than negotiating
“Everything else has become a race to get a headline,” said the panel’s top Republican, Rep.
Doug Collins of Georgia.
After about 20 minutes of statements from Nadler and Collins, the committee voted 21-14 to adjourn with no testimony from McGahn and no announcement of how it would try to secure his appearance in the future. Nadler has said McGahn could be held in contempt.
“This is disgraceful,” Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, said in voting against adjournment.
Trump said Monday that the administration was blocking McGahn’s testimony to protect the presidency rather than for his personal benefit.
“They’re doing that for the office of the presidency,” Trump said.
“It’s a very important precedent. They’re not doing that for me.”
A key portion of the Mueller report described how Trump tried to remove Mueller, as described by McGahn.
Since the report was released, Trump has denied that he tried to fire Mueller.
Lawmakers are eager to question McGahn about the discrepancy.
Nadler has warned McGahn’s lawyer that the committee would have no choice but to find McGahn in contempt if he fails to testify and provide a log of unreleased documents.
But Cipollone earlier said in a letter to McGahn’s lawyer, William Burck, that McGahn was working on the president’s behalf during the investigation so that the documents “remain legally protected from disclosure under longstanding constitutional principles.”
The witness chair was empty Tuesday after former White House counsel Don McGahn skipped a House Judiciary panel hearing. JACK GRUBER/USA TODAY
5/22/2019 Progress seen in negotiations on debt and spending
WASHINGTON – The top Republican in the House said congressional negotiators are making progress on two must do items on the legislative agenda: averting automatic budget cuts and meeting a deadline later this year to increase the government’s borrowing limit. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said “we’re making progress” as he rushed out of a two-hour session exploring a potential agreement to increase spending “caps” that threaten to hit the Pentagon and other federal agencies with budget cuts averaging 10 percent.
5/22/2019 California sues over $1B in canceled high-speed rail money
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California sued Tuesday to block the Trump administration from canceling nearly $1 billion for the state’s high-speed rail project. The Federal Railroad Administration announced last week it would not give California the money awarded by Congress nearly a decade ago, arguing that the state has not made enough progress on the project. The state must complete construction on a segment of track in the Central Valley by 2022 to keep the money. The administration has said the state can’t meet that deadline.
5/22/2019 Half of American adults expect war with Iran ‘within next few years’: Reuters/Ipsos poll by Chris Kahn
FILE PHOTO: A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage after a group picture with foreign ministers
and representatives of the U.S., Iran, China, Russia, Britain, Germany, France and the European Union during
Iran nuclear talks at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo
(Reuters) – Half of all Americans believe that the United States will go to war with Iran “within the next few years,” according to a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll released on Tuesday amid increased tensions between the two countries.
While Americans are more concerned about Iran as a security threat to the United States now than they were last year, few would be in favor of a pre-emptive attack on the Iranian military. But if Iran attacked U.S. military forces first, four out of five believed the United States should respond militarily in a full or limited way, the May 17-20 poll showed.
Historically tense relations between Washington and Tehran worsened in May after U.S. President Donald Trump hardened his anti-Iran stance and restored all sanctions on Iranian oil exports following his decision a year ago to pull the United States out of a 2015 international nuclear accord with Tehran.
The United States moved an aircraft carrier and forces to the Gulf region in response to intelligence that Iran may be plotting against U.S. interests, an assertion Iran denies.
Nearly half – 49% – of all Americans disapprove of how Republican Trump is handling relations with Iran, the poll found, with 31% saying they strongly disapprove. Overall, 39% approve of Trump’s policy.
The survey showed that 51% of adults felt that the United States and Iran would go to war within the next few years, up 8 percentage points from a similar poll published last June. In this year’s poll, Democrats and Republicans were both more likely to see Iran as a threat and to say war was likely.
Iran was characterized by 53% of adults in the United States as either a “serious” or “imminent” threat, up 6 percentage points from a similar poll from last July. In comparison, 58% of Americans characterized North Korea as a threat and 51% characterized Russia as a threat.
Despite their concerns, 60% of Americans said the United States should not conduct a pre-emptive attack on the Iranian military, while 12% advocate for striking first.
If Iran attacked, however, 79% said that the U.S. military should retaliate: 40% favored a limited response with airstrikes, while 39% favored a full invasion.
Both the United States and Iran have said they do not want war, although there have been bellicose statements from both.
Despite Trump’s decision to withdraw, the poll showed 61% of Americans still supported the 2015 deal between Iran and world powers to curb Iran’s potential pathway to a nuclear bomb in return for sanctions relief. Republicans also favored the accord negotiated by the Democratic administration of President Barack Obama, with a little more than half saying they supported it.
Gulf allies and U.S. government officials have said they believe Iran-backed groups are responsible for a series of attacks on shipping and pipelines in the Gulf in the last week.
Trump has said he would like to negotiate with the Islamic Republic’s leaders. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected talks on Tuesday and has said “economic war” is being waged against Iran.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 1,007 adults, including 377 Democrats and 313 Republicans, and has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 4 percentage points.
To see a copy of the full poll results and methodology, click here: https://tmsnrt.rs/2WUpjFT
(Reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Mary Milliken and Grant McCool)
5/22/2019 Risk of nuclear war now highest since WW2, U.N. arms research chief says by Tom Miles
FILE PHOTO: Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-14 is pictured during its second test-fire
in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on July 29, 2017. KCNA via Reuters
GENEVA (Reuters) – The risk of nuclear weapons being used is at its highest since World War Two, a senior U.N. security expert said on Tuesday, calling it an “urgent” issue that the world should take more seriously.
Renata Dwan, director of the U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), said all states with nuclear weapons have nuclear modernization programs underway and the arms control landscape is changing, partly due to strategic competition between China and the United States.
Traditional arms control arrangements are also being eroded by the emergence of new types of war, with increasing prevalence of armed groups and private sector forces and new technologies that blurred the line between offence and defense, she told reporters in Geneva.
With disarmament talks stalemated for the past two decades, 122 countries have signed a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, partly out of frustration and partly out of a recognition of the risks, she said.
“I think that it’s genuinely a call to recognize – and this has been somewhat missing in the media coverage of the issues – that the risks of nuclear war are particularly high now, and the risks of the use of nuclear weapons, for some of the factors I pointed out, are higher now than at any time since World War Two.”
The nuclear ban treaty, officially called the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, was backed by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.
The treaty has so far gathered 23 of the 50 ratifications that it needs to come into force, including South Africa, Austria, Thailand, Vietnam and Mexico. It is strongly opposed by the United States, Russia, and other states with nuclear arms.
Cuba also ratified the treaty in 2018, 56 years after the Cuban missile crisis, a 13-day Cold War face-off between Moscow and Washington that marked the closest the world had ever come to nuclear war.
Dwan said the world should not ignore the danger of nuclear weapons.
“How we think about that, and how we act on that risk and the management of that risk, seems to me a pretty significant and urgent question that isn’t reflected fully in the (U.N.) Security Council,” she said.
(Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Frances Kerry)
5/22/2019 President Trump rejects Pelosi allegations of ‘cover-up,’ infrastructure meeting cut short by OAN Newsroom
President Trump recently addressed the Mueller investigation and the Democrats for continuing investigations into his administration.
In the Rose Garden Wednesday, the president reiterated there was no Russian collusion. He cited the Mueller report, saying he has been one of the most transparent president’s in the country’s history.
Instead, the president insisted this was all an attempt to take him down, adding, the crime was committed on the other side by Democrats.
President Donald Trump delivers a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House, Wednesday, May 22, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
This comes after the House Speaker said “we believe the president of the United States is engaged in a cover up.” The president rejected Pelosi’s allegations:
“And I said let’s have the meeting on infrastructure, we’ll get that done easily. That’s one of the easy ones. And instead of walking in happily into a meeting I walk in to look at people that had just said that I was doing a cover up. I don’t do cover ups. You people know that probably better than anybody.”
The president is demanding Democrats end what he called their “phony investigations” before he will negotiate with them on issues like infrastructure.
5/22/2019 Barr: No clear end in sight for policy issues by OAN Newsroom
Attorney General William Barr is tackling another major item plaguing the Trump administration by taking on ‘anti-Trump’ judges.
During a speech at the American Law Institute Tuesday evening, Barr took aim at federal judges who issue rulings that target the president’s nationwide policies. Those injunctions vary from polices surrounding health care and immigration along with other issues that Barr said has “no clear end in sight.”
“These injunctions have frustrated presidential policy for most of the president’s term with no clear end in sight,” stated the attorney general. “We’re more than halfway through the president’s term and the administration has not been able to rescind the signature immigration initiative of the previous administration, even though it rests entirely on discretion.”
FILE – In this April 18, 2019, file photo, Attorney General William Barr speaks about the release of a
redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington.
Barr is taking aim judges who issue rulings blocking nationwide policies. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
With legal fights happening all across the country, the attorney general is hoping to carry out the president’s agenda — all while avoiding political bias.
This comes as Democrats continue to impede on the president’s agenda by attempting to change rules and regulations that seek to hurt the administration in the long run. Despite this, Barr said his interests are focused on protecting the executive branch as a whole, including judicial injunctions.
The attorney general has also been a target of the Democrats agenda as lawmakers voted to hold the attorney general in contempt for not releasing an unredacted version of the Mueller report.
5/22/2019 House Intel Committee chair postpones meeting on ‘enforcement action’ against Barr by OAN Newsroom
House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff is postponing an upcoming meeting on taking action against Attorney General William Barr amid a deal with the Department of Justice regarding the Mueller report.
According to a statement from Schiff Wednesday, the Department of Justice will begin turning over counterintelligence materials and foreign intelligence materials this week.
This comes after the agency told Schiff it was reviewing some documents he is seeking, but warned him the process would not continue if the panel held a contempt vote.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., responds to reporters as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.,
calls a meeting with all the House Democrats at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, May 22, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Schiff outlined what he expects the department to produce:
“The Department of Justice agreed to begin a rolling production of documents to our committee, starting with initial set of twelve categories of documents we had requested that contain intelligence and counterintelligence information that was alluded to in the report. These are part of the underlying documents that we’ve been seeking. So that production should begin this week. We should have the full 12 sets of documents by the end of next week.”
In his statement, Schiff also said the subpoena against the attorney general will remain in effect and be enforced if the department fails to comply.
5/22/2019 Treasury Secretary Mnuchin speaks out on IRS memo on tax returns by OAN Newsroom
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin recently addressed an IRS draft memo, which claims the agency must hand over tax returns to Congress unless executive privilege is invoked.
During a hearing on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Mnuchin said the Treasury Department is trying to find out who wrote the memo, where it came from, when it was drafted and why it wasn’t distributed.
He also said the memo addresses a different issue than the one the agency and Department of Justice looked at in refusing to release the president’s returns to the House Ways and Means Committee.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before the House Committee on Financial Services
on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Mnuchin then defended the decision to not release the returns:
“Our issue is we want to make sure that the IRS is not weaponized for any party, and as I said we’ve been advised based upon constitutional issues that it is not legal for us to pursue it.”
The Treasury secretary also said he has had no conversations with the president or anyone in White House about delivering the returns to Congress.
5/22/2019 Press Secretary Sanders: Democrats should have a ‘come to Jesus’ moment on impeachment by OAN Newsroom
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Democrats should have a “come to Jesus” moment over impeachment. In an interview Wednesday, Sanders said she hopes the Democrats realize what a mistake it is to move forward on impeaching the president.
She then spoke to reporters, who asked her if impeachment would only embolden President Trump. Sanders brushed off the question, saying there is no evidence to back up that assertion:
“There’s no basis for it. It’s absurd on its face. That’s why there’s no support for it out in the country. The numbers have shown in poll after poll that there’s not support for it. That’s because there’s no basis for it. The president has done an incredible job in his first two and a half years. Our economy is booming, we’re better now than we were before he took office on a number of fronts, as well as the fact that the Mueller report, they spent two years investigating, hours, millions and millions of dollars in taxpayer money to determine that there was no wrongdoing. It’s time for the Democrats to accept that result.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders talks with reporters outside the White House,
Wednesday, May 22, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Sanders added, the Democrats have plenty of other things they could be doing like addressing the border crisis or focusing on infrastructure instead of harassing the president.
5/22/2019 President Trump urges Democrats to ratify USMCA, clarify infrastructure priorities by OAN Newsroom
President Trump is calling on congressional Democrats to clarify their priorities on infrastructure. In a letter to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer Tuesday, the president said Congress must ratify the USMCA trade deal before moving on to the infrastructure bill.
The president also requested Democrats identify key objects — like roads, bridges, and airports — as well as estimated costs of their modernization.
He will meet with top Democrats to discuss infrastructure at the White House Wednesday. Senator Schumer suggested ongoing talks could require additional meetings.
“There is still some significant issues outstanding, particularly the domestic side, spending issues, you know things like health care and infrastructure and things that average middle class folks need, but we’re having good discussions,” stated the Senate minority leader.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks to reporters at the Capitol in
Washington, Tuesday, May 21, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Trump said budget spending on infrastructure would support economic growth and boost the quality of life for all Americans.
Read the full letter here:
5/23/2019 Oil down $1.55 to $61.42, DOW down 101 to 25,777.
[THE FOLLOWING TWO ARTICLES IS THE FAKE NEWS VERSION OF WHAT HAPPENED ABOVE JUST SO THE DEMS SNAKE SHUMER AND NOT INCONTROL PELOSI COULD GET VERBAL TALKING POINTS FOR IMPEACHMENT WITH A NO EVIDENCE OF A COVER UP AND IF YOU HAVE NOT NOTICED THIS THEN YOU ARE STILL HYPNOTISED BY LEFTIST TV SHOWS WHO HAVE NO PROOF OF ANYTHING YOU BELIEVE TO BE TRUE AND HIGHLIGHTED IN BLACK FAKE NEWS].
5/23/2019 Trump: No deals unless Democrats drop probes - 3 minutes into meeting, president storms out by Lisa Mascaro and Mary Clare Jalonick, ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump abruptly stalked out of a meeting with congressional leaders Wednesday with a declaration he would no longer work with Democrats unless they drop all investigations after special counsel’s Trump-Russia report.
Democrats said the walkout seemed scripted. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it all “very, very, very strange” and said she was praying for Trump and the nation.
After turning and leaving the three minute non-meeting with the Democratic leaders, scheduled for a discussion of U.S. infrastructure problems, Trump strode to the Rose Garden where aides had gathered reporters and TV cameras for his demand that Congress drop its investigations that are increasingly leading to talk of what he called the “i-word” – impeachment.
Trump assailed Pelosi for her comment earlier in the morning on Capitol Hill that she believed the president was engaged in a “cover-up” of the Russia probe.
Trump said, “I walked into the room and I told Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi I want to do infrastructure,” referring to the top Democratic senator, New York’s Chuck Schumer. “But we can’t do it under these circumstances. So get these phony investigations over.”
The president didn’t shake anyone’s hands or take a seat, but spent three minutes contending he had been prepared to work on infrastructure, trade and other issue, but now he couldn’t because Pelosi said “something terrible,” according to an administration official and another person familiar with what happened in the room.
Trump left before anyone else could speak.
Pelosi said to those still in the room – no Republican lawmakers were there – that she had known the president was not serious about infrastructure and would find a way out, according to another person familiar with the meeting.
Back on Capitol Hill, Pelosi said Trump “just took a pass” on working on national infrastructure problems.
Pelosi said Democrats had gone to the White House “to give this president the opportunity to have a signature infrastructure initiative.”
The meeting at the White House had been set weeks ago, after Trump and the Democratic leaders agreed to talk further about a possible $2 trillion infrastructure proposal. Trump was due to provide the Democrats his ideas on how to pay for it.
Schumer said when Trump “was forced to say how he would pay for it, he had to run away.”
Despite the sudden turn of events, the outburst followed a familiar script of Trump convening leaders at the White House only to try to turn the tables and refocus attention. He has stormed out of previous sessions.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the president’s actions “very, very, very strange”
and said she was praying for him and the nation. ERIK S. LESSER/EPA-EFE
5/23/2019 Trump: Drop inquiries or no deals - Dems can’t investigate and legislate, he says by Michael Collins, John Fritze and Eliza Collins, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump informed Democratic leaders Wednesday that he wouldn’t work with them on shared priorities such as infrastructure and bringing down the cost of prescription drugs unless they abandoned investigations into his presidency.
In an unusual and unexpected appearance in the Rose Garden, Trump said he told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer at a White House meeting that it would be impossible to go forward on discussions while “phony” congressional investigations hang over his administration.
Trump spoke specifically about infrastructure, but it was difficult to see how the White House could work with the Democratic-controlled House on other issues, including prescription drugs or a pending trade agreement with Mexico and Canada that the president wants approved.
“You probably can’t go down two tracks,” he said after wrapping up a meeting with the two Democratic leaders at the White House. “You can go down the investigation track, or you can go down the investment track.”
Trump said he walked into the meeting with Pelosi, Schumer and other Democrats and told them, “I want to do infrastructure. But you know what, you can’t do it under these circumstances.”
Trump spent about three minutes talking to the Democratic leaders who gathered in the Cabinet Room to discuss infrastructure, repeating many of the same points he later made in Rose Garden, according to a source familiar with the meeting who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss details of the closed-door session. The president did not shake hands with the lawmakers or sit down, and he left before any of the Democrats spoke, the source said.
A White House spokesman did not respond to questions about that account of the meeting.
The stagecraft surrounding the president’s statement was unusual. Reporters were rushed into the Rose Garden, where a single lectern had been set up in front of the Oval Office. It was not clear how far in advance Trump planned the move, but the president said he was angry that hours earlier, Pelosi accused him of engaging in a “cover-up.”
