Your Advertisement
Washington- Democrats taking control of the US House of Representatives in January plan to send Special Counsel Robert Mueller the transcripts of testimony by some of President Donald Trump’s closest associates so they can be reviewed for evidence and possible falsehoods said three sources familiar with the matter. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, son Donald Trump Jr, former advisers Roger Stone and Corey Lewandowski, personal aide Rhona Graff and former personal aides Hope Hicks and Keith Schiller all testified before the House Intelligence Committee while it was under control of its outgoing Republican majority. The sources said the transcripts of those interviews will be among those sent to Mueller’s team, which is investigating Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion by Trump’s campaign team. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, last week pleaded guilty to lying to two congressional committees about a proposed Trump Organization skyscraper in Moscow, including efforts to push ahead with the project even as Trump was running for president. That guilty plea triggered speculation that Democrats would push again to have the testimony of other Trump associates reviewed. At a House Intelligence Committee meeting in late September, Republicans rejected a proposal by Democrats that the full transcripts of interviews conducted by the committee during its own probe into allegations of Russian election interference be sent to Mueller and his team. Republicans did vote at that meeting to send 53 transcripts to the Director of National Intelligence for declassification and eventual release. So far, the committee has only made public the transcripts of interviews with three witnesses: former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, private military contractor Erik Prince, and Glenn Simpson, the founder of a research firm which hired a former British spy to produce a controversial dossier on alleged links between Trump and Russia. A spokesman for the committee’s incoming Democratic chairman, Representative Adam Schiff, said sending the transcripts to Mueller would not constitute a recommendation that criminal charges be brought, although that has also not been ruled out. “We do not foreclose the possibility of making a referral, but all we have decided is to provide the Special Counsel with the transcripts so that his team can evaluate them for evidence as well as potential perjury,” said the spokesman, Patrick Boland. In public statements, Schiff has singled out Roger Stone, who was an informal Trump campaign adviser, as someone who may have tried to mislead the committee. Two sources told Reuters that they expect Mueller’s office to examine the transcripts of the testimony from Stone as well as key Trump associates including Kushner and Donald Jr for possible falsehoods.
Dec 07 2018 | Posted in : | No Comment | read more...
Washington- Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor in charge of the Russia election meddling probe, recommended on Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn face no jail time due to his “substantial” cooperation with the investigation. Mueller said in a court filing that Flynn, who admitted last year to lying about his contacts with Russians following  Trump’s November 2016 election victory, had helped in his and other unspecified federal criminal investigations, including being interviewed 19 times. Mueller also told the Washington Federal court that despite his “serious” offense, the retired three-star general and former Pentagon intelligence chief had a strong record of military and public service. The surprise recommendation came ahead of Flynn’s upcoming sentencing, which had been postponed four times over the past year. Those postponements indicated that, once hostile to the investigation that threatens Trump and his inner circle, he had possibly become a valuable witness. “Given the defendant’s substantial assistance and other considerations set forth below, a sentence at the low end of the guideline range-including a sentence that does not impose a term of incarceration-is appropriate and warranted,” Mueller said in a memorandum to the court. Flynn’s was the first guilty plea secured by the Mueller investigation into alleged collusion between Trump’s election campaign and Russia. His position as a top-level insider in the campaign, accompanying Trump to key events, making a keynote speech at the July 2016 Republican convention, and then taking hold of the White House national security apparatus in Trump’s first weeks in office, made him a potentially extremely valuable witness. But many thought his own problems had likely compromised that value. In an interview with investigators on January 24, 2017, four days after Trump’s inauguration, Flynn lied about conversations he had the previous December with Russia’s ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak. In those conversations, apparently recorded by US intelligence, Flynn appeared to be trying to undermine the policy of then-President Barack Obama by making separate political deals with...
Dec 06 2018 | Posted in : | No Comment | read more...
Geneva-Switzerland’s Parliament on Wednesday elected the country’s hardline finance minister to serve in the largely symbolic position of President next year, and also picked two women to fill vacant ministerial spots. The choice of Ueli Maurer, a 68-year-old member of the populist rightwing Swiss People’s Party, came as no surprise as it was his turn among the seven members of the Swiss government to take on the rotating one-year presidency. Ueli Maurer, who previously served as defence minister, served as president once before in 2013. The Parliament picked Viola Amherd and Karin Keller-Sutter to fill two vacant ministerial spots, achieving near-gender equality in the cabinet. They join Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga in raising the number of women ministers to...
