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#Left divided on #impeachTrump & New details in #SriLanka #EasterSunday bombings as death toll rises via #MagaFirstNews with @PeterBoykin NEW DETAILS IN SRI LANKA BOMBINGS EMERGE AS DEATH TOLL RISES: The series of bombings that ripped through churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday and left at least 290 people dead and more than 500 people wounded were carried out by seven suicide bombers and investigators are examining reports that intelligence agencies had warnings of possible See More attacks, according to the Associated Press …  No one has taken responsibility for the bombings. Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardena described the blasts as a terrorist attack by religious extremists, and police said 13 suspects had been arrested. The identities of some victims of the Easter massacres in Sri Lanka emerged Sunday evening — including a British mother and her 11-year-old son, along with a TV chef, Shantha Mayadunne, and her daughter, Nisanga. Most of those killed were Sri Lankans. However, the U.S. said “several” Americans were among the dead, while Britain and China said they, too, lost citizens. U.S. State Department warns of possibility of more attacks in Sri Lanka BUZZFEED EDITOR TAKES SRI LANKA SHOT AT TRUMP: A BuzzFeed News world editor faced backlash Sunday for taking a swipe at President Trump while tweeting an article about the attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter …”Suspect we’d be hearing a lot more outrage from Trump and co. if the Christians killed in Sri Lanka were white,” Miriam Elder tweeted with a link to BuzzFeed News. Elder’s tweet had received more 6,000 replies, 179 retweets and 423 likes as of early Monday morning. Many of the commenters asked why the BuzzFeed News world editor would politicize the terrorist attacks. When contacted by Fox News, BuzzFeed News responded: “No comment from us.” Trump on Easter morning offered condolences to the people of Sri Lanka, tweeting, “We stand ready to help!” DEMS DIVIDED ON COLLUSION, SEEKING TRUMP IMPEACHMENT: Leading Democrats appeared divided whether to pursue impeachment against President Trump after last week’s release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report, which found no evidence of collusion and did not draw a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice … Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., chair of the House Oversight Committee, signaled that Democrats are not yet concerned about the possibility of “Russia fatigue” and warned ominously on Sunday that “the Russians aren’t getting tired” and are “attacking our electoral system every single day.” Cummings previewed new lines of investigation against Trump and said it might be necessary to hear testimony from former White House Counsel Don McGahn and Mueller himself. In addition, Cummings neither fully endorsed, not rejected the idea of pursuing impeachment against Trump. 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren and freshman Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. have all called for impeachment. But other Democrats, including Maryland House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and 2020 presidential candidates Reps. Tim Ryan and Tulsi Gabbard have also said impeachment proceedings would be premature or misguided. (Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, weighed in on the prospects of impeaching Trump and more on “Fox News Sunday.” Click on the video above to watch the full interview.) Meanwhile, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-NY, argued on Sunday that, despite Mueller deciding not to charge President Trump with obstruction of justice, he believes there is still plenty of evidence of obstruction and wondered why Donald Trump Jr. isn’t facing charges for the infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russian operatives in June 2016. REPORT: U.S TO SANCTION FIVE NATIONS OVER IRANIAN OIL – The Trump administration is set to inform five nations that they will no longer be exempt from U.S. sanctions if they continue to import oil from Iran, reports said Sunday … Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to announce the policy move on Monday, which would no longer renew sanctions waivers for allies Japan, South Korea, and Turkey. The other countries no longer exempt are China and India. The waivers for sanctions will expire on May 2. The Washington Post first reported on the move, and three sources confirmed the report to the Associated Press. AOC FACING EARLY RE-ELECTION CHALLENGE: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ssurging national profile has inspired a trio of Republican opponents from her home district— along with a multimillionaire mystery donor who could help close the gap in her foes’ long-shot race against her … Just three months after taking office, the Democratic socialist congresswoman’s challengers include an Egyptian American journalist, who has already tossed her hat in the ring, and an NYPD cop-turned-high-school-civics teacher and conservative talk-radio producer, both of whom are seriously exploring a run against her. And the fledgling challengers could get help from a wealthy New Yorker committed to backing an Ocasio-Cortez opponent, the New York Post reports.

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WASHINGTON — It may not have been his intention, but special counsel Robert Mueller has forced a momentous choice on the Democrats who control the House of Representatives. How they navigate the next several months will matter not only to politics but, more importantly, to whether the rule of law prevails.