Trump aides placed a sign on the lectern that included a favorite talking point: “no collusion,” referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. election. The president took two questions, then walked back into the West Wing.
Back on Capitol Hill, Pelosi said she was disappointed Trump backed out of talks.
“For some reason, maybe it was a lack of confidence on his part, but he couldn’t come back for the greatness of the challenge we have,” Pelosi said. “I pray for the president of the United States, and I pray for the United States of America.”
Trump’s meeting with the Democrats came three weeks after an unusual moment of bipartisanship, when they agreed to spend $2 trillion on the nation’s crumbling highways, bridges and airports. Still missing was a plan to pay for that investment.
Hours before Pelosi and Schumer were expected at the White House, Trump took to Twitter and accused congressional Democrats of being so focused on investigating him they weren’t getting other things done.
President Donald Trump announces he will not negotiate an infrastructure bill with congressional Democrats
until they stop pursuing “phony” investigations into his presidency. JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE
5/23/2019 Avenatti charged with defrauding former client Daniels
NEW YORK – Michael Avenatti, who rocketed to fame through his representation of porn star Stormy Daniels in her battles with President Donald Trump, was charged Wednesday with ripping her off. Federal prosecutors in New York City say he used a doctored document to divert about $300,000 that she was supposed to get from a book deal, then used the money for personal and business expenses. Daniels isn’t named in the court filing, but case details make it clear that she is the client involved. Avenatti has denied all allegations.
[Thank you LORD, since it is true that what goes around comes around and your justice prevails.].
5/23/2019 Alabama House approves ‘born alive’ abortion bill
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Doctors would face prison sentences if they fail to treat babies “born alive” after an attempted abortion, under a bill approved Tuesday night by the Alabama House of Representatives. The measure patterned after legislation in Texas was approved after more than an hour of contentious debate. It comes a week after Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation seeking to outlaw almost all abortions in the state. Representatives voted 66-18 for the bill, which moves to the Alabama Senate.
5/23/2019 Roger Stone threatening government with lawsuit by OAN Newsroom
Roger Stone is considering suing the federal government to learn if he was under FBI surveillance. His legal team has sent several letters to the heads of the Senate Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee as well as U.S. attorney John Durham, who is investigating how the Russia probe began.
Stone’s concerns stem from a 2017 New York Times article, which claimed the FBI was reviewing intercepted communications between Stone, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Russia.
Paul Jenson, Stone’s lawyer, has also suggested his client’s Fourth Amendment rights may have been violated.
Roger Stone, former campaign adviser for President Donald Trump, waves as he arrives at federal court
for a hearing, Tuesday, April 30, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Stone is now calling on the White House to declassify documents that could shed light on these allegations. If they don’t, Stone said he plans to sue. This comes as he awaits trial for charges stemming from the special counsel investigation.
5/23/2019 Secretary Pompeo: U.S. still on high alert from Iranian threats by OAN Newsroom
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. will continue monitoring Iranian threats amid ongoing tensions between Washington and Tehran.
In an interview Thursday, Pompeo spoke about the congressional briefing he had with lawmakers and acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. He said Republicans and Democrats alike walked away from that meeting understanding the moves made by President Trump to pull out of the Iran Nuclear Deal and enforce the maximum pressure sanctions campaign were totally justified.
In this May 21, 2019, photo, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, left, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speak to members
of the media after a classified briefing for members of Congress on Iran on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
“This threat from Iran remains,” stated Pompeo. “We’ve had some luck in disrupting the tactical things that were in front of us, I think it’s fair to say, but we’re still on high alert, we’re still making sure we have the right resources in play.”
The comments come as Iran’s supreme leader threatened the United States and Israel in a public forum Thursday.
5/23/2019 Schiff pushes for Rosenstein testimony by OAN Newsroom
House Democrats are calling on former deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to testify before Congress about the Mueller probe.
Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff said his panel and the House Judiciary Committee want to hear from Rosenstein.
Schiff specifically wants to question Rosenstein about a memo he wrote, which President Trump used to justify the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. Democrats have used Comey’s dismissal to build their case on obstruction of justice against the president.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., responds to reporters at the
Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, May 22, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
“The most dangerous thing that I think Bill Barr has done is basically say that a president under investigation can make the investigation go away if he thinks it’s unfair…but it also means that if you want to fire the FBI director because he’s not doing what you want, he’s not going easy on Michael Flynn or some other friend of yours or some other witness who might incriminate you, that you have an absolute right to do it — there is nothing absolute about it,” stated Schiff.
The Intelligence Committee chairman said steps are being taken to schedule a hearing with Rosenstein, and signaled a request for a voluntary interview has been made.
[Schiff nobody on the House Intelligence Committee has any respect for you any more and the only way for you to get any attention is still to leak information to the fake news press like you were doing for the last two years. Since Rosenstein has retired I hope he grills your ass during that meeting. Guess what they are declassifying documents to find out why Comey was fired.].
5/23/2019 DHS rejects Democrat accusations of ‘murdering’ illegal immigrant minors by OAN Newsroom
Top Democrats are blaming immigration officials for the deaths of sick illegal immigrant children in detention.
Illinois Democrat Lauren Underwood claimed the deaths of five minors were a result of — what she called — the department’s intentional child separation policy.
She made her remarks during a House hearing on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) budget Wednesday. Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan responded, saying the accusations are “appalling” and inaccurate.
House Homeland Security Committee member Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., questions Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan
on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 22, 2019, during the House Homeland Security Committee on budget. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
DHS officials said child separation policies stems from the 1997 Flores ruling, adding, the deaths are a result of human-smugglers bringing gravely ill children to the U.S.
“Our men and women fight hard to protect people in our custody every single day,” stated McAleenan. “We’ve asked for these resources three weeks ago, and hasn’t been responded to by Congress and we’ve asked for changes in authorities for the last three-years that would have prevented this from happening.”
In response to Underwood’s claims, Alabama Republican Mike Rogers said the Democrat is accusing the U.S. government of murdering children, which is not true.
[The Democrats are too lazy to get up out of their chair to go see for themselves, and apprently believe whatever Pelosi says.]
5/23/2019 French far-right tops poll, EU vote turns into Le Pen/Macron duel
Marine Le Pen, leader of French National Rally party gestures as she addresses a major rally of European nationalist and
far-right parties ahead of EU parliamentary elections in Milan, Italy May 18, 2019. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo
PARIS (Reuters) – Support in France has risen for both Marine Le Pen’s far-right party and President Emmanuel Macron’s candidates three days before voting in the European parliament elections, an opinion poll showed.
Le Pen’s National Rally remained in the lead in voting intentions, according to the survey by OpinionWay for Les Echos newspaper published on Thursday, inching up one percentage point to a recent high of 25 percent.
That was two points ahead of Macron’s Republic On the Move party, which was seen up one percentage point from the previous poll last week at 23 percent.
The polarization between Le Pen’s and Macron’s parties came at the expense of smaller groups such as the traditional center-right party The Republicans, which was down one point to 13 percent.
“Emmanuel Macron’s involvement allows him to rally his own supporters, something he is the only one able to do, but that’s also re-awakening those who want to punish him,” OpinionWay’s Bruno Jeanbart told Les Echos.
Macron, who has been campaigning in recent days, has framed the elections as a battle between anti-immigration nationalists and pro-European “progressives” such as himself.
Candidates for the two previously dominant center-right and center-left parties have suffered, with the candidates backed by the Socialists, who were in power until 2017, polling at a mere 6 percent.
Interest for the EU election campaign is picking up in the final days before the vote, the survey showed, and turnout may be higher than in the previous elections in 2014.
The environment has emerged as the top concern for voters in these elections, according to the poll, ahead of the fight against terrorism and concerns over immigration and welfare policy. The Greens were polling at 9 percent, up 2 points in a week.
(Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
5/23/2019 President Trump: Once Democrats finish fake investigations, we can start real work by OAN Newsroom
President Trump has continued to slam Democrats over their ongoing investigations, saying there’s real work to be done.
In a series of tweets Thursday, the president said he was extremely calm during a meeting Wednesday with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer. He said when congressional Democrats finish their “fake work” on the Mueller report’s findings, they will finally have time to get actual work done.
Trump tweet: “When the Democrats in Congress refinish, for the 5th time, their Fake work on their very disappointing Mueller Report finding, they will have the time to get the REAL work of the people done. Move quickly!”
President Donald Trump delivers a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House,
Wednesday, May 22, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders responded Thursday, saying Democrats are incapable of doing anything except focus on rehashing the Mueller report:
“Well, I think the Democrats have shown that they’re not capable of doing anything else. So far, they’ve been unwilling and unable to sit down and solve any real problems, whether it’s the crisis at the border, whether it’s infrastructure or anything else. It’s very hard to have a meeting where you accuse the president of the United States of a crime, and then an hour later show up and act as if nothing’s happened.”
Pelosi and Schumer slammed President Trump Wednesday after talks with the president over a two trillion dollar infrastructure deal.
5/23/2019 GOP Rep. Collins calls for Mueller to testify to Judiciary Committee by OAN Newsroom
The ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee is calling for special counsel Robert Mueller to publicly testify. Republican Congressman Doug Collins said he would like Mueller to appear before the committee to prove he doesn’t have anything more to add to the investigation.
However, recent reports indicate the special counsel is on the fence about showing up for a hearing because he thinks it would make him look too political.
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, speaks during a hearing without
former White House Counsel Don McGahn, who was a key figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation,
on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
During the no-show hearing for Don McGahn this week, Collins blasted the Democrats for not wanting to hear from Mueller:
“But you know what’s interesting to me? We have subpoenaed the documents, we’ve subpoenaed that we want underling documents, we’ve subpoenaed stuff that we can’t get, but you know the one thing we seem to avoid is Mr. Mueller himself — the one who wrote it. We’ve asked since April about Mr. Mueller coming, but every time we seem to get close to Mueller…Mueller gets pushed on a little bit…you wanted the work of the author, but you don’t want to talk to the author.”
The Georgia lawmaker’s call for Mueller to testify comes after reports said Attorney General William Barr privately briefed Collins on a partially unredacted version of the Mueller report this week.
5/24/2019 Oil down $3.51 to $57.91, DOW down 286 to 25,490, and note that Oil is below $60 affecting Iran more.
[IT HAS TAKEN OVER TWO YEARS BUT IT IS FINALLY HAPPENING AS THE INVESTIGATION WILL LOOK AT DECLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS]
5/24/2019 Trump orders intelligence community to cooperate with review on Russia probe origins
FILE PHOTO - U.S. Attroney General William Barr passes President Donald Trump as he heads to the podium to speak during the presentation
of Public Safety Medals of Valor to officers in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 22, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered the intelligence community to cooperate with Attorney General William Barr’s review of the events that prompted an investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The directive comes as the White House spars with congressional Democrats over the work of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who led a two-year investigation into whether Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election and if there were any ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“Today, at the request and recommendation of the attorney general of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the attorney general’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 presidential election,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said after Trump issued the directive.
The order also allows Barr to declassify any information he sees fit during his review.
A redacted version of Mueller’s report was released publicly in April. The probe found no evidence that the Trump campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia and did not draw a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice, but outlined some incidents that Democrats have said may be obstruction.
Republican House member Mark Meadows tweeted on Thursday that “Americans are going to learn the truth about what occurred at their Justice Department.”
Adam Schiff, a Democrat member and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, criticized Trump’s directive.
“While Trump stonewalls the public from learning the truth about his obstruction of justice, Trump and Barr conspire to weaponize law enforcement and classified information against their political enemies,” Schiff said on Twitter.
“The coverup has entered a new and dangerous phase. This is un-American,” he added.
In separate comments late Thursday on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said Mueller had told him that he is willing to testify to lawmakers in private, but is willing to make a public statement.
Nadler, a Democrat, told Maddow that if Mueller did testify behind closed doors then the public would get a written transcript of the testimony.
But Trump railed on Twitter early Friday against the investigation, and said that the investigation was politically motivated.
He wrote: “Intelligence Agencies were used against an American President.”
@DevinNunes @ShannonBream @FoxNews "This should NEVER happen to a President again! Dems are furious at Robert Mueller for his findings – NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION. Now they should go back to work and legislate!”
“DRAINING THE SWAMP”
Trump, a Republican, harbors suspicions that the Democratic Obama administration ordered him investigated during the 2016 campaign to try to undermine his candidacy, and he wants payback against those he believes were responsible.
“Comey, Brennan, Clapper, we’re draining the swamp, folks,” Trump told a rally on Monday in Pennsylvania, referring to former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan, and James Clapper, a former director of national intelligence, all of whom have been critical of Trump.
Of specific interest to Trump are the warrants that emanated from a secretive court that authorizes surveillance on foreign powers and their agents. Trump supporters believe the warrants will identify those responsible for the Russia probe that is still roiling Washington.
Last month, Barr said at a Senate hearing that “spying” on Trump’s campaign was carried out by U.S. intelligence agencies, though he later referred to his concerns as focused on “unauthorized surveillance.”
Barr has assigned a top federal prosecutor in Connecticut to probe the origins of the Russia investigation in what is the third known inquiry into the opening of the FBI probe.
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Makini Brice; additional reporting by Rich McKay; Editing by David Alexander, Leslie Adler and Nick Macfie)
[AS YOU CAN SEE IN THE ABOVE ARTICLE WHY THE DEMOCRATS ARE DOING WHAT THEY ARE DOING AS THEY NOW KNOW THEIR TIME IS SHORT AS WE UNCOVER THE REAL COLLUSION]
5/24/2019 Trump, Pelosi warfare hits new level by John Fritze and Michael Collins, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s decision to walk out of an infrastructure meeting with Democrats left lawmakers scrambling to assess whether the fallout would reach other White House priorities, including a pending trade deal with Canada and Mexico that the president hopes will replace NAFTA.
Fuming about Democratic investigations into his presidency, Trump refused to shake hands with Democrats on Wednesday and left the meeting. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., accused the president of throwing “a temper tantrum for us all to see.”
Trump disputed her account in a tweet late Wednesday.
“This is not true. I was purposely very polite and calm, much as I was minutes later with the press in the Rose Garden,” Trump wrote. “Can be easily proven. It is all such a lie!”
Thursday morning, the president returned to that characterization of the truncated meeting between him, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
“I was extremely calm yesterday with my meeting with Pelosi and Schumer, knowing that they would say I was raging, which they always do, along with their partner, the Fake News Media,” the president tweeted. “Well, so many stories about the meeting use the Rage narrative anyway – Fake & Corrupt Press!”
Trump has indicated he’s prepared to push most of his legislative agenda off until after the 2020 election, a recognition that Democrats and Republicans are unlikely to reach consensus on much of anything as nearly two dozen Democratic presidential candidates barnstorm early primary states in the hunt for the nomination.
In a hastily arranged statement Wednesday in the Rose Garden, Trump said Washington could not be on an “investigations” track while pursuing legislation.
“Let them play their games. We’re going to go down one track at a time,” Trump said of Democrats.
“Let them finish up. And we’ll be all set.”
Wednesday’s blowup left the status of several White House priorities uncertain.
“Sadly, the only job the president seems to be concerned with is his own,” Pelosi wrote in a letter released to reporters Wednesday night. “He threatened to stop working with Democrats on all legislation unless we end oversight of his administration.”
Trump needs Democratic support for his signature trade deal, the U.S.Mexico-Canada Agreement.
The deal faces a high hurdle in the Democratic-controlled House. The latest squabble makes its prospects even more doubtful, said Daniel Ujczo, an Ohio-based trade attorney who has closely followed developments surrounding the new trade deal.
“The only way for USMCA to get done is for everything to fall just right between the White House and Congress,” Ujczo said. “And I’ve seen no objective evidence that could happen. And this is yet another example. At the very least, this is adding delay to a process where we were already up against a tight timing window.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and President Donald Trump have criticized each other harshly this week. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP
[As you can see in the fake news pictures they make Pelosi look shaky and crazy and Trump angry.].
5/24/2019 Tearful Theresa May resigns, paving way for Brexit confrontation with EU by Elizabeth Piper, Kylie MacLellan and William James
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip arrive to vote in the European Parliament
Elections, taking place despite Brexit uncertainty, in Sonning, Britain, May 23, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
LONDON (Reuters) – Fighting back tears, Theresa May said on Friday she would quit, setting up a contest that will bring a new British prime minister to power who could pursue a cleaner break with the European Union.
May’s departure will deepen the Brexit crisis as a new leader is likely to want a more decisive split, raising the chances of a confrontation with the EU and a potentially unpredictable snap parliamentary election.
Her voice cracking with emotion, May, who endured crises and humiliation in her failed effort to find a compromise Brexit deal that parliament could ratify, said she would resign as Conservative Party leader on June 7 with a leadership contest beginning the following week.
“I will shortly leave the job that has been the honor of my life to hold,” May said outside her Downing Street official residence. “The second female prime minister, but certainly not the last."
“I do so with no ill will but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love,” May said, with her husband, Philip, looking on.
May, once a reluctant supporter of EU membership, who won the top job in the turmoil that followed the 2016 Brexit referendum, steps down with her central pledge – to lead the United Kingdom out of the bloc and heal its divisions – unfulfilled.
“It is, and will always remain, a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit,” May said, adding that her successor would have to find a consensus to honor the 2016 referendum result.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said the new prime minister must hold a parliamentary election to “let the people decide our country’s future.”
PM BORIS JOHNSON?
May bequeaths a deeply divided country and a political elite that is deadlocked over how, when or whether to leave the EU.