Dec 06 2018 | Posted in : | No Comment | read more...
Paris- French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe holds talks with party leaders on Monday as Paris scrambles to forge a response to violence by anti-government protesters that has left hundreds injured nationwide and caused widespread destruction around the capital. The talks follow a crisis meeting chaired by French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday as he surveyed the damage from a day of riots across Paris that saw violence “on a level not seen in decades.”  Philippe has been asked to meet protest organisers and party leaders as part of a “constant wish for dialogue,” the Elysee Palace said. Environment Minister Francois de Rugy met representatives of the so-called “yellow vest” protesters last week but failed to convince them to end the demonstrations that have taken place over the last two weeks. The government has not ruled out imposing a state of emergency to combat the protests, which began over fuel taxes but have morphed into a broad opposition front to Macron, 40, a pro-business centrist elected in May 2017. The president on Sunday assessed the damage at the Arc de Triomphe, the massive monument to France’s war dead at the top of the Champs-Elysees avenue, where rioters scrawled graffiti and ransacked the ticketing and reception areas. Inside, rioters smashed in the iconic face of a sculpture, a partial reproduction of the frieze “La Marseillaise” by Francois Rude. Macron also saw the wreckage of burnt-out cars and damaged buildings from rioting at other sites, where he praised the police but was also booed by sections of the crowd. Paris police said 412 people were arrested on Saturday during the worst clashes for years in the capital and 378 remained in custody. Paris police chief Michel Delpuech said the violence had been “on a level not seen in decades.” A total of 263 people were injured nationwide, including 133 in the capital, 23 of them members of the security forces. “I will never accept violence,” Macron said. “No cause justifies that authorities are attacked, that businesses are plundered, that passers-by or journalists are threatened or that the Arc du Triomphe is defiled.” The violence has caused deep concern in the French business community which claims it has already lost billions of euros, and representatives are set to attend a meeting at the economy ministry on Monday. “Our worst fears have been confirmed: this is the third consecutive weekend of (protest) blockades which amounts to a major loss for the whole business community,” Jacques Creyssel, representative of a federation of retail businesses, told AFP. Three people have died in incidents linked to the anti-government protests, which were sparked initially by a rise in taxes on diesel. In Paris on Sunday as groups of workers set about cleaning up the mess from the previous day, the scale of the destruction became clear. Around famous areas including the Champs-Elysees, the Louvre museum, the Opera and Place Vendome, smashed shop windows, broken glass and the occasional burnt-out car were testament to the violence. Dozens of cars were torched by the gangs of rioters, some of whom wore gas masks and ski goggles to lessen the effects of police tear gas. One person was in a critical condition after protesters pulled down one of the huge iron gates of the Tuileries garden by the Louvre, crushing several people. Nearly 190 fires were put out and six buildings were set alight, the interior ministry said. Graffiti was daubed at the Arc de Triomphe, with one slogan saying: “The yellow vests will win.”  Some 136,000 people joined demonstrations nationwide on Saturday, most of them peaceful, the interior ministry said. The figure was well below the first day of protests on November 17, which...
Dec 04 2018 | Posted in : | No Comment | read more...
