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FILE PHOTO: The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney leaves after a news conference at the Bank of England in London
FILE PHOTO: The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney leaves after a news conference at the Bank of England in London, Britain February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Pool/File Photo

April 24, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is searching for a new governor of the Bank of England to succeed Mark Carney in early 2020.

Finance minister Philip Hammond is hoping that concerns about Brexit will not deter potential applicants.

Below are possible contenders to run the BoE which oversees the world’s fifth-biggest economy and its huge finance industry.

ANDREW BAILEY

The former deputy BoE governor was tipped by analysts as Carney’s most likely successor. But delays to the search, after Carney extended his time in London, have raised questions about whether Hammond sees him as the best candidate.

Bailey, 60, was deputy governor with a focus on banks before becoming chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, a markets regulator.

While at the BoE, Bailey helped to steer Britain’s banks through the global financial crisis.

Heading the FCA is fraught with risks. Lawmakers criticised Bailey for not publishing all of a report into alleged misconduct by bank RBS. Bailey cited privacy restrictions.

As FCA boss, Bailey sits on important panels at the BoE that oversee banks. Although he has never been interest-rate setter, he once ran the BoE international economic analysis team.

RAGHURAM RAJAN

Rajan, 56, headed the Reserve Bank of India from 2013 to 2016, and was chief economist at the International Monetary Fund between 2003 and 2006 when he warned of the risk of a financial crisis.

Now a professor at Chicago Booth business school, Rajan has published a book on dissatisfaction with markets and the state – touching on some of the underlying issues behind Brexit.

Rajan unexpectedly did not seek a renewal of his three-year term at the RBI, having faced hostility from some sections of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP party who disliked his less nationalist stance and brief forays into political territory.

Rajan declined to comment when asked by Reuters last week whether he would consider a return to active policymaking.

MINOUCHE SHAFIK

Egyptian-born Shafik, 57, was a BoE deputy governor between 2014 and 2017, in charge of markets and banking, including the central bank’s asset purchase programme. She quit the job early to become director of the London School of Economics.

Between 2008 and 2011 she was the top civil servant at Britain’s ministry for overseas aid and was then deputy managing director at the International Monetary Fund, where she represented the fund in the Greek debt crisis.

Shafik would become the first woman to head the BoE, and was only its second female deputy governor.

BEN BROADBENT AND DAVE RAMSDEN

Broadbent, 54, and Ramsden, 55, are deputy governors for monetary policy and for markets and banking respectively.

Broadbent, a former Goldman Sachs economist who trained as a classical pianist, is respected for his economic analysis but has less experience on banking oversight.

Ramsden was the Treasury’s chief economic advisor.

The two other BoE deputy governors, Jon Cunliffe and Sam Woods, are less likely contenders. Woods focuses mostly on financial regulation while Cunliffe – a former British ambassador to the European Union – would be aged 66 at the start of the term which usually runs for eight years.

SHRITI VADERA

Vadera, 56, has no central banking experience but is seen as a contender due to her current role as non-executive chairwoman of Santander UK, one of Britain’s biggest banks, and her time as a junior business minister during the financial crisis.

Vadera served as a minister from 2007 to 2009 after a career in investment banking and a period at the finance ministry.

In 2008, she was part of a small group of ministers and officials who devised a plan worth hundreds of billions of pounds in loan guarantees to keep high-street banks in business.

ANDY HALDANE

The BoE’s chief economist, Haldane has developed a reputation for floating unconventional ideas, including the possibility that music apps such as Spotify and multiplayer online games might give central bankers just as a good a sense of what is going on in the economy as traditional surveys.

In 2012, he praised the anti-capitalist Occupy movement for suggesting new ways to fix the shortcomings of global finance. Haldane has experience of both sides of the BoE, having served as executive director for financial stability, overseeing the risks to the economy from the banking system. But he might be seen as too much of a maverick to take the job of governor.

A LABOUR PARTY GOVERNOR?

The prospect of the left-wing Labour Party taking power has grown as Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to break the Brexit impasse.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his would-be finance minister John McDonnell are socialists and have in the past proposed that the BoE should fund investment in infrastructure, a big change from its current focus on inflation.