Most of the leading contenders to succeed May all want a tougher divorce deal, although the EU has said it will not renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement it sealed with Britain in November.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said there would be no better deal.
“This idea that a new prime minister will be a tougher negotiator and will put it up to the EU and get a much better deal for Britain? That’s not how the EU works,” Coveney told Ireland’s Newstalk radio station.
An official for France’s presidency said the EU needed swift clarification from Britain on its next Brexit steps.
Sterling reversed initial gains made on May’s resignation.
Boris Johnson, the face of the official Brexit campaign in 2016, is the favorite to succeed May and he thanked her for her “stoical service.” Betting markets put a 40% implied probability on Johnson winning the top job.
Others tipped by betting markets are Dominic Raab, a Brexit supporter and former Brexit secretary, with a 14% implied probability on his chances.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove, former House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt each have a 7% probability, according to betting markets.
Defense Secretary Penny Mordaunt and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart each have a 4% chance of the top job while Home Secretary (interior minister) Sajid Javid has a 3% chance.
For many Conservative lawmakers, speed is of the essence to install a new leader and try to break the Brexit impasse.
“The fight for the heart and soul of the Conservative Party officially starts now,” said Andrew Bridgen, a pro-Brexit lawmaker. “We need a new PM as soon as possible and who that is will decide the future of our democracy, our country and the Conservative Party.”
(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Additional reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Janet Lawrence)
[I have not reported this information that much because I knew that the EU would do everything they could to keep it from happening, and it will be amusing if they find away to do it.].
5/24/2019 U.S. charges WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with espionage by Sarah N. Lynch and Mark Hosenball
FILE PHOTO: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange leaves Southwark Crown Court after being sentenced
in London, Britain, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The .U.S. Justice Department unveiled 17 new criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Thursday, saying he unlawfully published the names of classified sources and conspired with and assisted ex-Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in obtaining access to classified information.
The superseding indictment comes a little more than a month after the Justice Department unsealed a narrower criminal case against Assange.
Assange was initially charged with conspiring with Manning to gain access to a government computer as part of a 2010 leak by WikiLeaks of hundreds of thousands of U.S. military reports about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He now faces a total of 18 criminal counts, and could face many decades in prison if convicted.
“These unprecedented charges demonstrate the gravity of the threat the criminal prosecution of Julian Assange poses to all journalists in their endeavor to inform the public about actions that have been taken by the U.S. government,” said Barry Pollack, an American attorney for Assange.
The Justice Department said that not only did Assange aid and encourage Manning with the theft of classified materials, but he jeopardized the lives of human sources that included Afghans, Iraqis, journalists, religious leaders, human rights advocates and political dissidents from repressive regimes by publishing their identities.
Law enforcement officials said on Thursday that the State Department had pleaded with Assange not to reveal the identities of such sources, but Wikileaks ignored the warning.
Manning was arrested in May 2010 and convicted by court martial in 2013 of espionage in connection with the 2010 Wikileaks disclosures.
President Barack Obama reduced Manning’s sentence to 7 years from 35 years, but she is now in jail after repeatedly refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating Assange.
Wikileaks describes itself as specializing in the publication of “censored or otherwise restricted official materials involving war, spying and corruption.”
Assange is now fighting extradition to the United States, after Ecuador in April revoked his seven-year asylum in the country’s London embassy. He was arrested that day, April 11, by British police as he left the embassy.
He is now serving a 50-week sentence in a London jail for skipping bail when he fled to the Ecuadorean embassy in 2012.
The decision to charge Assange with espionage crimes is notable, and unusual. Most cases involving the theft of classified information have targeted government employees, like Manning, and not the people who publish the information itself.
In the wake of Assange’s arrest, prosecutors in Sweden re-opened a criminal investigation into allegations that Assange sexually assaulted a woman during a visit to Sweden. At one point, before his arrest in Britain, Swedish prosecutors charged him with assaulting two women.
Swedish authorities recently sent British authorities a fresh request for Assange’s extradition.
The decision regarding which country should have its chance to prosecute him first is now in the hands of Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Britain’s interior security minister.
The Justice Department’s quick turnaround with the filing of a more substantial indictment against Assange is not surprising.
Under extradition rules, the United States had only a 60-day window from the date of Assange’s arrest in London to add more charges. After that, foreign governments do not generally accept superseding charges.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Mark Hosenball; Editing by Leslie Adler and Phil Berlowitz)
5/24/2019 GOP Rep. objects to disaster relief bill without money for border emergency by OAN Newsroom
A bipartisan disaster relief bill has been stopped in its tracks after a Republican congressman’s complaints on the House floor. The bill was blocked Friday as GOP Texas Representative Chip Roy objected to a unanimous consent request.
One of the main issues he had was a lack of funding for border security. Congressman Roy also objected to spending $19 billion in taxpayer money without a way to pay for it, and without members of Congress being on the floor to vote on it.
The $19.1 billion measure was passed by the Senate two-weeks ago, and has hit several roadblocks on it’s way to being passed.
Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., rwalks from the floor after a conservative House Republican temporarily blocked
a long-overdue $19 billion disaster aid bill that was passed yesterday in a bipartisan vote in the Senate,
at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, May 24, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
“There’s no reason this disaster supplemental should not have included the modest $4.4 billion that (Deputy) Director of OMB Vought sent to Capitol Hill to ensure DHS and HHS do not run out of money, which they’re slated to do while managing the over 100,000 illegal aliens crossing our border,” stated Representative Roy.
The money is earmarked for recovery efforts in U.S. areas hit by natural disasters in 2018 and early 2019. Congress is now adjourned for the Memorial Day weekend, and will return to session in June.
5/24/2019 Nadler: Mueller wants to testify privately by OAN Newsroom
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler recently touched on the likelihood of Robert Mueller testifying before Congress.
While speaking on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show Thursday night, he said the special counsel is looking to testify behind closed-doors:
“Mueller… I think I can say at this point — he wants to testify in private…he’s willing to make an open statement but he wants to testify in private…we think it’s important for the American people to hear from him and to hear his answers to questions about the report..”
Robert Mueller is pictured. (AP Photo)
Nadler went on to say Mueller wants to make himself appear “apolitical,” and does not want to turn the testimony into a political spectacle. He added, if it is behind closed-doors then a transcript would be released to the public.
If the special counsel does come before Congress, it would be the first time he has spoken out about the nearly two-year long Russia probe.
5/24/2019 Dollar tumbles as trade war hits U.S. economic data by Kate Duguid
FILE PHOTO: An employee of a bank counts US dollar notes at a branch in Hanoi, Vietnam May 16, 2016. REUTERS/Kham/File Photo
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar fell on Friday from a two-year high against a basket of major currencies after orders for U.S.-made capital goods fell, further evidence that manufacturing and the broader economy are slowing, due in part to the U.S.-China trade dispute.
The weaker-than-expected data, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, drove the dollar lower and added to a fall which began Thursday following a report that showed manufacturing activity hit its lowest level in almost a decade in May.
Taken together, the reports suggested a sharp slowdown in U.S. economic growth is under way, which could affect the dollar’s safe-haven status.
The dollar index was down 0.27% at 97.587. It was also 0.80% off a two-year high of 98.371 hit in the previous session.
Some analysts initially believed that a trade war would be a boon for the U.S. dollar – both because the currency serves as a safe haven in times of uncertainty and because the United States was likely to be hurt the least, but that has not proven to be true.
“The IMF suggests that U.S. import tariffs are mainly paid for by U.S. companies, depressing their profit margins. Hence, it should not be surprising to see U.S. capex plans being cut radically, which should soon translate into moderating labor market conditions,” wrote Hans Redeker, global head of foreign exchange strategy at Morgan Stanley.
China on Friday denounced U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for fabricating rumors after he said the chief executive of China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd was lying about his company’s ties to the Beijing government.
Escalating trade tensions and weak data have fueled rate cut expectations by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Money markets now broadly expect one rate cut by October followed by another by January 2020.
“In the current circumstances, we strongly suspect that further escalation in protectionism will lead the Fed to consider easing policy,” wrote Michael Hanson, head of global macro strategy at TD Securities. “Increases in inflation should be relatively short-lived, while the hit to growth could be more persistent.”
Dollar weakness also helped boost sterling from a 4-1/2-month low, though the rally was primarily driven by UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement on Friday that she would quit after failing to deliver a Brexit deal.
The move sets up a contest that will bring a new prime minister to power who could pursue a cleaner break with the European Union. The pound was last up 0.5% at $1.272. [GBP/]
The euro was also stronger on Friday, up 0.24% to $1.121, benefiting from the dollar’s weakness and from the Dutch part of the EU parliamentary elections. An exit poll showed the Labour party of European Commissioner Frans Timmermans won a surprise victory over a euroskeptic challenger who had been topping opinion surveys.
(Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 – http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh)
(Reporting by Kate Duguid and Abhinav Ramnarayan; editing by G Crosse)
AS I HAVE SAID WE WILL SEE THEM SOON START RATTING ON EACH OTHER BUT YOU KNOW SOMETHING THE CARTOON
THAT IT DOES NOT INCLUDE THOSE AT THE TOP HILLARY CLINTON, JOE BIDEN AND BARACK OBAMA.
5/24/2019 President Trump: Attorney General Barr will get to bottom of Mueller probe by OAN Newsroom
President Trump recently reiterated his Mueller mantra of ‘no collusion, no obstruction,’ and called on Congress to get to work on drug prices and infrastructure.
While speaking to reporters at the White House Friday, the president said Democrats need to get over their anger and work with him to do what’s best for the country. He said the left wants a Mueller re-do, and are doing all they can to obstruct and further investigate.
Regarding his declassification of documents related to the origins of the Russia probe, President Trump said its now in the hands of Attorney General William Barr.
President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 24, 2019,
before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md, and then on to Tokyo. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
“I just want somebody’s who’s going to be fair and I think William Barr is one of the most respected men, one of the most respected men doing what he does in our whole country,” he stated. “I just want him to be fair…I don’t want him to be for me or for anybody else…I just want him to be fair and that’s what he is.”
The president called the Mueller probe the “greatest hoax in the history of our country,” and said someone must get to the bottom of it, so it never happens again.
5/25/2019 Oil up $0.74 to $58.63, DOW up 95 to 25,586.
5/25/2019 Transgender health protections targeted - Move fits with previous
administration actions by Ricardo
Alonso-Zaldivar ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON – The Trump administration proposed revoking Obama-era discrimination protections for transgender people in health care on Friday, a move LGBT groups fear will result in some Americans being denied needed medical treatment.
The Health and Human Services Department released a proposed regulation that in effect says “gender identity” is not protected under federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination in health care.
“The actions today are part and parcel of this administration’s efforts to erase LGBTQ people from federal regulations and to undermine nondiscrimination protections across the board,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, a senior attorney on health care at Lambda Legal, a civil rights organization representing LGBT people.
But the HHS official overseeing the writing of the new regulation said transgender patients would continue to be protected by other federal laws that bar discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age and disability.
“Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect,” said Roger Severino, who heads the HHS Office for Civil Rights. “We intend to fully enforce federal laws that prohibit discrimination.”
Asked about the charge that the administration has opened the door to discrimination against transgender people seeking medical care Severino responded, “I don’t want to see that happen.”
The Trump administration’s proposed rule reverses the Obama administration, which concluded that the Affordable Care Act’s anti-discrimination section does indeed protect transgender people seeking health care services.
Friday’s action had been expected by activists on both sides of the nation’s social issues divide. Trump’s religious conservative base has argued that the Obama administration stretched the meaning of “sex discrimination” when it included gender identity as a protected class. Civil rights and LGBT groups say that view is logically and legally flawed.
The proposed rule change is unlikely to have immediate consequences beyond the realm of political and legal debate. It faces a 60-day comment period and another layer of review before it can be finalized. Court challenges are expected.
“Despite the goals of this White House … courts have been clear for decades that prohibitions on sex discrimination encompass discrimination against transgender individuals,” said Louise Melling, deputy legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union. Her organization, she added, will challenge the proposal in court.
President Donald Trump’s administration’s proposed rule reverses Obama-era
protections for transgender people in health care. ANDREW HARNIK/AP
5/25/2019 Missouri governor signs abortion bill by Summer Ballentine, ASSOCIATED PRESS
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Friday signed a bill that bans abortions at or beyond the eighth week of pregnancy without exceptions for cases of rape or incest, making it among the most restrictive abortion policies in the nation.
Under the law that comes into force Aug. 28, doctors who violate the eight week cutoff could face five to 15 years in prison. Women who terminate their pregnancies cannot be prosecuted. A legal challenge is expected, although it’s unclear when that might occur.
The measure includes exceptions for medical emergencies, such as when there is a risk of death or permanent physical injuries to “a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.” But the lack of exceptions for women who find themselves pregnant after being raped or subjected to incest has drawn criticism, including from GOP donor David Humphreys, a Missouri businessman, who had urged the Republican governor to veto the bill.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri said it was exploring “all options, including litigation, to block the law from going into effect.”
5/25/2019 No claim made for Lyon bomb French anti-terrorism prosecutor says
Police and army patrol the streets during the manhunt of a suspected suitcase
bomber in central Lyon, France, May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot
PARIS (Reuters) – No claim of responsibility has so far been made for a bomb attack in Lyon on Friday which injured 13 people, French anti-terrorism prosecutor Remy Heitz said on Saturday.
Heitz added that the man thought to have planted the device, who was spotted on CCTV footage, was on the run.
Police investigators said they have not been able to identify the suspect as he was wearing sunglasses and a cap.
(Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by Alexander Smith)
5/25/2019 Trump arrives in Japan for ceremonial visit as trade tensions loom by Jeff Mason
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives aboard Air Force One during a refueling stop on his way
to Japan at Joint Base Elmendorf, Alaska, U.S. May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, landed in Japan on Saturday on a largely ceremonial visit meant to showcase strong ties with Tokyo even as trade tensions
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will treat Trump to an imperial banquet and front row seats at a sumo tournament during the trip, which lasts through Tuesday.
The two men share a warm relationship, which the Japanese leader aims to emphasize as Washington mulls tariffs on Japanese auto exports that the Trump administration views as a potential national security threat.
The United States is in the middle of an expensive trade war with China in protest against Beijing’s treatment of U.S. companies, and tensions with Japan and the European Union over trade are simmering.
Trump and Abe are expected to discuss trade during talks on Monday, but officials have played down the possibility of a deal during the visit.
Trump will become the first foreign leader to be received by new Japanese Emperor Naruhito since he inherited the throne earlier this month.
He made clear during an impromptu news conference on Thursday that he was flattered by the invitation.
“Prime Minister Abe said to me, very specifically, ‘You are the guest of honor.’ There’s only one guest of honor … I’m the guest of honor at the biggest event that they’ve had in over 200 years,” Trump said.
“So it’s a great thing. And we get along very well with Japan. I get along very well with the Prime Minister.”
After his arrival, Trump was due to meet with business leaders before retiring.
On Sunday, Trump and Abe are expected to play golf and attend a sumo match. On Monday, they will discuss North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs in addition to trade.
A medium-strength earthquake hit eastern Japan, causing buildings to shake in Tokyo, hours before Trump’s arrival.
The epicenter was southern Chiba, southeast of the capital, the prefecture where Trump is due to play golf on Sunday. No tsunami warning was issued and there were no immediate reports of damage.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Additional reporting by Linda Sieg; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Nick Macfie)
5/25/2019 Rep. Nadler urging speaker pelosi to speed up impeachment inquiry by OAN Newsroom
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler are at odds over how to address Democrat calls to impeach President Trump.
This week, Nadler said he urged Pelosi to consider an impeachment inquiry just after Capitol Hill’s Memorial Day recess, but the house speaker voiced apprehension to the move.
Committee Chairman of U.S. House Judiciary Committee Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) leaves a House Democrats
meeting at the Capitol May 22, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Critics said Pelosi may be concerned that Democrats are not convinced that such an “aggressive tactic,” like impeachment, is necessary.
Nadler himself seemed skeptical the move would go anywhere.
“I’m constantly evolving and thinking on this, and frankly I’ve been going back and forth too because its a very tight question,” said Nadler. “Yeah I urged the speaker to speed things up and to consider an impeachment inquiry. Part of the rational for that, which was that if you’re in court seeking to enforce subpoenas. You have better odds in court if you can say this is part of your impeachment inquiry rather than general oversight.”
Pelosi and Nadler are also reportedly discussing how soon to hold a contempt vote against Attorney General William Barr.
5/25/2019 Retired military leaders call on WH to avoid conflict with Iran by OAN Newsroom
More than 70 retired military leaders write an open letter to the president, giving their input on tensions with Iran.
The letter came from top Army and Navy veterans Friday, who wrote “a war with Iran, either by choice or miscalculation, would produce dramatic repercussions.”
President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 24, 2019,
before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and then on to Tokyo. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
The group urged the president to de-escalate tensions by creating direct communication between U.S. and Iranian political and military leaders.
President Trump has said he is against pursuing war with the country, and made it clear that a recent deployment of troops to the region was meant as a deterrent.
“We want to have protection in the Middle East. We are going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective and some very talented people are going to the Middle East right now and we will see how, we will see what happens.” – President Trump.
The president’s comments come as tensions with Tehran have boiled over in recent weeks.
On Friday, he said the situation had reached the point of becoming a “national emergency.”
