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Ex-Trump attorney Dowd disputes Mueller report, says president never tried to oust special counsel

President Trump never said he wanted to “get rid” of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and instead cooperated fully with his investigation, according to one of the president’s former attorneys.

John Dowd, who served as a member of President Trump’s legal team from June 2017 until March 2018, discussed Trump’s approach to Mueller during an interview on “Fox & Friends” Monday.

Frequent media accounts prior to the release of the report suggested Trump tried to fire Mueller at times during the Russia investigation. The report itself said Trump told then-White House Counsel Don McGahn in June 2017 to tell the acting attorney general that Mueller “must be removed.” McGahn refused.

But asked on Monday when Trump said to fire Mueller, Dowd said: “He never did. I was there at the same time that the report says McGahn mentioned this, and I was assigned to deal with Mueller and briefed the president every day.

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“At no time did the president ever say, ‘you know, John, I’m going to get rid of him.’ It was the opposite.

“Here’s the message the president had for Bob Mueller, he told me to carry -- number one, you tell him I respect what he is doing; number two, you tell him he has my full cooperation; number three, get it done as quickly as possible; and number four, whatever else you need, let me know.

“That was always the message and that is exactly what we did.”

Dowd continued, saying he spoke to Mueller about the president’s frequent public criticism of the investigation.

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“I talked to Bob about that. I said, ‘do you understand what’s going on?’ and he said, ‘oh, it’s political, he has to do that for political reasons’.

“I said, ‘I tell you what, the president and I will make sure, we'll say publicly cooperate with Bob Mueller’ and we did early on. So that was it.”

Host Steve Doocy then asked Dowd about “the suggestion from the report that Don McGahn, the president's attorney, was told go out and fire him” Mueller.

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“I just I think there was a misunderstanding,” Dowd said.

“I just don't believe it. I think the president simply wanted McGahn to call Rosenstein, have him vetted, because the president believed Mueller did have some conflicts.”

Source: Fox News Politics

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U.S. existing home sales fall more than expected in March

A new apartment building housing construction site is seen in Los Angeles
FILE PHOTO: A new apartment building housing construction site is seen in Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 30, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

April 22, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. home sales fell more than expected in March, pointing to continued weakness in the housing market despite declining mortgage rates and slowing house price gains.

The National Association of Realtors said on Monday existing home sales dropped 4.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.21 million units last month. February’s sales pace was revised down to 5.48 million units from the previously reported 5.51 million units.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast existing home sales would fall 3.8 percent to a rate of 5.30 million units last month. Existing home sales, which make up about 90 percent of U.S. home sales, declined 5.4 percent from a year ago. That was the 13th straight year-on-year decrease in home sales.

Falling mortgage rates, strengthening wage growth and slowing house price inflation have improved affordability, but housing supply remains tight, especially at the lower end of the market as land and labor shortages are making it difficult for builders to ramp up construction in this market segment.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate has dropped from a peak of about 4.94 percent in November to around 4.12 percent, according to data from mortgage finance agency Freddie Mac. Wage growth is also strengthening.

A survey last week showed that while builders reported strong demand for new homes in April, they also complained about “affordability concerns stemming from a chronic shortage of construction workers and buildable lots.”

Last month, existing home sales fell in all four regions. There were 1.68 million previously owned homes on the market in March, up from 1.63 million in February. At March’s sales pace, it would take 3.9 months to exhaust the current inventory, up from 3.6 months in February.

A six-to-seven-month supply is viewed as a healthy balance between supply and demand. The median existing house price increased 3.8 percent from a year ago to $259,400 in March.

The Commerce Department reported last Friday that housing starts dropped to a rate of 1.139 million units in March, the lowest level since May 2017.

That was the second straight monthly drop in homebuilding and pushed starts substantially below the 1.5 million to 1.6 million units per month range that realtors estimate is needed to alleviate the shortage.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)

Source: OANN

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Terrorist attacks on Christians ‘happening more and more’: ex-FBI special agent

In the wake of the Easter Sunday massacre in Sri Lanka, radical Islamic terrorism is spreading beyond the Middle East and is "happening more and more," a counterterrorism expert told Fox News.

Bobby Chacon, a counterterrorism expert, told "Fox & Friends" Monday that violence on Christians on one of the holiest days of the calendar is nothing new, but claimed the deadly ideology behind the attacks is spreading.

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"It's another sign that the Middle East is not the sole source of these attacks and that we'll see more of these attacks in places where we've seen relative stability," Chacon said. "These countries need to get a grip on it."

His comments come after an attack, reportedly from the local militant group named National Thowheek Jaamath, killed nearly 300 and injured hundreds more to a church and several hotels in the Indian subcontinent. Police arrested 13 suspects in connection with the bombings.