Former members of Labour’s economic advisory committee included U.S. academic and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz and Ann Pettifor, a British economist who is an austerity critic, and former BoE rate-setter David Blanchflower.

(Writing by William Schomberg and David Milliken, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A tugboat escorts French Navy frigate Vendemiaire on arrival for a goodwill visit at a port in Metro Manila
FILE PHOTO: Tugboat escorts French Navy frigate Vendemiaire on arrival for a 5-day goodwill visit at a port in Metro Manila, Philippines March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco/File Photo

April 24, 2019

By Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A French warship passed through the strategic Taiwan Strait this month, U.S. officials told Reuters, a rare voyage by a vessel of a European country that is likely to be welcomed by Washington but increase tensions with Beijing.

The passage is a sign that U.S. allies are increasingly asserting freedom of navigation in international waterways near China. It could open the door for other allies, such as Japan and Australia, to consider similar operations.

The French operation comes amid increasing tensions between the United States and China. Taiwan is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which also include a trade war, U.S. sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where the United States also conducts freedom of navigation patrols.

Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a French military vessel carried out the transit in the narrow waterway between China and Taiwan on April 6.

One of the officials identified the warship as the French frigate Vendemiaire and said it was shadowed by the Chinese military. The official was not aware of any previous French military passage through the Taiwan Strait.

The officials said that as a result of the passage, China notified France it was no longer invited to a naval parade to mark the 70 years since the founding of China’s Navy. Warships from India, Australia and several other nations participated.

Colonel Patrik Steiger, the spokesman for France’s military chief of staff, declined to comment on an operational mission.

The U.S. officials did not speculate on the purpose of the passage or whether it was designed to assert freedom of navigation.

MOUNTING TENSIONS

The French strait passage comes against the backdrop of increasingly regular passages by U.S. warships through the strategic waterway. Last month the United States sent Navy and Coast Guard ships through the Taiwan Strait.

The passages upset China, which claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory. Beijing has been ramping up pressure to assert its sovereignty over the island.

Chen Chung-chi, spokesman for Taiwan’s defense ministry, told Reuters by phone the strait is part of busy international waters and it is “a necessity” for vessels from all countries to transit through it. He said Taiwan’s defense ministry will continue to monitor movement of foreign vessels in the region.

There was no immediate comment from China’s foreign or defense ministries.

“This is an important development both because of the transit itself but also because it reflects a more geopolitical approach by France towards China and the broader Asia Pacific,” said Abraham Denmark, a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia.

The transit is a sign that countries like France are not only looking at China through the lens of trade but from a military standpoint as well, Denmark said.

Last month France and China signed deals worth billions of euros during a visit to Paris by Chinese President Xi Jinping. French President Emmanuel Macron wants to forge a united European front to confront Chinese advances in trade and technology.

“It is important to have other countries operating in Asia to demonstrate that this is just not a matter of competition between Washington and Beijing, that what China has been doing represents a broader challenge to a liberal international order,” Denmark, who is currently with the Woodrow Wilson Center think-tank in Washington, added.

Washington has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to help provide the democratically ruled island with the means to defend itself and is its main source of arms.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart in Washington; Additional reporting by Sophie Louet in Paris, Yimou Lee in Taipei and Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Matteo Salvini, Italy's Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the far-right League Party, speaks as he launches campaigning for the European elections
FILE PHOTO: Matteo Salvini, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the far-right League Party, speaks as he launches campaigning for the European elections, in Milan, Italy April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo/File Photo

April 24, 2019

By Giuseppe Fonte and Gavin Jones

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s government approved an economic growth plan in the early hours of Wednesday after a bad-tempered cabinet meeting that exposed divisions in the ruling coalition and fuelled speculation about a government collapse.

The infighting overshadowed media coverage of the “growth decree” which called for tax breaks and investment incentives and for simplified procedures for public tenders.

The ruling parties, the right-wing League and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, are feuding as they compete for votes ahead of European Parliament elections on May 26, stoking investor fears that the government could fall.

The government had presented the decree as a landmark in its efforts to kickstart Italian growth, which has lagged euro zone peers for two decades, but it instead served to underline an intensifying feud between the coalition partners’ leaders.