5/25/2019 Sect of State Pompeo: Arms Sale to Middle Eastern Allies is Necessary by OAN Newsroom
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. is putting Iran on notice by sending weapons and troops to allies in the Middle East.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his meeting with Sir Lanka’s Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana, left, at the
US State Department, Thursday, May 15, 2019 in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
During an interview Friday, Pompeo defended the administration’s decision to bypass Congress with the multi-nation arms sale.
He said the State Department expects tensions with Iran to remain uneasy, which is why he claims it is necessary to get the sales moving forward.
Weapons, including bombs and ammunition, will be sold to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan for an estimated $8 billion dollars.
Pompeo expects the first shipment to be sent out in the coming weeks.
5/25/2019 Pres. Trump puts Sen. Mark Warner on blast for Barr criticisms by OAN Newsroom
President Trump lays into the Democrat vice-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Mark Warner, over his criticisms of Attorney General William Barr.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., vice-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, takes his seat at Finance Committee hearing on retirement
challenges, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 14, 2019. The Senate intelligence committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr.
after he backed out of two scheduled interviews as part of the panel’s Russia investigation. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
In a tweet Saturday morning the president said “there is nothing bipartisan” about Warner.
He went on to say the Senator was “acting and talking like he is in control” of the Intelligence Committee.
Trump tweet: “Democrat Senator Mark Warner is acting and talking like he is in total control of the Senate Intelligence Committee. There is nothing bipartisan about him. He should not be allowed to take “command” of that Committee. Too important! Remember when he spoke to the Russian jokester?.”
His comments come after the Democrat Senator railed against the president, for allowing the attorney general “full power” to declassify all documents related to surveillance on the Trump campaign.
5/26/2019 Europeans vote, with EU future in balance by Alastair Macdonald
People vote for the European and local elections at a polling station in Athens, Greece, May 26, 2019. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europeans vote on Sunday in an election expected to further dent traditional pro-EU parties and bolster the nationalist fringe in the European Parliament, putting a potential brake on collective action in economic and foreign policy.
Polls opened at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) in the east of the bloc and will finally close at 11 p.m. (2100 GMT) in Italy. Seven states have already voted, with 21 joining in on Sunday in what is the world’s biggest democratic exercise after India.
Right-wing populists top opinion polls in two of the big four member states – Italy and supposedly exiting Britain – and could also win in a third, France, rattling a pro-Union campaign championed by centrist President Emmanuel Macron.
However, exit polls in some countries that have already voted have given pro-EU parties some comfort. The Dutch Labour party, all but written off, looks to have finished first, helped by the visibility of having the EU socialists’ lead candidate, current EU deputy chief executive Frans Timmermans.
In the Netherlands pro-Union parties scored 70%, up three points on the last European Parliament vote in 2014, and left the upstart anti-immigration party of Thierry Baudet fourth on 11%.
The Dutch also turned out in bigger numbers, albeit at just 41%, reinforcing hopes in Brussels of reversing a 40-year trend of declining turnout that critics cite as a “democratic deficit” that undermines the legitimacy of European Union lawmaking.
An exit poll after Friday’s vote in deeply pro-EU Ireland pointed to an expected “Green Wave.” Across the bloc, concerns about climate change and the environment may bolster the pro-EU Greens group and could mean tighter regulations for industry and for the terms the EU may set for partners seeking trade accords.
Britain also voted on Thursday and a new party focused on getting out of the EU was forecast by pre-vote opinion polls to come top, but there has been no exit poll data. Attention there has focused on the resignation of Prime Minister Theresa May. Results will be out late on Sunday, when all countries have voted.
WAY AHEAD UNCLEAR
The challenges facing the European project include unprecedented transatlantic slights from a U.S. president who fetes Europe’s populists, border rows among its own members over migrants and an economy hobbled by public debt and challenged by the rise of China.
But parties seeking collective action on shared issues such as trade, security, migration or climate change should still dominate, albeit with a smaller overall majority.
Europeans are preparing to remember events that shaped the Union. It is 75 years since Americans landed in France to defeat Nazi Germany and since Russian forces let the Germans crush a Polish bid for freedom, and 30 since Germans smashed the Berlin Wall to reunite east and west Europe. But memories of wars, hot and cold, have not sufficed to build faith in a united future.
Mainstream parties pushing closer integration of the euro currency zone’s economy are struggling to capture the imagination of a public jaded by political elites.
Matteo Salvini’s League in Italy may pip the Christian Democrats of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the bloc’s power broker, to become the biggest single party in the 751-seat chamber.
Right-wing ruling parties in Poland and Hungary, defying Brussels over curbs to judicial and media independence, will also return eurosceptic lawmakers on Sunday.
The results should be clear by late on Sunday, with exit polls in Germany at 1600 GMT and France at 1800 GMT setting the tone before the final end of voting, in Italy at 2100 GMT, sees the Parliament publish its own seat forecast.
The result will usher in weeks of bargaining among parties to form a stable majority in the Parliament, and among national leaders to choose successors to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and other top EU officials.
Many expect a clash as early as Tuesday, when leaders meeting in Brussels are likely to snub Parliament’s demands that one of the newly elected lawmakers should run the EU executive.
EU election graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/2HvZs1M
(Reporting by Alastair MacDonald; Editing by Frances Kerry)
5/26/2019 French yellow vest protesters clash with police but numbers wane by Inti Landauro
FILE PHOTO: French police apprehend protesters during the May Day march involving French unions and
yellow vest protesters in Paris, France, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo
PARIS (Reuters) – Yellow vest protesters clashed with riot police in Paris and the northern city of Amiens on Saturday as the French anti-government movement waned on its 28th straight weekend.
Police in Amiens, hometown of President Emmanuel Macron, fired teargas at about 1,200 demonstrators after a group pelted stones at police, attacked local bank branches and set fire to rubbish cans, the local police chief’s office said.
Police detained 27 people in the city.
A few hundred protesters also clashed with police in downtown Paris, in and around the Place de la Republique.
After more than six months, the grassroots movement protesting over the cost of living and Macron’s perceived indifference seems to be losing steam.
Around the country only 12,500 demonstrators took to the streets during the latest day of protests, the lowest turnout since the movement started, the French interior ministry said. At the peak in November more than 300,000 were taking part nationally.
The prolonged protests, named after the high-visibility jackets worn by participants and which began in opposition to fuel tax increases, have hampered Macron’s efforts to push his reform timetable and forced him into costly concessions.
Despite Macron’s swift reversal of the tax hikes and introduction of other measures worth more than 10 billion euros ($11 billion) to boost the purchasing power of lower-income voters, protests and riots continued all over the country.
As he was celebrating his second anniversary in power, Macron last month offered more tax cuts worth 5 billion euros, along with other measures.
The protests also battered Macron’s party in its campaign for European elections to be held on Sunday. La Republique en Marche is polling neck-and-neck with the far-right National Rally.
(Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by David Holmes)
5/26/2019 UK must be ready to leave EU without a deal: leadership contender Raab
Dominic Raab, former Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union attends "A Better Deal" event in London, Britain, January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain must be ready to leave the European Union without an exit deal on Oct. 31, former Brexit minister Dominic Raab said on Sunday, as he set out his pitch to succeed Theresa May as prime minister.
“If you’re not willing to walk away from a negotiation, it doesn’t focus the mind of the other side,” Raab told the BBC. “If you do that you can be really credible in Brussels.”
Raab said he would prefer Britain left with a deal but that he did not want to delay the planned Oct. 31 departure date. He also said he believed Britain would only be legally obliged to pay about 14 billion pounds ($18 billion) of the current 39 billion pound exit bill if there was a no-deal Brexit.
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, writing by David Milliken)
5/26/2019 UK opposition Labour’s McDonnell says must work to block a ‘no deal’ Brexit
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell of the Labour Party, arrives for
cross party Brexit talks at Cabinet Office in London, Britain May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s opposition Labour Party will seek to prevent Prime Minister Theresa May’s successor taking the country out of the European Union without a deal, its finance spokesman John McDonnell said on Sunday.
May said on Friday she would step down next month, and several of those vying to replace her have said Britain must leave the EU on its Oct. 31 deadline even if that means quitting without a deal.
“There is real threat now of an extremist Brexiteer becoming the leader of the Conservative Party and taking us over the cliff edge of a no deal,” McDonnell told Sky News, saying Labour was seeking to work with other opposition parties.
“We have got to move forward now, bring people together and block a no deal and if that means going back to the people (for a second referendum), so be it.”
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Keith Weir)
5/26/2019 UK must leave EU on Oct. 31 even without a deal: PM candidate McVey
FILE PHOTO: Britain's former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Esther McVey speaks during a
"Leave Means Leave" rally in London, Britain January 17, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain must quit the European Union at the end of October even if that means leaving without a deal, Conservative lawmaker Esther McVey, one of the candidates to succeed Theresa May as prime minister, said on Sunday.
“The 31st Oct is the key date and we are coming out then and if that means without a deal, then that is what it means,” McVey, a pro-Brexit former minister, told Sky News.
“That date is now fixed. We won’t be asking for any more extensions, that is part of the corrosive uncertainty that individuals, business and the country don’t want.”
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Keith Weir)
5/27/2019 Yellow vest election protest in Brussels turns violent
BRUSSELS – A yellow vest protest march turned violent in Brussels with demonstrators pelting buildings and police using pepper spray in confrontations. As well as several hundred protesters in yellow vests demonstrating against social injustice, there were also hooded people dressed in black, taunting authorities. Police on horseback patrolled the historic center and scuffles broke out in different areas. Authorities were seen detaining several people. The EU headquarters is located close to where the scuffles occurred.
5/27/2019 Nationalists surge in EU Parliament vote, but pro-EU parties remain dominant by Robin Emmott
Socialist party (PSOE) candidate for European elections Josep Borrell and Spanish acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez address
the media following election results at the party headquarters in Madrid, Spain, May 27, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Pro-European parties retained a firm grip on the EU parliament, provisional results from the bloc’s elections showed on Monday, though eurosceptic opponents saw strong gains.
The .far-right and nationalists in Italy, Britain, France and Poland came out on top in their national votes on Sunday, shaking up politics at home but failing to dramatically alter the balance of pro-European power in EU assembly.
At the EU level, provisional results published at 00:00 GMT on Monday showed the Socialists, Greens, liberals and conservatives with 506 of the 751 seats in the parliament that helps pass laws for more than 500 million Europeans.
While policy-making is likely to be difficult given the breakdown of a “grand coalition” of the center right and center left, the result shields the EU from anti-establishment forces seeking to break up the world’s largest trading bloc.
Spanish and Portuguese bond yields hovered around record lows as the retention of a strong majority in the EU Parliament by pro-EU parties bolstered investor sentiment.
“We are going to build a social Europe, a Europe that protects,” Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, whose revival among Spanish voters offset a fall in center-left support in Germany, told a news conference late on Sunday night.
President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance platform, built on the ruins of French center-left and center-right parties, added to gains for liberals at the EU level while support for the Greens surged, giving four groups the pro-EU middle ground and holding on to two-thirds of seats.
Cries of “Europe is back” among voters waving blue and gold EU flags outside European Parliament in Brussels on Sunday night also showed the ebullient mood among Europeans delighted with a sharply higher turnout across the bloc.
Turnout in the world’s second-biggest election rose to 51% from 43% in 2014, its highest in 20 years. It was the first reverse in a trend of falling participation since the first direct EU vote in 1979 and may muffle talk of a “democratic deficit” undermining EU legitimacy.
A stronger voice for the liberals and Greens could see the next EU executive seek a tougher line on regulating polluting industries, taxing multinational companies or demanding trading partners help contain climate change — as well as press its own members, notably in the east, not to damage civil rights.
But disenchantment with the European project, which has struggled through economic and migration crises over the past five years, was palpable across the bloc.
Riding a wave of anger at the British government’s failure to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party won a resounding victory.
The result showed Britain even more polarized over its Brexit divorce, nearly three years since a 2016 referendum in which it voted 52% to 48% to leave.
In Italy, the far-right League became Italy’s largest party, giving greater authority to its leader Matteo Salvini who is pushing for swinging tax cuts in defiance of EU budget rules.
Poland’s eurosceptic ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) also came out ahead. In France, Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration, anti-Brussels National Rally edged Macron’s pro-European centrist movement.
FIGHT FOR EU POSTS
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives lost votes from five years ago as the far-right Alternative for Germany gained. But the Greens grabbed the headlines, nearly doubling their vote to finish second, ahead of the governing Social Democrats.
Provisional results for the EU Parliament put the EPP on 179 seats, ahead of the S&D on 150, with the liberals on 107, up 39 seats, and Greens on 70, up 18. On the far-right, two groups in the parliament had well over a 100 seats, a 40% jump from 2014.
The European Parliament election will usher in weeks and possibly months of hard bargaining over who will run EU institutions. Officials for the four pro-EU center parties were quick to talk of plans for a broad coalition.
“We are facing a shrinking center,” said Manfred Weber, the German lead candidate of the EPP. “So what I would ask us to do to is to join our forces to work together from now.”
Parliament has insisted that one of its own winning members should succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the executive European Commission. But many national leaders, who will meet over dinner in Brussels on Tuesday, have said they will not be bound by that demand.
Weber in particular faces resistance, having never held government office – although he insists his long experience in the European Parliament makes him the democratic choice.
Frans Timmermans, Juncker’s Dutch deputy who led the Socialists’ campaign, cautioned against putting the “Game of Thrones” over top jobs ahead of efforts to forge a common program among parties that will push for a stronger Union.
(Reporting by Alastair Macdonald, Gabriela Baczynska, Alissa de Carbonnel, Daphne Psaledakis, Foo Yun Chee, Robin Emmott and Francesco Guarascio, Jan Strupczewski; additional reporting by Elena Rodriguez in Madrid; Editing by Jon Boyle)
5/27/2019 Pro-Europe vote fragments but limits nationalist gains in EU election by Alastair Macdonald and Jan Strupczewski
French far-right National Rally (Rassemblement National) party leader Marine Le Pen walks out of a voting booth as she prepares
to cast her ballot during the European Parliament Elections, in Henin-Beaumont, France, May 26, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Parties committed to strengthening the European Union held on to two-thirds of seats in the EU parliament, official projections from the bloc’s elections showed on Sunday, though far-right and nationalist opponents saw strong gains.
France’s Emmanuel Macron, who has staked his presidency on persuading Europeans that the EU is the answer to the challenges of an uncertain, globalising world economy, took a personal hit when his centrist movement was edged into second place by Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration, anti-Brussels National Rally.
But Macron’s Renaissance, built on the ruins of centre-left and centre-right parties, added to gains for liberals at the EU level as turnout bounced sharply across the bloc. Along with a surge for the Greens, that meant four groups occupying the pro-EU middle ground lost under 20 seats, securing 505 seats out of 751, according to a projection by the European Parliament.
That may complicate some policymaking, as a two-party “grand coalition” of the conservative European People’s Party (EPP) and the Socialists (S&D) no longer has a majority. The liberals, with over 100 seats and Greens, with nearly 70, want a big say.
But it also dents the hopes of Le Pen, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini and others who have been seeking to disrupt attempts to forge closer EU integration. Salvini called the elections a mandate for a shake-up in Brussels.
But tensions among nationalists, who also include the Polish and Hungarian ruling parties and the new Brexit Party of British campaigner Nigel Farage, have limited their impact on policy.
“The big thing is that the gains for the extremists were not very substantial,” Guntram Wolff, head of the Bruegel economics think-tank in Brussels, told Reuters.
Luxembourg’s liberal Prime Minister Xavier Bettel tweeted: “Europe wins! Voter turnout very high and pro-European parties are strongest.”
TURNOUT REVERSES FALLING TREND
EU officials were delighted by an increase in turnout to 51%, up from 43% in 2014. It was the first reverse in a trend of falling participation since the first direct EU vote in 1979.
At its highest in 20 years, that turnout may muffle talk of a “democratic deficit” undermining the legitimacy of the EU.
As the Union faces unprecedented slights from the United States under President Donald Trump, hostility from Russia under President Vladimir Putin and anxiety over the rising trading power of China, a revival of its citizens’ interest, however muted, and a containment of its critics, is welcome for supporters of the bloc.
A stronger voice for the liberals and Greens could see the next EU executive seek a tougher line on regulating polluting industries, taxing multinational companies or demanding trading partners help contain climate change — as well as press its own members, notably in the east, not to damage civil rights.
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives lost seven percentage points from five years ago as the far-right Alternative for Germany gained four points to 11%. But the headlines there went to the Greens, who nearly doubled their vote to finish second on 21%, ahead of the Social Democrats.
Britain voted on Thursday but began releasing results only late on Sunday. The BBC said Farage’s Brexit Party was set for a big win, reflecting frustration at the fact Britain is still in the EU, two months after Brexit was supposed to happen.
Farage is determined that his MEPs will not sit for long in Brussels – though drama after the resignation of Prime Minister Theresa May leaves the fate of Brexit still very uncertain.
In France, an official in Macron’s team acknowledged “some disappointment” that, with some 22%, the president’s Renaissance movement had lost first place to Le Pen’s National Rally, which exit polls put on 24%. However, pro-EU parties were still in the majority, with the French Greens coming third.
Added to the second place of their German counterparts, that lent credibility to expectations of a “green wave” that will influence policy in Brussels in the coming years.
The Parliament’s projection put the EPP on 179 seats, ahead of the S&D on 152, with the liberals on 105, up 36 seats, and Greens on 69, up 17. On the far-right, two groups in the current parliament had a combined 111 seats, a 40% jump from 2014.
The European Parliament election will usher in weeks and possibly months of hard bargaining over who will run EU institutions. Party spokespeople for the four pro-EU centre parties were quick to talk of plans for a broad coalition.