Houston- George HW Bush is set to embark on his final tour of Washington, the capital city that is remembering the 41st President’s lifetime of public service that began in the Navy during World War II, ended with one term as President and was characterised throughout by what admirers say was his innate decency, generosity and kindness. In Texas, students, staff and visitors have been flocking to Bush’s presidential library on the campus of Texas A&M University, with thousands of mourners paying their respects at a weekend candlelight vigil at a nearby pond and others contributing to growing flower memorials at Bush statues at both the library and a park in downtown Houston. “I think he was one of the kindest, most generous men,” said Marge Frazier, who visited the downtown statue on Sunday while showing friends from California around. A similar outpouring is anticipated in Washington this week during the state funeral for Bush, who died late Friday at his home in Houston. He was 94. Bush, who was president from 1989 to 1993, will lie in state beneath the soaring US Capitol rotunda for a ceremony and public visitation from Monday through Wednesday. An invitation-only funeral service is set for Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are scheduled to attend. Bush’s family has not said who will speak at the service. Afterward, Bush will be returned to Houston to lie in repose at St Martin’s Episcopal Church before burial Thursday at his family plot on the library grounds. His final resting place will be alongside Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years who died in April, and Robin Bush, the daughter they lost to leukemia in 1953 at age 3. Bush’s casket is set to arrive in Washington on Monday afternoon aboard the US military airplane that’s more commonly recognised as Air Force One. The crew has been tasked by President Trump with carrying out “Special Air Mission 41.” The number is a reference to Bush’s place in the roster of America’s presidents. Former President George W Bush, the eldest of the four Bush sons, and his wife, Laura, along with brother Neil Bush and his family, will accompany their father’s body to Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, said family spokesman Jim McGrath. Other Bush family members are expected to be at the Maryland military base for the arrival. Retired Gen Colin Powell, who as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was Bush’s top military adviser, said Bush was the “perfect American” for serving his country in so many different capacities and should be remembered for “a life of quality, a life of honour, a life of honesty, a life of total concern for the American people.” “He was a patriot. He demonstrated that in war, he demonstrated that in peace. He was able to demonstrate that in his four years of service,” Powell said on ABC’s “This Week.” Trump has ordered the federal government closed Wednesday for a national day of mourning. Flags on public buildings are flying at half-staff for 30 days out of respect for Bush. Trump, who has not always uttered kind words about the Bush family, offered nothing but praise in the hours after the former president’s death was announced. “He was just a high-quality man who truly loved his family,” Bush said Saturday while in Argentina. “One thing that came through loud and clear, he was very proud of his family and very much loved his family. So he was a terrific guy and he’ll be missed.”              Bush’s passing puts him back in the Washington spotlight after more than two decades living the relatively low-key life of a former...
Dec 04 2018 | Posted in : | No Comment | read more...
Dhaka- Quashing the political ambitions of jailed former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, the Election Commission on Sunday rejected her nomination papers from three constituencies, citing her conviction in two corruption cases. The decision came four days after the High Court ruled that a person jailed for more than two years cannot contest. The 73-year-old is currently serving jail terms in two graft cases. Her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) boycotted the 2014 elections but has set up an alliance with the newly formed National Unity Front (NUF) led by eminent jurist Kamal Hossain.
Dec 03 2018 | Posted in : | No Comment | read more...
Jerusalem- The Israeli police on Sunday recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara for bribery and other offences, the third such move against the premier in recent months. Netanyahu immediately rejected the accusations, but the three cases against him have led to speculation that they could eventually force the long-serving prime minister to step down. The head of the opposition Labour party, Avi Gabbay, renewed his call for Netanyahu to resign after the latest recommendations were released. The attorney general will now decide whether to bring indictments in the case, which centres on regulatory benefits allegedly granted to telecommunications firm Bezeq in exchange for positive coverage from a related media company....
Dec 03 2018 | Posted in : | No Comment | read more...
Buenos Aires- The leaders of the United States, Mexico and Canada on Friday signed a new trade deal replacing the old NAFTA in a triumph for President Donald Trump who insisted on what he said were better conditions for US workers. “This is a model agreement that changes the trade landscape forever,” Trump said at the signing ceremony in Buenos Aires, on the sidelines of a summit between the leaders of the G20 countries. Trump said negotiating the deal known as the USMCA had seen the leaders take “a lot of barbs and a little abuse.” But he insisted that the “incredible milestone” would aid US workers, especially in the auto industry, while putting in place “intellectual property protection that will be the envy of nations all around the world.” Legislators from the three countries still have to approve the pact, officially known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), before it goes into effect and replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was less effusive about the renegotiated regional trade deal, but said the USMCA would resolve the threat of “serious economic uncertainty” that “would have gotten more damaging.” While praising the “historic” nature of the deal, Trudeau also told Trump that the progress gave “all the more reason why we need to keep working to remove the tariffs on steel and aluminium between our countries.” Mexican President Pena Nieto, on his last day in office, called the revamped version of NAFTA important in shoring up “the view of an integrated North America with the firm belief that together we are stronger and more competitive.”      For Trump-whose G20 diplomacy is overshadowed by legal troubles back home and his abrupt cancellation of a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin-the signing was a victory. He said he did not foresee a problem in getting congressional approval.  “It’s been so well reviewed I don’t expect to have very much of a problem,” he said. The USMCA “marks a critical step in modernising and rebalancing North American trade,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “The new agreement secures strong outcomes for farmers, ranchers, businesses, and workers across North America, including in areas such as auto manufacturing and intellectual property.”...
Dec 02 2018 | Posted in : | No Comment | read more...