5-Star chief Luigi Di Maio showed up for the meeting more than an hour late, after using a TV appearance to call for a junior League minister to resign over a corruption scandal. League leader Matteo Salvini has refused to sack the minister.

“It’s official – there are two governments,” read the front-page headline in national daily newspaper La Repubblica.

Di Maio and Salvini repeatedly say they want the alliance to continue even as they attack each other on a range of issues, and they have shown no willingness to compromise over the future of the League official at the centre of the scandal.

Armando Siri, a transport ministry undersecretary and economic adviser to Salvini, has been put under investigation for allegedly accepting bribes to promote the interests of renewable energy firms. Siri denies any wrongdoing.

“I plan to govern for a full mandate and I have no intention of sending Italians to (early) elections,” Salvini told reporters on Wednesday.

He added that he would not push for a cabinet reshuffle to have more weight in government after the EU elections, where the League is likely to be the largest party, opinion polls suggest.

He said Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte – an academic who is from neither ruling party but is close to 5-Star – had not asked for Siri’s resignation. Shortly afterwards Conte said he would speak to Siri, without giving further details.

DEBT RELIEF CHANGE

The growth decree contained few surprises, though the dispute was reflected in a change to one of the decree’s major measures – debt relief for the municipality of Rome, which is run by 5-Star.

The decree was less generous than an original draft of the plan after criticism from the League.

Cabinet also broadened the scope of its plan to compensate savers hit by the country’s recent banking crisis, making the money available to those with an annual income of up to 35,000 euros ($39,000) or with assets of up 200,000 euros.

The asset test was raised from 100,000 euros in the original draft, but it later emerged the amended scheme with the higher threshold would be conditional on EU approval.

The decree also gave the green light for the government to potentially take an equity stake in any vehicle set up to rescue loss-making airline Alitalia. The government is desperate to save the carrier and avoid mass layoffs.

Italy last year unveiled a big-spending budget for 2019, rattling the euro and other financial markets, but it has so far had little impact on growth. The economy slipped into technical recession at the end of 2018 and is now barely expanding.

Italy, the euro zone’s second-most indebted nation after Greece, had public debts equalling 132.2 percent of GDP in 2018, up from 131.4 percent in 2017.

($1 = 0.8923 euros)

(Editing by Giselda Vagnoni, Mark Bendeich and Alison Williams)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: View of cranes at the container terminal at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah
FILE PHOTO: A view of cranes at the container terminal at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen January 5, 2019. REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad/File Photo

April 24, 2019

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister on Wednesday blamed Yemen’s Houthi movement for a stalled peace deal in the main port of Hodeidah, saying the Iran-aligned group was ignoring the kingdom’s call for a political solution to the four-year war.

Saudi Arabia is leading a Western-backed Sunni Muslim military coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to restore the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, which was ousted from power in the capital Sanaa by the Houthis in late 2014.

“They are ignoring our calls for a political solution to this crisis,” Prince Khalid bin Salman said at a security conference in Moscow, in his first comments on Yemen since becoming deputy defense minister in February.

The warring parties reached a deal at U.N.-sponsored talks in Sweden in December for a ceasefire and troop withdrawal from the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, a lifeline for millions of people.

The Houthis say they are ready to implement the Hodeidah deal, but that the other side is obstructing it.

The truce has largely held but the redeployment of forces has stalled with each side blaming the other for impeding the pact, the first major breakthrough in peace efforts in over four years aimed at paving the way for political negotiations.

Prince Khalid, a son of King Salman and a full younger brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, accused regional rival Iran of trying “to seize the Yemeni state” by supporting the Houthis, who control Hodeidah and most urban centers in Yemen.

The Houthis deny being puppets of Iran and say their revolution is against corruption.

The conflict, which has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed the poorest Arabian Peninsula nation to the brink of famine, is largely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and its arch foe Shi’ite Muslim Iran.

The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a database tracking violence in Yemen, last week said around 70,000 people have been reported killed since the start of 2016.

Western nations, some of which supply arms and intelligence to the alliance, have increased pressure on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to end the conflict following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October at the hands of Saudi agents at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.