“We are facing a shrinking centre,” said Manfred Weber, the German lead candidate of the EPP. “So what I would ask us to do to is to join our forces to work together from now.”
The Parliament as an institution has insisted that one of its own winning members should succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the executive European Commission. But many national leaders, who will meet over dinner in Brussels on Tuesday, have said they will not be bound by that demand.
Weber in particular faces resistance, having never held government office – although he insists his long experience in the European Parliament makes him the democratic choice.
Frans Timmermans, Juncker’s Dutch deputy who led the Socialists’ campaign, cautioned against putting the “Game of Thrones” over top jobs ahead of efforts to forge a common programme among parties that will push for a stronger Union.
(Additional reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Alissa de Carbonnel, Daphne Psaledakis, Foo Yun Chee, Robin Emmott and Francesco Guarascio; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Frances Kerry)
[European Union politics must be a nightmare to keep up with, get out while you can Brexit. But then I realized that the U.S. left Democrat party has also created a multirange of cooks of every extremity you can imagine with 24 candidates to boot, which is a nightmare also, and hopefully President Trump will shut them back down the rabbit hole they came out of in 2020.].
5/27/2019 Pres. Trump on USMCA: we have a deal with Mexico and Canada that everybody wants by OAN Newsroom
President Trump says “everybody wants” the new trade deal with Canada and Mexico.
The president made the remark on the USMCA during a press conference in Japan Monday, and called it a “deal that’s gotten universal praise.”
U.S. President Donald Trump reacts during a news conference with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,
at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, May 27, 2019. (Kiyoshi Ota/Pool Photo via AP)
President Trump made the agreement with then-Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau back in 2018, however it still needs to be ratified by Congress.
The president said he will work with congressional Democrats on the deal and suggested House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will back it.
“Unions love it. Farmers love it. Manufacturers love it. You won’t have companies leaving and going to Mexico and going to Canada and going like they were for many, many years,” said President Trump. “It’s a great deal. I would imagine that Nancy Pelosi would approve that. I would think it would be very hard not to, but we’ll see.”
Pelosi is reportedly seeking to have stronger enforcement provisions negotiated into the deal.
The President has yet to submit the agreement to Congress for ratification, but once he does lawmakers must vote on it within 60 days.
5/27/2019 Pres. Trump lays into the Left for continuing impeachment crusade by OAN Newsroom
The president strikes back amid continued calls for impeachment from the Left. In a tweet Monday, President Trump called Democrats “obstructionists.”
He also asked “impeach for what?, after he claimed to have created perhaps the greatest economy in our country’s history, is rebuilding our military, taking care of our vets, judges, and has the best jobs numbers ever, and much more.”
President Donald Trump listens as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a news conference
at Akasaka Palace, Monday, May 27, 2019, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
The president was responding to a tweet by RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, who said Democrats are pushing impeachment since they do not have a platform to rally behind going into 2020.
“There’s never been a president more transparent. The Mueller report came out, no obstruction, no collusion, no nothing, it’s a beautiful report,” said President Trump. “The Democrats cannot understand what happened. They really thought they had some people on their side because as you know, the people doing the investigation were 18 extremely angry Democrats.”
In a follow up tweet, he said “Democrats are getting nothing done in Congress, and they only want a do-over on Mueller!”
5/27/2019 Germany’s SPD head proposes vote on floor leadership after election rout by Madeline Chambers and Joseph Nasr
Andrea Nahles, leader of Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD), top candidate Katarina Barley and MEP Udo Bullmann attend a
news conference following the European Parliament election results, in Berlin, Germany, May 27, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
BERLIN (Reuters) – The head of Germany’s Social Democrats said on Monday she would propose a vote on her position as leader of the party in parliament, after her decision to stay in coalition with Angela Merkel’s conservatives was criticized by the party’s left.
The SPD suffered a double humiliation on Sunday. Defeated in a regional vote in the northern state of Bremen for the first time in 73 years, the party also saw its share of the vote slide more than 11 points in EU parliamentary elections, to 15.8%, behind the Greens.
“I don’t think those debates about positions in the party are wise. But now that, as leader, I have been put up to this challenge, we will have clarity,” Andrea Nahles told the ZDF public broadcaster.
“I therefore suggest that we bring forward the parliamentary faction leadership vote that was planned for the end of September and hold it next week instead. And all those who think they want to go down a different path should stand up and say ‘I’m running’.”
Nahles is both national party leader and floor leader of the SPD in the lower house of parliament.
She had earlier announced a retreat on June 3 where senior party members would discuss electoral strategy and how to stand out from Merkel’s conservatives on issues such as climate change and social policies, including pensions.
Her impromptu announcement of a floor leader’s vote during the TV interview reflected deep internal dissatisfaction at her failure to reverse the SPD’s poor results at the ballot box.
Nahles acknowledged in the interview that her decision was in response to a letter sent to her by SPD lawmakers from the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia demanding a vote on her leadership of the SPD in parliament.
It was not immediately clear if anyone would challenge Nahles, who repeated her position that the SPD is best served by staying in government and delivering policies that matter to voters.
German weekly Bild am Sonntag reported that former SPD leader Martin Schulz wants to replace Nahles as head of the parliamentary party. An SPD spokeswoman said Nahles and Schulz were in regular discussions but the talks were confidential.
If she loses the vote, it would be another blow to her leadership and embolden leftist members of the SPD who would prefer the party to quit the coalition with Merkel.
Any move to pull out could trigger snap elections or a possible new coalition. Three more regional elections take place in September and October, all in former Communist eastern states where the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) is strong.
Both options are unappealing to the SPD and conservative leadership and could hasten the departure of Merkel, who has already handed the leadership of her Christian Democrats (CDU) to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.
The SPD elected Nahles as leader last year, hoping she could reinvigorate the party after heavy losses in a 2017 national election under Schulz.
Poll setbacks under her leadership have fueled discontent among many members of the SPD who want to ditch their second consecutive stint as junior partner under Merkel. They want the party to reinvent itself in opposition and rediscover its leftist roots.
SPD deputy leader Ralf Stegner, SPD youth wing leader Kevin Kuehnert and lawmaker Matthias Miersch called on the party to have the courage to change tack.
“The grand coalition has an end date: at the latest, September 2021 and if needed sooner. We have not signed up for a (long-term) subscription with the conservatives,” they said, referring to the date when the next federal election is due.
Nahles’ response to the election humiliation heralds turbulence in a coalition already beset by infighting. It nearly collapsed last year due to rows over migrant policy and the sacking of the head of domestic intelligence.
(Additional reporting by Christian Kraemer and Paul Carrel; Editing by Catherine Evans)
5/28/2019 no changes in Oil or DOW due to Memorial Day holiday.
5/28/2019 Trump expects Japan’s military to reinforce United States in Asia and beyond
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump take photos with military personnel aboard the USS Wasp as they
participate in a Memorial Day Address in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, Japan May 28, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato
TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump expects that Japan’s military will reinforce U.S. forces throughout Asia and elsewhere, he said on Tuesday, as the key U.S. ally upgrades the ability of its forces to operate further from its shores.
Trump’s comments followed his inspection of Japan’s largest warship, the Kaga, a helicopter carrier designed to carry submarine-hunting helicopters to distant waters.
The vessel, which will soon be upgraded to handle F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) jets, sailed to India on a flag-flying mission last year, going through the contested South China Sea, much of which is claimed by Beijing.
“With this extraordinary new equipment, the Kaga will help our nations defend against a range of complex threats in the region and far beyond,” Trump said in a speech on the ship’s hangar deck.
The refit of the vessel, and its sister ship, the Izumo, is expected to bolster U.S. forces operating from Japan by providing a refueling platform for U.S. Marine F-35Bs.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who accompanied Trump on the visit to the Kaga, has boosted defense spending since taking office in December 2012, stretching the pacifist constitution to ease limits on troop activities abroad.
He also wants to revise the post-World War Two charter to recognize the existence of Japan’s military.
The Kaga and the Izumo are the biggest aircraft carriers Japan has operated since its wartime defeat, but its Self Defence Forces designate them as destroyers, as constitutional curbs forbid possession of weapons that could be used to attack other countries.
Trump is winding up a four-day state visit meant to underscore the U.S.-Japan alliance, but shadowed by friction over Tokyo’s big trade surplus with America.
On Monday he told a news conference that Washington supported Japan’s efforts to improve its defense capability and touted Tokyo’s purchases of American military equipment.
Japan last year unveiled a plan to buy 45 more F-35 stealth fighters, including some B variants, worth about $4 billion, adding to the 42 jets it has already ordered.
Japan says it eventually wants to field a force of around 150 of the advanced fighter jets, as it tries to keep ahead of China’s advances in military technology.
“This purchase would give Japan the largest fleet of F-35s of any of our allies,” Trump said on the Kaga, docked at the Yokosuka naval base near Tokyo.
The base is the headquarters of the Japanese fleet and also the home port of the U.S. Seventh Fleet.
(Reporting by Tim Kelly and Malcolm Foster; Writing by Linda Sieg; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
5/28/2019 Macron-Salvini is about future of EU by Lori Hinnant, ASSOCIATED PRESS
BRUSSELS – France’s pro-EU president and the leader of Italy’s euroskeptic, far-right movement jockeyed for the role of chief powerbroker on the continent Monday after elections to the European Parliament hollowed out the traditional political middle. The four days of balloting that drew to a close Sunday across the European Union’s 28 countries ended the domination of the main center-right and center- left parties in Parliament and established the anti-EU forces on the right and the environmentalists on the left as forces to be reckoned with.
Voters delivered the highest turnout in 20 years, rejecting mainstream politics in France, Germany, Britain and Italy. The results could make the business of governing Europe even trickier, leaving the Parliament deadlocked over key issues to come, including immigration, a major trade agreement with the United States, global warming, regulation of the tech industry and, of course, Brexit.
The outcome of the election is already setting off a power struggle.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron’s party narrowly lost to the French far-right, led by Marine Le Pen. Macron, whose party was poised to secure 21 seats to 22 for Le Pen’s National Rally, spent Monday busily amassing allies ahead of a summit Tuesday in Brussels, hoping to build a durable pro-EU coalition.
In Italy, Matteo Salvini’s right-wing League party won a third of the vote and is poised to become one of the biggest parties in the European Parliament with 28 seats in the 751-seat legislature. But his ambitions reached higher.
By midday, he had already spoken to Le Pen, Hungary’s hardline anti-immigrant prime minister, Viktor Orban, and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and was promising to bring together a contradiction in terms – an international group of nationalists.
“We want to be a group that has at least 100 members and has the ambition to be at least 150, if everyone can overcome jealousies, sympathies, antipathies. To create an alternative, you play. You don’t do it by turning up your nose,” he said.
The center-right European People’s Party and the center-left Socialists & Democrats have dominated the parliament with a combined majority since direct elections were first held in 1979. With results still coming in, the EPP was on track to secure 180 seats, down from 217 five years ago. The Socialists were set to win 145, down from 187.
Riding what they called Europe’s “green wave,” environmentalist parties seeking action on climate change made strong gains, notably in Germany. Another mainstream formation, the free-market ALDE group backed by Macron, saw its stake in the Parliament rise to 109 seats, from 68 in 2014.
For the Parliament to choose a European Commission president and ultimately to pass legislation, new and uncomfortable alliances must be forged, and nearly all will require some combination of ALDE and the Greens.
Well aware of the far-right’s potential to turn against itself, Macron launched a flurry of meetings ahead of the dinner summit Tuesday where the EU countries’ presidents and prime ministers will take stock of the election results.
French President Emmanuel Macron greets a supporter after voting Sunday in Le Touquet, northern France. KAMIL ZIHNIOGLU/AP
5/28/2019 EU leaders fire starting gun for top jobs race by Francesco Guarascio and Gabriela Baczynska
FILE PHOTO: France's President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel speak during the informal meeting
of European Union leaders in Sibiu, Romania, May 9, 2019. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron will lock horns in Brussels on Tuesday as European Union leaders meet to begin bargaining over who will take the bloc’s top jobs for the next five years.
An EU-wide election last week returned a European Parliament with a splintered center and gains by pro-EU liberals and greens as well as eurosceptic nationalists and the far-right.
The centrist European People’s Party (EPP) and Socialists & Democrats (S&D) can only count on 326 seats in the new, 751-strong chamber. That is short of the 376-seat majority needed to approve a new head for the bloc’s executive European Commission.
Other big roles up for grabs later this year include the head of the European Parliament and the European Central Bank, the bloc’s foreign policy chief and the head of the European Council, which gathers leaders of the EU’s 28 member states.
Merkel called on Monday for a swift decision and an official from Macron’s office said he too would “ideally” want the process finished in June. But the two leaders have differing views on how to pick a Commission chief.
The EU would risk an institutional logjam if talks are prolonged, leaving it unable to make key policy decisions at a time when it faces a more assertive Russia, China’s growing economic might and an unpredictable U.S. president.
Leaders of a majority of parties in the newly elected chamber on Monday called on the national leaders to nominate a lawmaker to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as Commission chief.
Merkel officially favors the EPP candidate, German conservative Manfred Weber, to take over at the Commission.
But Weber has so far failed to rally the other EU assembly groups and a dinner he had wanted to host late on Monday with the S&D, the liberal ALDE and the Greens was canceled.
“The EPP is ready for all the necessary compromises,” Weber said on Monday.
HARD TO CALL
Together, those four parties would hold 504 seats in the new EU chamber, according to the latest provisional results, comfortably enough to approve or reject any pick made by the 28 national leaders for the top Brussels posting.
Macron, meanwhile, will on Tuesday push against the “Spitzenkandidat” system whereby a lawmaker selected by the European assembly should get the Commission job.
On Monday night he met Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who is seeking a bigger political role for Madrid at the top of the EU.
A raft of separate face-to-face talks will take place in Brussels on Tuesday before all the leaders — including outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May — meet at 1600 GMT.
Their chairman, ex-Polish premier Donald Tusk, does not expect the package to be agreed on Tuesday but will continue consultations with capitals after the debate among leaders.
He also wants to have names ready for the new European Parliament’s approval in July as otherwise the whole process risks getting delayed until autumn.
Unanimity is not required and current Commission president Juncker got the job despite opposition from London and with Budapest abstaining in 2014.
But it is hard to see a candidate succeeding against the will of more than just a handful of leaders, as that would risk hurting their cooperation in the future and stalling the EU’s decision-making processes.
The obscure and difficult-to-call recruitment process will be a compromise between requirements of geography and political affiliation, as well as the candidates’ own profiles.
Other names already in the running include Juncker’s current deputy and Dutch social democrat Frans Timmermans, the bloc’s Brexit negotiator, Frenchman Michel Barnier, and outgoing Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic, a Slovak. [L8N2341US]
(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski, Philip Blenkinsop, Alastair Macdonald, Francesco Guarascio, Robin Emmott and Gabriela Baczynska; Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Catherine Evans)
5/28/2019 Center-right candidate for EU Commission chair says ready to compromise
Manfred Weber, member of the Bavarian Christian Democrats (CSU) and lead candidate of the European Peoples' Party (EPP)
in European parliamentary elections, arrives for a news conference in Munich, Germany, May 27, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe’s center-right candidate for the chair of the EU Commission, Manfred Weber, said on Tuesday his party was ready to make all necessary compromises over the appointment of the most powerful figure in the bloc.
Weber spoke after the main political groups of the EU parliament agreed to keep backing the principle that the new president of the EU executive should be someone who had campaigned for the job.
That list include Weber himself from the center-right European People’s Party, center-left candidate Frans Timmermans and the liberal EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager.
“The EPP is ready for all the necessary compromises,” Weber said.
Leaders of EU states will meet in Brussels later on Tuesday to start the process of choosing the commission’s chair. Under EU rules, leaders propose a candidate who reflects the results of Sunday’s European Parliament elections. The candidate then needs the backing of the EU parliament.
The EPP won the EU parliamentary vote but with a shrinking share of seats, which obliges it to form a coalition with at least two other groups to obtain a majority in the next EU parliament.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
5/28/2019 Explainer: Will China dump U.S. bonds as a trade weapon? Not so fast by Richard Leong
FILE PHOTO: A worker gestures as a crane lifts goods for export onto a cargo vessel at a port
in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo
(Reuters) – The trade war between Beijing and Washington has stoked concern in financial markets that China might opt to weaponize its holdings of more than $1.1 trillion worth of U.S. Treasuries in retaliation for the tariffs the Trump administration has imposed on Chinese imports.
Often referred to as the “nuclear option,” choosing to dump so large a pool of assets would likely destabilize world financial markets, drive interest rates higher and push tensions between the world’s two largest economies into uncharted territory.
China has been slimming its Treasury securities portfolio for some time, but most analysts see an aggressive reduction of its holdings as a remote possibility at most. There is no evidence Beijing is seriously looking to flood markets with its U.S. bonds.
Here are some key points about China’s Treasuries portfolio:
HOW MUCH U.S. DEBT DOES CHINA OWN?
About a decade ago, China overtook Japan as the largest foreign holder of U.S. government debt.
Its holdings stood at more than $1.12 trillion at the end of March, according to U.S. Treasury department data. Japan is a close second with nearly $1.08 trillion.
China’s holdings peaked in late 2013 at nearly $1.32 trillion and have come down by about 15% since then. In March they were the lowest in about two years.
Its share of the Treasury market has fallen even faster, due to the steady issuance of U.S. debt required to finance the growing federal budget deficit.