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He added: "I would not be surprised if the investigation determines that there was significant assistance coming from groups outside that country to support an operation like this. It was a very coordinated, very planned - this small, local group in Sri Lanka, while it could have carried out an attack like this - I doubt that they did so without material support from outside."

The retired FBI special agent went on to claim there are a lot of attacks on Christians that are underreported.

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The Sri Lanka bombings came just days after ISIS claimed its first attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo that killed three Congolese soldiers and wounded five others. Officials reportedly found terrorist manuals on the bodies of the fighters.

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"In areas where there is already civil wars or certain civil dissent going on," Chacon concluded, "it's a hotbed for them to take advantage of the dissent that's already happening to spread their ideology."

Source: Fox News World

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Hispanic Vote Doubles in Florida, Key to 2020

The growth of Hispanic voters in Florida was double the rate of the entire electorate between the midterm elections of 2014 and 2018, with 1.3 million Latinos voting in the state last year compared to 748,000 four years earlier, the Miami Herald reported Monday.

This data, compiled by Univision and Political Data Inc., illustrates the increased importance Hispanics will have in 2020 in determining the swing state so vital to victory in the Electoral College.

The voter turnout rate among Hispanics rose significantly from 38.1 percent of such eligible voters in 2014 to 53.7 percent last year, with Latinos as the fastest-growing portion of the state's electorate heading into the 2020 election.

"This data demonstrates that our community, especially its younger members, played a crucial role in the 2018 election where the Senate seat and various congressional seats in Florida changed parties less than a year ago," Univision CEO Vincent Sadusky said, adding "we have no doubt Hispanic America will play a key role" in 2020.

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., focused heavily on Hispanics in his successful campaign last year, spending millions to run Spanish-language ads and emphasizing his visits to Puerto Rico.

Democratic pollster Fernand Amandi said Republicans did a better job of engaging the Latino community in the midterms, though he asserted it will be more difficult for President Donald Trump to duplicate that success in 2020.

But Amandi cautioned Democrats that Republicans did "an extraordinary job of actually engaging them and campaigning and making the case to that electorate. If the Republicans show up, and the Democrats don't, the Hispanic voter is likely going to go with the candidate that's there versus the candidate that's not there."

Source: NewsMax Politics

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Trump sues to block Democrats’ subpoena for financial information

Lawyers for President Trump on Monday sued to block a subpoena issued by members of Congress that sought the business magnate's financial records.

The complaint named Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Democratic chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Peter Kenny, the chief investigative counsel of the House committee, as its plaintiffs.

"We will not allow Congressional Presidential harassment to go unanswered," said Jay Sekulow, counsel to the president.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

Source: Fox News Politics

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Mali’s Keita names finance minister as new PM

Malian Minister of Economy and Finance Boubou Cisse speaks at panel on the security-development nexus during IMF spring meetings in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Malian Minister of Economy and Finance Boubou Cisse speaks at panel on the security-development nexus during IMF spring meetings in Washington, U.S., April 20, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

April 22, 2019

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita appointed finance minister Boubou Cisse as prime minister on Monday, days after the government resigned following pressure to respond to the vigilante massacre of about 160 Fulani herders which shocked the nation.

Mali’s former prime minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga and his government resigned last week after they came under fire for failing to disarm militias and beat back Islamist militants stoking the violence that led to the Fulani massacre.

“The President of the Republic has decided to name Doctor Boubou Cisse to the function of prime minister,” Keita’s office said in a statement on Monday.

Both Mali and neighboring Burkina Faso have been hit by the spike in hostilities fueled by Islamist militants seeking to extend their influence over the Sahel, an arid region between Africa’s northern Sahara desert and its southern savannas.

The militants have built on long-standing rivalries between communities to side with Fulani herders and boost their ranks, spurring a wave of inter-ethnic clashes that culminated with the killing of 157 Fulani villagers in March – bloody even by the recent standards of Mali’s ever-worsening violence.

The authorities have detained five people suspected of taking part in the massacre. But they have not yet succeeded in disarming the militia that many believe organized it, despite pledges by Maiga and Keita to do so.

Mali has been in turmoil since a rebellion by Tuaregs and allied jihadists took over half the country in 2012, prompting the French to intervene to push them back the following year.

The latest violence took place on Sunday, when unidentified gunmen raided an army base at dawn, killing 11 soldiers and burning the camp.

(Reporting by Fadima Kontao, Cheick Diouara and Tiemoko Diallo,; Writing by Sofia Christensen, editing by Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

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Trump sues to block subpoena for financial information

U.S. President Donald Trump travels to Mar-a-Lago
U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One as they travel to Florida for Easter weekend, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Al Drago

April 22, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday sued to block a subpoena issued by the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House Oversight Committee that sought information about his and his businesses’ finances.

“Chairman Cummings’ subpoena is invalid and unenforceable because it has no legitimate legislative purpose,” lawyers for Trump and the Trump Organization said in court filing.

(Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Tim Ahmann)

Source: OANN

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