(Writing by Lisa Barrington; Additional reporting by Tuqa Khalid; Editing by Alison Williams)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Matteo Salvini, Italy's Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the far-right League Party, speaks as he launches campaigning for the European elections
FILE PHOTO: Matteo Salvini, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the far-right League Party, speaks as he launches campaigning for the European elections, in Milan, Italy April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo/File Photo

April 24, 2019

MILAN (Reuters) – Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini sought on Wednesday to douse speculation of a government collapse and early general elections, saying he wanted to govern for a full term.

The two ruling parties, Salvini’s right-wing League and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, are feuding as they compete for votes ahead of European Parliament elections on May 26, stoking investor fears that the government could fall.

(Reporting by Angelo Amante; Editing by Mark Bendeich)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: People walk past a flower arrangement set up to mark the upcoming Belt and Road Forum in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: People walk past a flower arrangement set up to mark the upcoming Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

April 24, 2019

By Brenda Goh and Michael Martina

BEIJING (Reuters) – China is expected to promote a recalibrated version of its Belt and Road initiative at a summit of heads of state this week in Beijing, seeking to allay criticism that its flagship infrastructure policy fuels indebtedness and lacks transparency.

The policy championed by Chinese President Xi Jinping has become mired in controversy, with some partner nations bemoaning the high cost of projects. Western governments have tended to view it as a means to spread Chinese influence abroad, saddling poor countries with unsustainable debt.

While most of the initiative’s projects are ongoing, some have been caught up by changes in government in countries such as Malaysia and the Maldives. Projects that have been shelved for financial reasons include a power plant in Pakistan and an airport in Sierra Leone, and Beijing has in recent months had to rebuff critics by saying that not one country has been burdened with so-called “debt traps”.

Xi launched the Belt and Road initiative in 2013, and according to data from Refinitiv https://apac1.apps.cp.extranet.thomsonreuters.biz/Apps/BRI, the total value of projects in the scheme is at $3.67 trillion, spanning countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceania and South America.

A draft communique seen by Reuters said that 37 world leaders attending the April 25-27 summit will agree to project financing that respects global debt goals and promotes green growth.

Visiting leaders will be headlined by Russia’s Vladimir Putin, as well as Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan, a close China ally and among the biggest recipients of Belt and Road investment, and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy, which recently became the first G7 country to sign on to the initiative.

The United States, which has not joined the Belt and Road, is expected to send only a lower-level delegation, and nobody from Washington.

Some Belt and Road projects “are going through a period of rationalization and evaluation,” said Li Lifan, deputy director general of the Centre for Belt and Road Initiative Studies at the government-backed Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

The summit “will be a time for reflection and to talk about the hopes for the future,” he told Reuters.

RHETORIC SHIFT

Industry insiders and diplomats say that there has been a shift in the way Beijing has been pushing Belt and Road overseas since the first such summit two years ago.

“The political part is handled by the foreign ministry now, not the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC),” said a senior Western diplomat in China, referring to the country’s state planner which drafted the initiative’s official outline in 2015. That shift occurred last year, he said.

Other analysts said there was a noticeable change in China’s overseas efforts to market the policy in the second half of 2018. In an unusual move, at least 10 of China’s ambassadors and diplomats in countries such as Mexico and Kenya published letters in local media outlets to defend the initiative.

Wu Ken, China’s new ambassador in Germany, acknowledged in his first speech on the job that there were “deep doubts” about Belt and Road.

“I hope relevant people can overcome the ‘allergies’ they have towards the Belt and Road as soon as possible so China and Germany can cooperate to jointly tap the benefits from it,” he said earlier this month.

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, a confidant of Chancellor Angela Merkel, will attend the summit.

William Klein, minister counselor for political affairs at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, told a forum earlier this month that the United States continued to have concerns about the Belt and Road.

“These concerns, for example, are opaque financing practices, poor governance and a failure to adhere to internationally accepted norms and standards.”

Andrew Davenport, chief operating officer at Washington-based consultancy RWR Advisory, which has been tracking Belt and Road investment, said China has become more reactive in its positioning of the initiative since the last forum.