The world’s second biggest economy owns about 7% of the $16.18 trillion of U.S. public debt outstanding, its lowest share in 14 years, and down from a peak of 14% in 2011. Still, its slice of the pie is exceeded only by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which owns $2.15 trillion of Treasuries, or 13.5% of the market.
Treasury issuance is expected to keep accelerating following a massive tax cut enacted in December 2017, so China’s share of the market will likely drop even further.
(GRAPHIC: China, Japan Holdings of U.S. Treasuries – http://tmsnrt.rs/2DJ1ckW)
WHY DOES CHINA OWN SO MUCH U.S. DEBT?
As a net exporter to the United States and the rest of the world, China has the world’s largest stash of foreign-exchange reserves at more than $3 trillion. Much of that is denominated in U.S. dollars accumulated through its persistent trade surplus with the United States since the early 1990s.
A natural place for China to park a lot of those greenbacks is the U.S. Treasury market, which is by far the largest and most liquid pool of safe assets in the world.
Also, since the financial crisis of 2007-2009, U.S. Treasuries have consistently yielded more than bonds issued by other large developed economies such as Japan and Germany, which has been another lure.
(GRAPHIC: China’s stake in U.S. Treasuries vs yuan – https://tmsnrt.rs/2HziSTz)
WHAT IS THE RISK TO THE UNITED STATES IF CHINA SELLS?
Most analysts agree that large-scale selling by Beijing would disrupt the Treasury market and other markets.
An abrupt shift in the balance of supply and demand could drive down Treasury prices, and drive up their yields, which move in the opposition direction to prices. That would cause a spike in borrowing costs for the U.S. government.
Also, because Treasury yields are a benchmark for U.S. consumer and business credit, interest rates on everything from corporate bonds to homeowners’ mortgages would rise, likely slowing the economy.
Such a jarring move would also erode global investors’ confidence in the U.S. dollar as the world’s top reserve currency.
(GRAPHIC: Currency composition of FX reserves – https://tmsnrt.rs/2V2VgLt)
WHAT IS THE RISK TO CHINA IF IT DUMPS TREASURIES?
Most analysts argue China has not opted to sell Uncle Sam’s IOUs because a nosedive in U.S. bond prices also would bring down the value of China’s remaining Treasury holdings.
Also, China’s currency, the yuan, is not fully free floating. Beijing uses its Treasury holdings as a key tool to stabilize the yuan within a targeted range, against the dollar in particular.
Some critics have alleged China uses Treasuries and its other currency reserves to hold down the yuan, making its exports more attractive. At the same time, allowing the currency to cheapen too much risks other problems, such as foreign capital flight.
Any sharp depreciation in the greenback might force Beijing to defend the yuan, which may mean shedding more of its Treasuries stake. Back in 2016, China’s Treasuries holdings fell sharply by some $200 billion from May to November of that year as the yuan depreciated on worries about the Chinese economy.
Lastly, any knock-on effect in the U.S. economy would also be felt in China because the United States is the destination for nearly a fifth of Chinese exports.
(GRAPHIC: China-US trade: monthly figures – https://tmsnrt.rs/2Lzed8e)
(Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Dan Burns and Chizu Nomiyama)
[Obama was letting the Chinese buy up our resources and land for them to produce food for their population and somehow he still ran our deficit from 7 trillion to 20 trillion in 8 years, where did the money go to since it did not get a raise for me, which I went 5 years without one, and also he took 2% out of Social Security for 2 years to boot.].
5/28/2019 Legislative deadlines loom over Congress by OAN Newsroom
2019 has been an active year in Congress, but not for the reasons you would think. For most of the year, congressional Democrats have been focusing their attention on the president and his 2016 election win.
“We believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover up…in a cover up and that was the nature,” stated House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The endless accusations from the left against President Trump have deepened the divide between political parties, placing many important measures on a back-burner and creating a potential logjam of important deadlines.
Some of the biggest issues on hold include the disaster aid package, the nation’s debt ceiling, government funding and infrastructure.
“I wanna get drug prices down, I want get things like infrastructure and others…I want’t to get a lot of things done…I don’t they’re capable of going down two tracks,” President Trump told reporters outside the White House.
Lawmakers were supposed to have a plan for disaster funding by Memorial Day, but that was put on hold thanks to one lone representative — Chip Roy — who objected because the measure did not include funding for the border.
“It does nothing to address a clear national emergency and humanitarian in crisis we face on our southern border,” stated Roy.
FILE – The Capitol Dome is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
The House now has until June to agree on a plan, which is expected to provide more than $19 billion in relief aid to areas hit by hurricanes, wildfires, flooding and other disasters.
Meanwhile, another major deadline is looming as Congress has until October 1st to approve a plan, which will fund the government through the rest of the year and avoid another government shutdown.
Whether both parties will be able to see eye to eye and come together for the good of the American people remains unseen.
5/28/2019 Former congressman credits President Trump for economy, not the Obama-Biden admin by OAN Newsroom
Former Georgia Congressman Jack Kingston said President Trump is responsible for the current state of the economy, not the Obama administration.
Kingston, who also served as Trump campaign adviser back in 2016, made the comments during an interview Monday. He added, President Trump “owns the economy” and will likely use it to drive home his message as he seeks reelection in 2020.
Former Ga. Congressman Jack Kingston is pictured. (AP Photo)
Kingston’s remarks come after Democrat front-runner Joe Biden claimed the president inherited an already growing economy from the former administration:
“I know President Trump likes to take credit for the economy, and the economic growth and the low unemployment numbers…President Trump inherited an economy from Obama-Biden administration…that was given to him.”
Kingston disagreed with Biden’s comments, and said there’s not a single Democrat candidate capable of doing better for the economy than what the president has accomplished.
5/29/2019 Oil up $0.51 to $59.14, DOW down 238 to 25,348.
5/29/2019 Fake social media accounts spread pro-Iran messages during U.S. midterms: FireEye by Christopher Bing
FILE PHOTO: A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage after a group picture with foreign ministers
and representatives of the U.S., Iran, China, Russia, Britain, Germany, France and the European Union during
Iran nuclear talks at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
(Reuters) – A network of fake social media accounts impersonated political candidates and journalists to spread messages in support of Iran and against U.S. President Donald Trump around the 2018 congressional elections, cybersecurity firm FireEye said on Tuesday.
The findings show how unidentified, possibly government-backed, groups could manipulate social media platforms to promote stories and other content that can influence the opinions of American voters, the researchers said.
This particular operation was largely focused on promoting “anti-Saudi, anti-Israeli, and pro-Palestinian themes,” according to the report by FireEye.
The campaign was organized through a series of fake personas that created various social media accounts, including on Twitter and Facebook. Most of these accounts were created last year and have since been taken down, the report said.
Spokespersons for Twitter and Facebook confirmed FireEye’s finding that the fake accounts were created on their platforms.
Lee Foster, a researcher with FireEye, said he found some of the fake personas – often masquerading as American journalists – had successfully convinced several U.S. news outlets to publish letters to the editor, guest columns and blog posts.
These writings displayed both progressive and conservative views, the report said, covering topics including the Trump administration’s designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization.
“We’re assessing with low confidence that this network was organized to support Iranian political interests,” said Foster. “However, we’re not at the point where we can say who was doing it or where it’s coming from. The investigation is ongoing.”
Before the 2018 midterms election, the nameless group created Twitter accounts that also impersonated both Republican and Democratic congressional candidates. It is unclear if the fake accounts had any effect on their campaigns.
The imposter Twitter accounts often plagiarized messages from the politicians’ legitimate accounts, but also mixed in posts voicing support for policies believed to be favorable to Tehran. Affected politicians included Jineea Butler, a Republican candidate for New York’s 13th District, and Marla Livengood, a Republican candidate for California’s 9th District. Both Livengood and Butler lost in the election.
Livengood’s campaign called the situation “clearly an attempt by bad actors” to hurt her campaign, and noted that Livengood was “a strident opponent of nuclear weapons in Iran.”
Butler could not be immediately reached for comment.
Twitter said in a statement that it had “removed this network of 2,800 inauthentic accounts originating in Iran at the beginning of May,” adding that its investigation was ongoing.
Facebook said it had removed 51 Facebook accounts, 36 Pages, seven Groups and three Instagram accounts connected to the influence operation. Instagram is owned by Facebook.
The activity on Facebook was less expansive than that on Twitter and it appeared to be more narrowly focused, said Facebook head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher. The inauthentic Facebook accounts instead often privately messaged high profile figures, including journalists, policy-makers and Iranian dissidents, to promote certain issues.
Facebook also concluded the activity had originated in Iran.
(Reporting by Christopher Bing; editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Susan Thomas)
5/29/2019 Comey disputes allegations FBI officials committed treason by OAN Newsroom
Former FBI Director James Comey is taking aim at President Trump for claiming FBI officials may have engaged in treason. In an op-ed by the Washington Post Tuesday, Comey called the president a “liar” and claimed he is “peddling lies” about the Russia investigation.
Comey said if rogue agents wanted to hurt the president in 2016, they could have simply leaked the investigation. His comments come after President Trump accused former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and other top officials of engaging in illegal activity while at the bureau.
Former FBI director James Comey listens as he testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence,
on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 8, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Comey maintained the FBI did not spy on members of the Trump campaign, which is a position he’s held since Attorney General William Barr suggested spying did occur.
“With respect to Barr’s comments, I really don’t know what he’s talking about when he talks about spying on the campaign…when I hear that kind of language used, it’s concerning because the FBI and the Department of Justice conduct court ordered electronic surveillance…I have never thought of that as spying,” said the former FBI director.
Critics of Comey said he may be on the defensive. Many pundits have suggested he may be trying to control the narrative ahead of the conclusion of several investigations looking into the FBI’s conduct during his time leading the bureau.
5/29/2019 Digenova: Huber probe a farce by OAN Newsroom
A former U.S. attorney is casting doubt on the special prosecutor investigation into the Clinton Foundation. In an interview Tuesday, Joe Digenova called John Huber’s efforts a farce.
The special prosecutor was tapped by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to look into the Clinton Foundation and other potential FISA abuses in the FBI and Department of Justice. However, he earned condemnation from Representatives Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows when they learned he hasn’t utilized a grand jury, and skipped out on his hearing back in December.
U.S. Attorney John W. Huber speaks outside the federal courthouse Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Digenova pointed out that Huber hasn’t even interviewed the top witness in his investigation, who Digenova represents as an attorney:
“Huber was supposed to be investigating leaks and a bunch of other things. He stopped his investigation because of Horowitz, so he’s the useless appendage who’s done nothing. In fact, he’s supposed to be investigating Uranium One yet he never contacted our law firm, and we represent the key informant in that case, so go figure.”
Digenova added, Inspector General Michael Horowitz needs to step up and stop trying to protect the institutions of the FBI and Justice Department.
[Huber either did not do what he was asked to do or the DEEP STATE was blocking him from getting the information and covering it up as they go. The Uranium One concept has been washed away. GO FIGURE! This same entity may try to cover up the FISA corruption.].
5/29/2019 Mueller speaks on Russia probe by OAN Newsroom
Special counsel Robert Mueller said there is insufficient evidence to charge for a broader conspiracy in the Russia investigation. He made those remarks at the Justice Department Wednesday, saying there were multiple systematic efforts by Russia to influence and interfere with the 2016 election.
Mueller also added, he does not believe it would be appropriate for him to speak further on the investigation and that the report speaks for itself. He also reiterated the guidance for making the decision not to accuse the president of obstruction.
Special counsel Robert Muller speaks at the Department of Justice Wednesday,
May 29, 2019, in Washington, about the Russia investigation. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
“Under longstanding department policy, a present president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office — that is unconstitutional,” he stated. “It would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge.”
Mueller then said the special counsel’s office is closing the investigation, and that he is resigning from the Department of Justice.
Following the statement, President Trump took to Twitter to say reiterate that there was insufficient evidence and the case is closed.
Trump tweet: “Nothing changes from the Mueller Report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you.”
5/29/2019 Sanders responds to Mueller statement, reiterates there was ‘no collusion’ by OAN Newsroom
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said, “after two-years the special counsel’s Robert Mueller is moving on with his life and everyone else should do the same.” She made the comment in a statement Wednesday, following Mueller’s public statement regarding the Russia investigation.
The press secretary pointed out Mueller explicitly said he has nothing to add beyond his report, and therefore does not plan to testify before Congress. She also said the report was clear in determining there was no collusion and no conspiracy. Additionally, the Department of Justice confirmed there was no obstruction.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders speaks to media outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington,
Wednesday, May 29, 2019, about special counsel Robert Mueller’s remarks. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Sanders then noted Mueller stated Attorney General William Barr acted in good faith in his handling of the report. She later reiterated the special counsel’s findings and outlined Barr’s decision on obstruction:
“He came to a very explicit conclusion, on that front, that there was no collusion and there was no conspiracy. He couldn’t make a determination on whether or not there was obstruction, which means that leaves it up to the attorney general. The attorney general…based off of the exhaustive information laid out in the report that Mueller himself put together, there was no obstruction. He worked with the deputy attorney general to make that determination.”
Press Secretary Sanders also reasserted the president has been “fully exonerated.”
5/29/2019 DHS fast-tracking work permits for asylum seekers, McAleenan seeks to close loophole by OAN Newsroom
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is fast-tracking illegal immigrants into jobs. That’s according to acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan during his most recent appearance on Capitol Hill.
McAleenan said he is looking at ways to close the loophole, which allows some asylum seekers to receive a work permit in as little as 30-days after crossing the border. The department is reportedly cutting down the wait time from six-months because they do not have the space to detain migrants for more than a few days.
McAleenan is concerned this policy is encouraging human smugglers to act.
Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan testifies before the Senate Homeland Security Committee
on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 23, 2019, during a hearing on border security. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
“If you are a trafficker, what you’re telling people is — one, come to the border and seek asylum and you’ll get an immigration hearing…and you’ll be released into the community for a couple of years at least before your hearing…and you’ll have the ability to work and with a wage differential of being able to make 10 times as much or sometimes 20 times as much…do you think that’s a factor?” asked Republican Senator Rob Portman during a recent hearing.
“I think that not only is that a factor, but that is directly how smugglers are advertising the opportunity to come the U.S. right now,” McAleenan responded.
The DHS secretary also touched on the growing trend of migrants no longer applying for asylum. He said this slows down the deportation process by putting off the asylum hearings for years.
5/29/2019 Treasury Dept. focusing on trade deficits by OAN Newsroom
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before the House Committee on Financial Services on
Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The Treasury Department is scrutinizing nine trading partners as the Trump administration addresses “chronic trade deficits.”
On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the department is working to protect U.S. workers and companies from “unfair foreign trade practices.”
Germany, South Korea, and Japan are still on the watch list. The Treasury also reported the Chinese are getting extra attention because of alleged currency manipulation. Officials in Beijing have denied the claims.
“We have always said that we hope the United States can respect objective facts, respect market rules, and not politicize the exchange rate issue. At the same time, we have suggested many times that the United States handle matters according to multilateral rules, and not make unilateral assessments of other countries’ exchange rates. Whether a country is manipulating its currency is not determined by the United States.” — Lu Kang, spokesperson – Chinese Foreign Ministry.
The Treasury is also keeping an eye trade deficits with Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.
5/30/2019 Oil down $0.33 to $58.81, DOW down 221 to 25,126.
[THE FOLLOWING TWO ARTICLES IS THE FAKE NEWS VERSION MAKES YOU WANT TO BELIEVE THAT MUELLER HAS BEEN MADE TO SAY THIS IN ORDER TO RETIRE WITHOUT THE DEEP STATE BRINGING UP A SMEAR ON HIS PAST AND HE DOES HAVE ONE IF YOU DID NOT KNOW THAT. AND NOT ONE WORD ON INVESTIGATING COMEY, MCCABE, STYRK, PAGE AND ALL THE REAL COLLUSION AND CORRUPTION. BY THE WAY MUELLER YOU BETTER GET OUT BEFORE THEY DISCOVER YOU WERE PART OF THE FISA CORRUPTION.]
5/30/2019 Mueller: Charges not an option - Trump says case ‘closed’ in Russia investigation by Bart Jansen and Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – In his first public comments on the Russia investigation, special counsel Robert Mueller refused to clear President Donald Trump of criminal wrongdoing, but said charging him with obstruction was “not an option” because of Justice Department policy against prosecuting a sitting president.
In a 10-minute statement delivered from the Justice Department on Wednesday, Mueller defended the investigation he supervised, said it was unnecessary that he testify before Congress and announced that he is leaving the department and closing his office. His remarks mostly echoed the text of the 448-page report he submitted in March, but this time he delivered them himself, on camera and in public.
Mueller also recounted his report’s findings, saying Russia launched a “concerted” effort to interfere with the election. “There were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election, and that allegation deserves the attention of every American,” he said.
Mueller said the inquiry into Russia’s efforts was one of “paramount importance,” so investigators took seriously efforts by Trump and others to thwart their work. But he said the department’s Office of Legal Counsel has prohibited the prosecution of a sitting president and that his team of prosecutors was bound to follow that law.
Still, Mueller said if prosecutors had confidence that the president didn’t commit a crime, “we would have said that.”
Before leaving the podium, Mueller seemed to offer a clearer signal to Congress that lawmakers have the power to make their own judgment about the president’s conduct.
“The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing,” Mueller said. He did not identify that process, but he was referring to the daunting political exercise of impeachment.
Trump tweeted after the statement that nothing had changed from Mueller’s report.
“There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent,” Trump said. “The case is closed!”
Mueller’s final report described wide-ranging efforts by the Russian government to intercede in the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf, but said investigators did not find sufficient evidence to establish a conspiracy with Trump’s campaign. Mueller made no decision on whether to press charges of obstruction of justice, despite detailing 10 episodes in which investigators said the president tried to thwart their work.
In his report and again Wednesday, Mueller framed that decision as being less about evidence than about the government’s rules for accusing the president of a crime.
Justice Department policy “clearly permits the investigation of a sitting president because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents are available,” Mueller said. “Among other things, the evidence could be used if there were coconspirators who could now be charged.”
Mueller said he would have nothing more to say, that the special counsel’s office is closing and that he is resigning from the Justice Department. If called to testify before Congress, he said, he would repeat only what was in his office’s final report.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Mueller “is moving on with his life, and everyone else should do the same.”
Mueller’s statement came at a time when more House Democrats are calling for Trump’s impeachment, though Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has not approved taking that step. Her position appeared unaltered on Wednesday, when she said in a statement that Congress would “continue to investigate and legislate.”
Other Democrats in the House appeared eager to take more aggressive steps. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., who sits on the Judiciary Committee, said the next step is to open an impeachment inquiry, to allow the collection of evidence and compel the attendance of witnesses.
Jimmy Gurule, a former assistant attorney general who is now a law professor at University of Notre Dame, said Mueller left open the question of whether Trump obstructed justice. But he and others questioned whether the special counsel delivering that assessment in person would do much to change the political calculus in Congress, which is conducting its own investigations and where some Democrats have insisted that Trump should be impeached.
“I think the voice in the House is going to get louder. There are going to be more calls for impeachment,” Gurule said. “But I don’t think it’s going to change any Republican views.”
“The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally
accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing,” special counsel Robert Mueller said. CAROLYN KASTER/AP
5/30/2019 From Mueller’s mouth - Charging president was ‘not an option,’ special counsel says by Bart Jansen and Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – In his first public comments on the Russia investigation, special counsel Robert Mueller pointedly refused to clear President Donald Trump of criminal wrongdoing but said charging him with obstruction was “not an option” because of Justice Department policy against prosecuting a sitting president.
In a 10-minute statement delivered from the Justice Department on Wednesday morning, Mueller defended the investigation he supervised, said it was unnecessary that he testify before Congress and announced that he was leaving the department and closing his office. His remarks largely echoed the text of the 448-page report he submitted in March, but this time, he delivered them himself, on camera and in public.
Mueller recounted his report’s overall
Mueller on Russian interference:
“That allegation deserves the attention of every American.”
On charging a sitting president with a crime: “The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president.”
On testifying before Congress: “The report is my testimony.”
"Systematic efforts to interfere in our election, and that allegation deserves the attention of every American,” he said.
Mueller said the inquiry into Russia’s efforts was one of “paramount importance,” so investigators took seriously efforts by Trump and others to thwart their work. He said the department’s Office of Legal Counsel prohibited the prosecution of a sitting president, and his team of prosecutors was bound to follow that rule.
Mueller said that if prosecutors had confidence that the president clearly didn’t commit a crime, “we would have said that.”
Before leaving the podium, he offered a clearer signal to Congress that lawmakers have the power to make their own judgment about the president’s conduct even if he couldn’t bring criminal charges.
“The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing,” Mueller said, describing the department’s rationale for why a president cannot be prosecuted. He did not directly identify that process, but he was referring to the daunting political exercise of impeachment.
Trump tweeted after the statement that nothing had changed from Mueller’s report.
“There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent,” Trump said. “The case is closed!”
Mueller’s final report described wide-ranging efforts by the Russian government to intercede in the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf but said investigators did not find sufficient evidence to establish a conspiracy with Trump’s campaign. Mueller made no decision on whether to press charges of obstruction of justice, despite detailing 10 episodes in which investigators said the president tried to thwart their work.
In his report and again Wednesday, Mueller framed that decision as being less about evidence than about the government’s rules for accusing the president of a crime. Justice Department policy “clearly permits the investigation of a sitting president because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents are available,” he said. “Among other things, the evidence could be used if there were co-conspirators who could now be charged.”
Mueller said that he would have nothing more to say on the subject, that the special counsel’s office was closing and that he was resigning from the Justice Department. If called to testify before Congress, he said, he would repeat only what was in his office’s final report.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Mueller “is moving on with his life, and everyone else should do the same.”
Some Democrats call for Trump’s impeachment, but House leaders have not joined them. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said 38 Democrats out of 238 in the House advocate impeachment, so six committees will continue to investigate Trump.
“We are legislating, we are investigating and we are litigating,” Pelosi said. “Nothing is off the table. But we do want to make such a compelling case, such an ironclad case, that even the Republican Senate, which at the time seems to be not an objective jury, will be convinced of the path that we have to take as a country.”
Other Democrats in the House were eager to take more aggressive steps.
Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., who sits on the Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday that the next step is to open an impeachment inquiry to allow the collection of evidence and compel the attendance of witnesses.
Jimmy Gurule, a former assistant attorney general who is a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, said Mueller left wide open the question of whether Trump obstructed justice. He questioned whether the special counsel delivering that assessment in person would do much to change the political calculus in Congress.
“I think the voice in the House is going to get louder. There are going to be more calls for impeachment,” Gurule said. “But I don’t think it’s going to change any Republican views.”
Attorney General William Barr, who consulted with other lawyers at the Justice Department, decided at the end of Mueller’s investigation that no obstruction charges were warranted. Barr was confirmed near the end of the inquiry that had been overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller. Barr has been criticized for his initial four-page summary of the report’s conclusions and for statements he made in releasing a redacted version of the report. Some of the criticism came in a letter in March from Mueller, who differed with the attorney general about Barr’s characterization of the special counsel’s principal findings.
Mueller acknowledged their differences but downplayed any lingering dispute: “I do not question the attorney general’s good faith in that decision.”
Barr defended his handling of the report before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., has been negotiating for Mueller’s testimony at a public hearing. Nadler said Wednesday in New York that Mueller’s statement provided much of the information lawmakers needed to hear about substantial evidence of a Russian attack that benefited Trump.
“The president’s response to repeatedly lie to the American people and ignore all congressional subpoenas is immoral and unlawful,” Nadler said. “No one is above the law, and we will hold the president accountable.”
In response to a question about impeachment, Nadler said, “All options are on the table, and nothing should be ruled out.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declared the Russia investigation “case closed.” The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Wednesday that Barr’s decision on obstruction was sound and that it would be the final word on the investigation.
Mueller said he couldn’t say anything more publicly than what is included in the report.
“The work speaks for itself,” Mueller said. “The report is my testimony.”
Mueller says he has nothing left to say on his inquiry. CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES
Special counsel Robert Mueller says he plans to leave the Justice Department. JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE
5/30/2019 $43M deal set for 3 miles of wall on border by John C. Moritz, USA TODAY NETWORK
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – About three miles of border wall in Starr County, Texas, is expected to begin construction in August under a $42.8 million contract announced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The project will take place on federally owned land and will be spearheaded by Kiewit Infrastructure West.
The barrier will be constructed with vertical steel bollards ranging from about 18 to 30 feet tall, the agency said.
It will not be a concrete wall, often described by President Donald Trump dating to his 2016 campaign.
The contract will be paid from money appropriated during the fiscal 2019 budget cycle, but it is not part of the national emergency declared by Trump in response to the surge of migrants arriving at the nation’s southern border.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam of California issued an order blocking the president from using $1 billion from the Defense Department budget for wall construction.
The order did not prevent the use of other federal funding sources for the wall project.
5/30/2019 WikiLeaks’ Assange too ill to appear via video link in U.S. extradition hearing by Michael Holden
FILE PHOTO: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange leaves Southwark Crown Court
after being sentenced in London, Britain, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo
LONDON (Reuters) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was too ill on Thursday to appear via video link from a British prison in a hearing on an extradition request from the United States, his lawyer said.
The United States is seeking the extradition of Assange, 47, who was dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London on April 11. He faces a total of 18 U.S. criminal counts and decades in prison if convicted.
“He’s in fact far from well,” Assange’s lawyer, Gareth Peirce, told Reuters.
Judge Emma Arbuthnot added at Westminster Magistrates’ Court: “He’s not very well.”
WikiLeaks said it had grave concerns about Assange’s health and that he had been moved to a health ward at London’s Belmarsh high-security prison.
“During the seven weeks in Belmarsh his health has continued to deteriorate and he has dramatically lost weight,” it added in a statement. “The decision of prison authorities to move him to the health ward speaks for itself.”
The next hearing on the extradition request was set for June 12.
Assange, who spent almost seven years holed up in cramped rooms at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, has repeatedly said he fears extradition to the United States.
His admirers hail him as a hero for exposing what they describe as abuse of power by modern states and for championing free speech.
His detractors paint him as a dangerous figure complicit in Russian efforts to undermine the West and U.S. security, and dispute that he is a journalist.
Earlier this month, he was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison by a British court for skipping bail after fleeing to the Ecuadorean embassy.
The United States has charged Assange with espionage, saying he unlawfully published the names of classified sources and conspired with and assisted ex-Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in obtaining access to classified information.
The U.S. Justice Department has said that by publishing their identities he jeopardized the lives of sources that included Afghans, Iraqis, journalists, religious leaders, human rights advocates and political dissidents from repressive regimes.
WikiLeaks angered Washington by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables that laid bare critical U.S. appraisals of world leaders, from Russian President Vladimir Putin to members of the Saudi royal family.
Assange made international headlines in 2010 when WikiLeaks published a classified U.S. military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.
(Editing by Stephen Addison)
5/30/2019 Pompeo says Iran attacked oil tankers to raise global oil price
FILE PHOTO - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during their
talks in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Russia, May 14, 2019. Pavel Golovkin/Pool via REUTERS
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday blamed Iran for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, saying it was an effort by Tehran to raise the global price of oil.
“These were efforts by the Iranians to raise the price of crude oil throughout the world,” Pompeo told reporters shortly before leaving on a trip to Europe.
He suggested he had seen evidence of Iran’s involvement cited earlier on Thursday by White House National Security Adviser John Bolton.
Speaking in London, Bolton said evidence that Iran was behind the attacks would be presented to the United Nations Security Council next week.
Asked if he had seen the evidence, Pompeo said: “Oh yes. Ambassador Bolton got it right.”
Arab leaders are meeting in the Saudi city of Mecca to discuss drone strikes on oil installations in Saudi Arabia and attacks on four vessels, including two Saudi tankers, off the UAE coast earlier this month.
Tehran has denied involvement.
U.S. envoy to Iran Brian Hook on Thursday warned that the United States will respond with military force if its interests are attacked by Iran.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Writing by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and James Dalgleish)
5/30/2019 Attorney General Barr believes Mueller could have reached conclusion on obstruction by OAN Newsroom
According to Attorney General William Barr, Robert Mueller could have reached a conclusion on obstruction of justice. Since Mueller failed to do so, Barr felt it was his duty to make that determination.
In a recent interview with CBS, Barr was asked if Mueller was really prevented from making a call on whether the president committed a crime by a Department of Justice policy, which says you cannot indict a sitting president.
Barr disagreed, saying Mueller could have determined whether the president obstructed justice.
“I personally felt he could have reached a decision…but when he didn’t make a decision, the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I felt it was necessary for us as the heads of the department to reach that decision,” he explained.
When asked if Mueller was telling Congress to look into the claims in his final report against the president, Barr said the Department of Justice does not use it’s powers to investigate for lawmakers.
5/30/2019 President Trump to make ‘major’ border announcement, plan could block migrants by OAN Newsroom
President Trump is considering a sweeping immigration plan, which would block Central American migrants from entering the U.S. While speaking to reporters Thursday as he departed for Colorado, the president said he will be making his ‘biggest statement ever’ about the border in the coming days.
This comes amid reports of a draft proposal circulating among White House advisers, which would prohibit migrants from seeking asylum if they have traveled through a country other than their own before coming to the U.S.
FILE – In this photo migrants walk at dawn as part of a new caravan of several hundred people sets off in hopes
of reaching the distant United States, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (AP Photo/Delmer Martinez, File)
The president called his upcoming announcement a “big league” statement:
“We have brought something to the light of the people, they see now it’s a national emergency and most people agree…no place in the world has what we have in terms of ridiculous immigration laws, so I will be making a major statement, I would say my biggest statement on the border.”
President Trump went on to say he is not closing the border as he previously threatened, but is doing something else. The reported move would effectively deny asylum to thousands of illegal immigrants waiting just south of the border in Mexico.
5/30/2019 VP Pence meets with Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau over USMCA trade deal by OAN Newsroom
Vice President Mike Pence visited Ottawa, Canada to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss trade.
Pence touted the talks in a tweet, saying he had a “productive discussion” with Trudeau and the members of the USMCA advisory council. According to the vice president, trade between the U.S. and Canada produced more than $714 billion in goods and services just last year.
“I want to assure the people of Canada that you’re prime minister drove a hard bargain as did our president, but we believe that could be a win, win, win agreement,” stated Pence. “And we think the USMCA, which will be the largest trade deal in the history of the United States, will create jobs and opportunities in our country…it will support growth in Canada and Mexico, and all across North America.”
The two leaders also discussed issues related to China and Venezuela during their meeting.
5/30/2019 Kellyanne Conway: I will not be silenced due to the Hatch Act by OAN Newsroom
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway is defending her right to weigh in on the 2020 election, following past reports of misconduct.
While speaking outside the White House Wednesday, Conway defended her freedom of speech. She said, “if you’re trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it’s not going to work.” Conway also said she has the right to talk about people’s records in reference to the 2020 presidential candidates.
Her statements are in response to an independent counsel’s finding back in March, which determined she violated a decades-old law during two interviews in 2017. Since the finding, Conway has refuted the claim and has called the violation “untrue” and “irrelevant.”br>
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway speaks to reporters outside the West Wing of the
White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
“The fact is I haven’t been found in violation of the Hatch Act based on the 2020 election,” she stated. “We’ve got outside groups who have political agendas trying to file actions against me…doesn’t make them true and it doesn’t make them relevant.”
The Hatch Act prevents federal officials from making partisan comments while on duty, which could sway an election.
Conway came under fire for this last year after reportedly appearing to advocate for Roy Moore in the 2017 Alabama Senate special election. However, the White House said she did nothing wrong.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence in his office on
Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday May 30, 2019. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)
5/31/2019 Oil down $2.22 to $56.59, DOW up 43 to 25,170.
5/31/2019 Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker Wilders says Twitter blocks his account
FILE PHOTO: Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders of the PVV party attends a news conference during a
European far-right leaders meeting in Prague, Czech Republic April 25, 2019. REUTERS/David W Cerny
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch far-right politician and anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders said on Friday that Twitter had temporarily blocked his account following remarks he made about a political rival.
Wilders, who cannot easily appear in public due to threats against him by Islamists, relies heavily on Twitter to communicate with his supporters. He has 811,000 followers, second only to Prime Minister Mark Rutte among Dutch politicians.
“Twitter often tolerates death threats against me, but not a factual tweet by me about a colleague. Madness!,” he said in a statement.
Twitter could not immediately be reached for comment. A spokesman for Wilders’ Freedom Party sent a screenshot of his account showing the ban, which was due to expire in around eight hours.
The tweet that led to Wilders’ block referred to D-66, a progressive center-left party as “suckers …who import ever more Islam and then weep crocodile tears over the consequences, such as honor killings.”
Wilders is currently appealing a 2016 conviction for inciting discrimination for an incident in which he led followers in chanting they wanted “fewer! fewer! fewer” Moroccans in the Netherlands.
(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and John Stonestreet)
[Don’t give the American Democrats any ideas as they would love to shut down Trump’s tweets, and it is not hard to see that the EU bigwigs are against anyone who is pushing anti-Islam which is swept under the rug as it is harming their freedoms. Don’t laugh about this as you may find yourself in the same condition in the near future if the Socialist Progressive Liberals take over the U.S.].
5/31/2019 Danish Muslims feel backlash as immigration becomes election issue by Stine Jacobsen
Tarek Ziad Hussein poses in downtown Copenhagen, Denmark, May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Growing numbers of Danish Muslims say they have faced verbal abuse, exclusion and hate crimes since mainstream political parties began adopting anti-immigrant policies previously the preserve of the far right.
The ruling center-right Liberal Party and the opposition Social Democrats both say a tough stance in immigration is needed to protect Denmark’s cherished welfare system and to integrate the migrants and refugees already in the country.
But Manilla Ghafuri, 26, who came to Denmark from Afghanistan in 2001 as a refugee, fears that anti-Muslim attitudes could harden further as the immigration debate heats up ahead of a general election on June 5.
“In 2015 I thought: ‘Wow, what’s happening?’ and I think it has got a lot worse over the last few years,” she told Reuters.
Ghafuri, who has more than once been told to go back to her “own country,” said she has been kicked out of a supermarket while shopping with her family. While she was working at a bakery a male customer refused to be served by her.
“I asked if I could help him, but he didn’t look at me at all. He just stood and waited for another girl who is an ethnic Danish girl,” said Ghafuri, who also works as a teacher and has a degree in Danish.
The number of immigrants from non-Western countries and their descendants who have experienced discrimination because of their ethnic background rose to 48% last year from 43% two years earlier, according to the National Integration Barometer.
“If people are ready and willing to be part of Danish society and want to contribute to it, then we invite them to become part of one of the best-functioning societies in the world,” said Mads Fuglede, the Liberal Party’s immigration spokesman.
“But we need to be able to discuss openly if there are problems with groups of people,” he said, citing the large number of immigrant women from the Middle East who have not found work in Denmark.
He did not see any connection between racist incidents and the tone of the immigration debate.