“It’s relatively clear that the Belt and Road narrative being put forward by Beijing over the past several months is designed to counter the criticism and push back,” he said.

SUBDUED

While the number of foreign leaders due at the summit is up from 29 last time, the run-up to the event has been subdued compared with the 2017 meeting.

Two years ago, the weeks before the summit’s opening day were marked by a series of music and explanatory videos published by state media to advertise the Belt and Road initiative while the government announced the dates publicly roughly a month before.

There has been no such media blitz this year besides a handful of documentaries and advertisements, and Beijing only confirmed the dates last Friday, less than a week before the opening.

In events held to talk about Belt and Road before the summit, Chinese officials stressed that the initiative remained a “win-win” and an attractive opportunity for countries willing to become partners.

On Monday, NDRC official Xiao Weiming told a media briefing that Chinese companies had invested $90 billion in countries benefiting from Belt and Road and handed out between $200 billion-300 billion worth of loans between 2013 and 2018.

“The Belt and Road initiative is an open and inclusive idea,” he said. “As long as any country is willing to work with China, we will all have gardens along the Belt and Road.”

(Reporting by Brenda Goh and Michael Martina; Additional reporting by Cate Cadell and Ben Blanchard in Beijing, and John Ruwitch and Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Tony Munroe and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: White House Counsel McGahn listens to U.S. President Trump hold a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington
FILE PHOTO: White House Counsel Don McGahn sits behind U.S. President Donald Trump as the president holds a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

April 24, 2019

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Donald McGahn, the former White House counsel described in the Mueller report as repeatedly standing up to President Donald Trump, could become a star witness again if congressional Democrats get their way in their investigation of whether Trump used his office to obstruct justice.

Since the April 18 release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and any ties to Republican Trump’s campaign, Democrats have seen McGahn as someone who could be as important as Mueller himself, according to a source familiar with the matter.

But the Democrats are likely to face Trump’s resistance. The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the White House planned to oppose a subpoena by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee for McGahn to testify.

Mueller’s 448-page partially blacked out report portrayed McGahn as one of the few figures in Trump’s orbit to challenge him when he tried to shut down the investigation that has clouded his more than two years in the White House.

“Mr. McGahn has been touted as a man of integrity and he is a major witness in the Mueller report,” said Sheila Jackson Lee, a member of the judiciary committee.

The White House did not immediately comment on the Washington Post report, which said Trump will claim executive privilege, a legal doctrine allowing the president to withhold information about internal executive branch deliberations from other branches of government.

McGahn’s attorney, William Burck, did not respond to requests for comment.

Democrats are particularly interested in hearing McGahn describe in his own words and in Congress an account in the Mueller report in which McGahn refused Trump’s instructions.

In June 2017 Trump called McGahn to say he should tell Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to remove the special counsel because he had conflicts of interest, the report said.

Trump also failed to get McGahn to dispute media reports that the president tried to fire Mueller, the report said.

“That, in itself, could be an obstruction of justice, as Mr. McGahn would be able to testify – that he was asked to do it and then asked not to tell anyone what he’d been asked to do,” Lee said.

Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, who has subpoenaed the U.S. Department of Justice to provide the unredacted Mueller report and underlying evidence, issued a subpoena on Monday for McGahn to provide the committee with documents by May 7 and testify on May 21.

But it was not clear that McGahn would comply, especially if the White House asserts executive privilege. Nor could Democrats predict how much the former White House counsel would be willing to discuss, even if he does testify.

On Tuesday evening, Nadler said, “The moment for the White House to assert some privilege to prevent this testimony from being heard has long since passed.”

The House of Representatives has the sole power under the U.S. Constitution to impeach the president, and any effort would be led by the judiciary panel.

Mueller’s report concluded that there was not enough evidence to establish that Trump’s campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Moscow. However, the report outlined multiple instances where Trump tried to thwart Mueller’s probe.

Mueller stopped short of concluding whether Trump could be prosecuted for obstruction of justice, a criminal charge that requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

But such a high standard would not apply to Democrats if they decided to bring impeachment proceedings.

In the days following the Mueller report’s release, McGahn came under attack from Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph Giuliani who called into question the veracity of his statements to Mueller’s team of prosecutors.