Tarek Ziad Hussein, 26, a Danish-born Muslim of Palestinian origin, has written a book about being Muslim in Denmark. He told Reuters he has received death threats.
“An environment has been created where you can say crazy things without too many people even raising an eyebrow,” said Hussein, who works as a lawyer.
“I and a lot of others from my generation feel that no matter what we do, we are not good enough in the eyes of society,” he added. “No matter how educated we are or how integrated we become, we are not good enough because of our skin color or our religion.”
The number of racially or religiously motivated hate crimes registered by Danish police jumped to 365 in 2017 from 228 the year before. That could be higher as not all cases are reported.
The Danish Institute For Human Rights has urged politicians to draw up plans to combat racism and hate crimes, especially against Muslims and Jews.
“The politicians are moving very close to the boundaries of human rights,” said Louise Holck, the institute’s deputy director.
Denmark’s 320,000 Muslims are about 5.5 percent of the population, a slightly higher proportion than in the rest of Europe, according to Danish and U.S. estimates.
The shift to the right by Denmark’s mainstream parties runs counter to outsiders’ traditional views of liberal Scandinavia, but has its parallels elsewhere in Europe, particularly since large numbers of migrants arrived there in 2015.
The immigration minister, Inger Stojberg, has meanwhile been criticized for celebrating her 50th piece of legislation tightening immigration laws with a big cake. A tracker http://uim.dk on the ministry’s website shows immigration law has been tightened 114 times under the present government.
Earlier this year, the government passed a law that would mean more refugees could be repatriated, the latest move to discourage non-western immigration.
The law was passed with support from the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party, a key ally of the minority government, and the Social Democrats, the country’s biggest party, which has hitherto had a softer stance on immigration.
It means residence permits for refugees will be temporary, there will be a limit on the number of family reunifications, and a cut in benefits for immigrants.
The law has been criticized by the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the United Nations refugee agency. Trade organizations and unions have warned that tight immigration policies could worsen labor shortages and put a brake on growth.
Fuglede of the Liberal Party said lower benefits would encourage people to work.
Around 43% of refugees who have lived in Denmark for more than 3 years were employed by the end of 2018, up from just 20% by the end of 2015. However, only 19% of women had jobs compared to 57% of men.
But while employment has risen, assimilation of immigrants has not always kept pace. More young men descended from non-western immigrants commit crimes than Danes, official figures show.
The Social Democrats declined to comment for this article because of a tight pre-election schedule, but they have repeatedly said they want to limit the number refugees.
“You are not a bad person, just because you are worried about immigration,” party leader Mette Frederiksen said earlier this month.
With the mainstream parties toughening up on immigration, Denmark’s biggest populist group, The Danish People’s Party (DF) has lost some of its appeal and opinion polls show it is likely to shed almost half of its voters in the election.
This is partly because voters are moving to the Social Democrats. DF also faces competition from far-right parties the New Right and Hard Line, the latter a new grouping that wants Islam banned and Muslims deported.
But even though the DF is losing voters fast, its impact on Danish politics is undeniable.
“They have completely changed the discussion and politics in Denmark over the past 20 years,” according to Rune Stubager, professor of political science at Aarhus University. “For the history books, this is definitely a big victory for them.”
(Reporting by Stine Jacobsen; Editing by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Giles Elgood)
5/31/2019 Trade wars tip oil toward biggest monthly drop in six months by Shadia Nasralla
FILE PHOTO: Pumpjacks are seen against the setting sun at the Daqing oil field in
Heilongjiang province, China December 7, 2018. Picture taken December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer
LONDON (Reuters) – Oil was on track for its biggest monthly drop in six months on Friday as U.S. President Donald Trump ramped up trade tensions, weighing on the demand outlook.
Brent futures are heading for an 11% slide in May and WTI for a 14% drop, their biggest monthly losses since November.
“No notice was taken of data that were positive for prices, whereas mildly disappointing figures put prices under considerable pressure,” Commerzbank analysts said.
“This selective reaction is typical of a climate of severe pessimism, as is the fact that market players are currently focusing only on demand worries while ignoring the fact that supply remains limited.”
Front-month Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $64.80 at 1342 GMT, down $2.07 from last session’s close.
>U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $54.93 per barrel, down $1.66 from their last settlement.
Both grades earlier hit their lowest since March 8.
U.S. President Donald Trump vowed on Thursday to slap tariffs on all goods from Mexico unless it stops illegal immigration, firing up fears over economic growth and appetite for oil.
“U.S. refiners import roughly 680,000 barrels per day of Mexican crude. The 5% tariff adds an extra $2 million to the cost of their daily purchases,” PVM analysts said.
The Mexico trade dispute adds to a trade war between the United States and China, which many analysts expect to trigger a recession.
China’s factory activity shrank more than expected in May, an official survey showed on Friday.
U.S. OUTPUT BACK TO RECORD
Crude prices have also been under pressure from a return in U.S. oil production to a record 12.3 million barrels per day, and a much smaller than expected decline in U.S. stockpiles.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said crude stocks fell by around 300,000 barrels last week.
That was much less than the 900,000-barrel decline analysts had forecast in a Reuters poll, and well below the 5.3 million-barrel drawdown seen by the API industry body.
Giving a floor to prices, top oil exporter Saudi Arabia’s increased output in May was not enough to compensate for lower Iranian exports, a Reuters survey found.
Washington will sanction any country that buys oil from Iran after the expiration of waivers on May 2, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said on Thursday.
The Wall Street Journal had reported earlier on Thursday that countries like China and India that were issued waivers in November to buy Iranian oil could continue the purchases after May 2 until they reached a negotiated cap.
A Reuters survey showed Brent crude prices are likely to hold near $70 a barrel for the remainder of the year as elevated supply risks in the Middle East offset risks to demand from the U.S.-China trade spat.
(Additional reporting by Colin Packham in SYDNEY and Henning Gloystein in SINGAPORE; Editing by Alexander Smith and David Evans)
5/31/2019 Pompeo tells Germany: Use Huawei and lose access to our data by David Brunnstrom
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shakes hands with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas
during a meeting at Villa Borsig guest house in Berlin, Germany, May 31, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
BERLIN (Reuters) – The United States raised the pressure on Western allies in a war of attrition over next-generation networks on Friday, saying countries that allow China’s Huawei to build their telecoms infrastructure could be cut off from crucial intelligence data.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued the warning after meeting Foreign Minister Heiko Maas of Germany, which has so far stood with Britain and France in declining calls to ban the state-owned manufacturer from the 5G networks now being built.
In the latest sign of escalating trans-Atlantic tensions over trade and security, Pompeo, on the first leg of a five-day European tour, said that while countries would take a “sovereign decision” on which equipment to use, that decision would have consequences.
“(There is) a risk we will have to change our behavior in light of the fact that we can’t permit data on private citizens or data on national security to go across networks that we don’t have confidence (in),” he told a news conference.
Pompeo later met Chancellor Angela Merkel for brief talks before flying on to Switzerland, describing Germany as “a great, important partner and ally of the United States.”
Merkel herself had just flown back from the United States the night before after delivering a speech to graduating Harvard students in which she exhorted them to “tear down walls of ignorance” and to stand for truth over lies – words widely interpreted as veiled criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump.
“The U.S. is and remains our most important partner outside Europe,” Merkel told reporters ahead of the meeting. “We have many issues to discuss, since the world is not at rest,” she added, mentioning the challenge of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and hindering Iran’s “aggressive actions.”
Pompeo urged close ally Britain this month not to use Huawei’s technology to build new 5G networks because of concerns it could be a vehicle for Chinese spying.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, responding to similar comments on Huawei made by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in Canada on Thursday, said the United States had yet to prove that Huawei’s products presented a security risk.
“We hope that the United States can stop these mistaken actions which are not at all commensurate with their status and position as a big country,” said spokesman Geng Shuang.
The United States is at odds with its German allies on a host of issues, from trade to military spending and nuclear non-proliferation.
Pompeo’s visit had been scheduled earlier this month, but was called off at the last minute as tensions rose over Iran. Berlin and Washington differ on the best approach to Iran over its nuclear program.
Under a 2015 nuclear agreement with major powers, which Washington withdrew from last year, Tehran accepted curbs on its uranium enrichment program in exchange for the removal of most international sanctions.
Iran’s decision this month to backtrack from some commitments under the accord – in response to U.S. measures to cripple its economy – threatens to unravel the deal.
The German Foreign Ministry said on its website: “Germany and the U.S. agree: For the security of the region, it is crucial that Iran does not come into possession of nuclear weapons.”
Maas stressed during his talks with Pompeo that “as long as Tehran adheres to the agreed rules, the agreement makes the region safer,” the ministry added. A German envoy seeking to preserve the nuclear deal visited Iran last week.
But in comments on Iran in an interview to run in German daily Bild on Saturday, Pompeo said: “We hope Germany does more … The (Iranian) regime is an expansionist theocracy. Free democracies have a duty to protect the world from this threat.”
Pompeo also took a swipe at the German government for failing to reach a NATO target of spending 2% of national income on defense, telling Bild: “The most serious consequence is in the hands of the German population.”
“The federal government has given the promise of 2% and the people should demand that the government keeps its promise,” he said in usually blunt comments towards a NATO ally.
(Reporting by Paul Carrel and Joseph Nasr in Berlin, Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Writing by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Frances Kerry and Stephen Powell)
5/31/2019 Trump admin. weighs in on crisis at southern border, tariffs on Mexico by OAN Newsroom
President Trump along with members of his administration and his reelection campaign are all weighing in on the crisis at southern border, including U.S. relations with Mexico. As the crisis at the border continues, the word from the White House is — it’s time for Mexico to do its part.
While speaking to reporters Friday, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the president’s number one responsibility is national security and protecting Americans.
“…we don’t know who’s coming in, and we can’t process them, and we’re being totally overrun,” she explained. “As we’re seeing, the numbers get worse and worse — the president has a constitutional obligation to step up and do something.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders talks to reporters outside the White House, Friday, May 31, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
In a series of tweets Friday, the president highlighted the situation with Mexico. He said the country has “taken advantage of the U.S. for decades” due to what he says are bad immigration laws as well as the actions of Democrat lawmakers. President Trump also said it’s time for Mexico “to finally do what must be done” in order to address the issues at the U.S.-Mexico border. Those issues include drugs, weapons and human trafficking as well as the surge of illegal immigration, which Mexico has the legal authority to stop.
The tariffs could be a tool to bring Mexico to the negotiating table, and help reduce the trade deficit between the two nations. President Trump said companies, including the auto industry, will leave Mexico and come back to the U.S. to avoid paying the tariffs, which he says would also help stop the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants into the U.S.
Trump tweet: “In order not to pay Tariffs, if they start rising, companies will leave Mexico, which has taken 30% of our Auto Industry, and come back home to the USA. Mexico must take back their country from the drug lords and cartels. The Tariff is about stopping drugs as well as illegals!”
The president also claimed 90-percent of the drugs coming into the U.S. do so through Mexico. He pointed out that thousands of people have died, and something needs to be done.
Trump tweet: “90% of the Drugs coming into the United States come through Mexico & our Southern Border. 80,000 people died last year, 1,000,000 people ruined. This has gone on for many years & nothing has been done about it. We have a 100 Billion Dollar Trade Deficit with Mexico. It’s time!”
President Donald Trump speaks during the 2019 United States Air Force Academy Graduation Ceremony
at Falcon Stadium, Thursday, May 30, 2019, in Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
5/31/2019 White House imposes 5% tariffs on all goods coming in from Mexico amid border crisis by OAN Newsroom
Vice President Mike Pence was in Canada Thursday, smoothing things over with America’s long-standing ally when he remarked on the crisis at the southern border. Pence is the highest ranking U.S. official to visit Ottowa since last year’s ongoing trade disputes. His visit comes as the White House seeks to advance a replacement to the North American Free Trade Agreement. The newly proposed deal has been dubbed the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement, or USMCA.
“By implementing the USMCA, that will add even more fuel to this expanding and booming American economy,” stated Pence. “And I was, I was heartened to hear the determination of our allies here in Canada to move through the legislative process…”
However, having Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on board only checks one of two boxes.
“The president is absolutely determined to use his authority to call on Congress and Mexico to do more for the humanitarian crisis at the Mexican border,” said Pence.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a joint news conference with Canadian
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa, Thursday, May 30, 2019. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP)
As promised, President Trump revealed his plan to levy a five-percent tariff on all goods crossing the border. He believes the measure will not only clear a roadblock for the trade deal, but also encourage Mexico to enforce laws sustaining the recent migrant surge.
In a tweet Thursday he wrote — “…the tariff will gradually increase until the illegal immigration problem is remedied.”
Trump tweet: “On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP. The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied,..”
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrado responded to the tax in a two-page letter, saying he wanted to avoid confrontation with the U.S. Lopez Obrado said the ‘America First’ policy is a fallacy, and said ideals such as “justice” and “universal brotherhood” are more important than borders.
“This president puts no higher priority than than the security of this country, than the ability of us to enforce our laws and secure our border,” stated Pence.
The vice president has been traveling for the past two-months, urging “congressional ratification.” The blanket tax is expected to go into effect June 10th.
This May 29, 2019 photo released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shows some of 1,036 migrants who crossed the U.S.-Mexico
border in El Paso, Texas, the largest that the Border Patrol says it has ever encountered. Video shows them going under a chain-link
fence to the U.S., where they waited for agents to come. The Border Patrol has encountered 180 groups of more than 100 people since
October, compared to 13 during the previous 12-month period and two the year before. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP)
5/31/2019 White House trade adviser urges investors to ‘calmly assess’ new tariffs on Mexico by OAN Newsroom
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro is encouraging investors to “calmly assess” the Trump administration’s new tariffs against Mexico. In an interview Friday, he attempted to calm fears about the impact the five-percent import duties will have on U.S. consumers and the economy.
Thursday’s tariff announcement came as a surprise to Wall Street, sending markets sharply lower as a result. However, Navarro said there should be “no surprise” that President Trump is taking a firm stance against Mexico.
A sign displays exchange rates on a storefront window in Mexico City, Mexico, Friday, May 31, 2019, a day after
President Trump announced a five-percent tariff — that could increase incrementally to 25% — on all Mexican imports. The economic
impact for Mexico was swift. The peso dropped more than 3% against the U.S. dollar by Friday morning. (AP Photo/Ginnette Riquelme)
“This is actually a brilliant move by the president to get Mexico’s attention to get them to help us, because, so far, they’ve just been standing by and they really have the power to help…the two institutions that have the power to help us is the Mexican government and the Congress,” explained Navarro. “Congress has done nothing, the Mexican government can really help us here — that’s what we’re really asking them to do.”
The U.S. trade adviser also said the tariffs have the potential to rise as high as 25-percent, unless Mexico makes substantial changes to stop the flow of illegal immigrants traveling through the country to the U.S.
5/31/2019 Jussie Smollett case files released, show officials knew of possible deal by OAN Newsroom
Released documents in the controversial Jussie Smollett case revealed prosecutors told Chicago Police about a deal being made a month before charges against the “Empire” actor were publicly dropped.
Lawyers representing media pushed the Cook County courts to reverse the decision to seal Smollett’s records to see what went on behind the scenes during the investigation. A judge approved the request to unseal the records this week, opening 460 pages of documents to the public.
“We applaud that order. This is about transparency and trust in the system, and we believe the public has a right to know what he government did here and why.” — Natalie Spears, media attorney.
FILE – In this March 26, 2019, file photo, actor Jussie Smollett waves as he leaves
Cook County Court after his charges were dropped in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
According to lawyers involved with unsealing the documents, Smollett’s files are simply a stepping stone to finding the truth behind state attorney Kim Foxx dropping the charges. Foxx wrote an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times stating she welcomed an investigation of her office. However, she has been fighting third-party investigation attempts from a retired Illinois Court of Appeals judge.
“Now the court file is open, and that’s a good first step, but more remains to be done because it’s not the court file that’s all important. It’s Ms. Foxx’s file and the decision making process into how this case was handled.” — Sheila O’Brien, retired judge.
Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Chicago Police, gave a statement, saying detectives did not originally pass the information on as they assumed the deal included Smollett admitting fault. The city of Chicago is suing Smollett for the money spent investigating what ended up being a false report by the “Empire” star.
[Maybe Chicago can regain some resemblance to a safe and secure justice system if justice is served.].
5/31/2019 Rep. Schiff: Attorney General Barr should never have been confirmed in first place by OAN Newsroom
Congressman Adam Schiff is doubling down on his calls for Attorney General William Barr to resign. While speaking at an event Thursday, the Democrat lawmaker said he believes Barr should never have been confirmed to the position in the first place.
The California representative then explained how Barr’s previous statements on Robert Mueller and the obstruction investigation should have disqualified him from the role.
When it came to the question of starting impeachment proceedings against President Trump, however, Schiff was more hesitant.
“Before we embark on something of this seriousness, I think the question is – is this the right thing for the country?” he asked. “And I’m not there yet, although the president seems to be doing everything in his power to get me there.”
Rep. Adam Schiff speaks at a conversation session with Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer
at Los Angeles Police Headquarters Thursday, May 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Schiff cautioned Democrats against starting the impeachment process only for the purpose of gathering information about the administration. He warned that the process would be “a wrenching experience for the whole country,” and it cannot be taken lightly.
[Schiff is getting desparate as the truth will be coming out and he will be busted for being the biggest leaker to the press and has no proof of any collusion as he promoted for two years and should not be the head of any committee.].
This page created on 5/1/2019, and updated each month by 5/30/2019.
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