“I would ask which of the three versions is McGahn standing by. There are three versions he gives of that account,” Giuliani told CNN over the weekend. “I’m telling you, he’s confused.”

A prominent elections lawyer, McGahn served as Trump’s campaign counsel before being named White House counsel in November 2016.

He played a pivotal role in helping Trump reshape the federal judiciary in a conservative direction and roll back regulations on a range of industries.

(Reporting by David Morgan, Karen Freifeld and Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Grant McCool)

Source: OANN

President Donald Trump is not worried “at all” about the talk of impeachment proceedings, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley insisted Tuesday.

“I was standing right next to him actually, [Monday] at the Easter Egg Roll,” Gidley told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.” “A question was shouted out about impeachment and he said he wasn’t worried at all, not in the least, because there’s nothing to worry about when you’ve done nothing wrong.”

However, many of the Democrats calling for his impeachment are presidential nominees, Gidley said, but there is “no crime.”

“The president hasn’t done anything criminally wrong, and they are still trying to attack this president,” Gidley said. “They don’t want to get to the truth. They want to get to the president, and he has done nothing wrong.”

Further, Gidley said, after special counsel Robert Mueller’s report was released, “we now know there is no collusion with a foreign power. We know there is no obstruction. He wasn’t prosecuted for anything.”

In addition, there were no further indictments, Gidley said, “despite Democrats saying for two years that this president committed treason without proof or evidence and they’re continuing to double down.”

If Democrats backed down on their claims against the president, “they would be admitting the last two years of their life was a complete and total waste of time,” Gidley said.

He added “Democrats like [Rep.] Jerry Nadler [D-N.Y.] continue to attack this president and attack members of this administration repeatedly.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

A former official, who oversaw the security clearance process, has been told by the White House not to comply with a House subpoena ordering him to testify, CNN is reporting.

Carl Kline, who now works at the Defense Department, had been subpoenaed to give a deposition by the House Oversight Committee. White House officials maintain Democrats on the committee were trying to gain access to confidential information.

In a letter to Kline’s lawyer, White House deputy counsel Michael Purpura asked that Kline not show up to the committee as requested, according to The Washington Post.

Purpura wrote that the committee subpoena “unconstitutionally encroaches on fundamental executive branch interests.”

And in a letter to the committee, Kline’s attorney, Robert Driscoll said: “With two masters from two equal branches of government, we will follow the instructions of the one that employs him,” Driscoll wrote in the letter to the committee chairman.

Tricia Newbold, a White House personnel security whistleblower, has claimed the administration had been recklessly granting security clearances to some individuals, the Post said.  Included in those clearances she questioned, was one granted to Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, the newspaper noted.

CNN said the failure of Kline to appear before the committee, will leave open the possibility that the House panel could try to hold him in contempt for ignoring the subpoena.

Source: NewsMax Politics

J.W. Verret, who served as deputy director of economic policy for the Donald Trump pre-transition team, said it is time to start impeachment proceedings.

Verret, a professor of law at George Mason University, made his comments in a column posted by The Atlantic. He worked on the Trump team from Aug.-Oct. 2016.

“I wanted to share my experience transitioning from Trump team member to pragmatist about Trump to advocate for his impeachment, because I think many other Republicans are starting a similar transition,” he said. “Politics is a team sport, and if you actively work within a political party, there is some expectation that you will follow orders and rally behind the leader, even when you disagree.

“There is a point, though, at which that expectation turns from a mix of loyalty and pragmatism into something more sinister, a blind devotion that serves to enable criminal conduct.”

He said the report by special counsel Robert Mueller was the tipping point for him.

“Depending on how you count, roughly a dozen separate instances of obstruction of justice are contained in the Mueller report,” he said.  “The president dangled pardons in front of witnesses to encourage them to lie to the special counsel, and directly ordered people to lie to throw the special counsel off the scent.

“This elaborate pattern of obstruction may have successfully impeded the Mueller investigation from uncovering a conspiracy to commit more serious crimes. At a minimum, there’s enough here to get the impeachment process started.”

Source: NewsMax Politics


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