If we lived in a normal time with a normal president, a normal Republican Party and a normal attorney general, none of this would be so difficult. Mueller’s report is devastating. It portrays a lying, lawless president who pressured aides to obstruct the probe and was happy — “Russia, if you’re listening … ” — to win office with the help of a hostile foreign power. It also, by the way, shows him to be weak and hapless. His aides ignored his orders, and he regularly pandered to a Russian dictator.

Mueller’s catalogue of infamy might have led Republicans of another day to say: Enough. But the GOP’s new standard seems to be that a president is great as long as he’s unindicted.

And never mind that the failure to charge Donald Trump stemmed not from his innocence but from a Justice Department legal opinion saying that a sitting president can’t be indicted. Mueller explained he had “fairness concerns” — a truly charming qualm in light of the thuggishness described in the rest of the report — because the no-indictment rule meant there could be no trial. The president would lack an “adversarial opportunity for public name-clearing before an impartial adjudicator.”

And perhaps Mueller did not reckon with an attorney general so eager to become the president’s personal lawyer and chief propagandist. William Barr sat on the document for 27 days and mischaracterized it in his March 24 letter. He mischaracterized it again just an hour before it was released.

This leaves Democrats furious — and on their own. Unfortunately, it is not news that this party has a nasty habit of dividing into hostile camps. On the one side, the cautious; on the other side, the aggressive. The prudent ones say that members of the hit-for-the-fences crowd don’t understand the political constraints. The pugnacious ones say their circumspect colleagues are timid sellouts.

Sometimes these fights are relatively harmless, but not this time. Holding Trump accountable for behavior that makes Richard Nixon look like George Washington matters, for the present, and for the future.

Those demanding impeachment are right to say that Mueller’s report can’t just be filed away and ignored. But being tough and determined is not enough. The House also needs to be sober and responsible.

This needle needs to be threaded not just for show, or for narrow electoral reasons. Trump and Barr have begun a battle for the minds and hearts of that small number of Americans who are not already locked into their positions. Barr’s calculated sloth in making the report public gave the president and his AG side-kick an opportunity to pre-shape how its findings would be received. The uncommitted now need to see the full horror of what Mueller revealed about this president. A resolute but deliberate approach is more likely to persuade them.

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joins her caucus on a conference call on Monday, she will reiterate her “one step at a time” strategy. The bottom line is that rushing into impeachment and ruling it out are equally foolish. What this means is that the House Judiciary, Intelligence, and Oversight and Reform Committees should and will begin inquiries immediately. Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler took the first step on Friday by subpoenaing the full, unredacted Mueller report. Mueller himself has already been asked to appear before both Judiciary and Intelligence.

Nothing is gained by labelling these initial hearings and document-requests as part of an “impeachment” process. But impeachment should remain on the table. Since Trump and Barr will resist all accountability, preserving the right to take formal steps toward impeachment will strengthen the Democrats’ legal arguments that they have a right to information that Trump would prefer to deep six.

Of course, Trump is not the only issue in politics. Democratic presidential candidates are already out there focusing on health care, climate, economic justice and political reform. The House can continue other work while the investigators do their jobs.

In an ideal world, the corruption and deceitfulness Mueller catalogued would already have Trump flying off to one of his golf resorts for good. But we do not live in such a world. Defending democratic values and republican government requires fearlessness. It also takes patience.

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton is the latest Democrat to jump in the race for the White House.

The Massachusetts lawmaker and Iraq War veteran made the announcement on his website Monday.

Moulton first came to prominence in 2014 when he unseated long-term incumbent Rep. John Tierney in a Democrat primary and went on to represent the state’s 6th Congressional District, a swath of communities north of Boston including Salem, home of the infamous colonial-era witch trials.

Speculation about a possible Moulton run has been simmering as far back as 2017 when he spoke at a Democrat political rally in Iowa, home of the first-the-the-nation presidential caucuses. At the time he brushed aside talk of a presidential run.

Talk of possible run ramped up during last year’s election when the former U.S. Marine helped lead an effort to get other Democrat military veterans to run for Congress — a cause he continues to push.

“16 years ago today, leaders in Washington sent me and my friends to fight in a war based on lies. It’s still going on today,” Moulton said in a recent tweet. “It’s time for the generation that fought in Iraq to take over for the generation that sent us there.”

The 40-year-old Moulton also gained national attention for helping lead an effort within the party to reject Nancy Pelosi as House speaker after Democrats regained control of the chamber. Moulton said it was time for new leadership.

Moulton has also been a frequent critic of President Donald Trump — from foreign policy, including Trump’s recent veto of a resolution to end U.S. military assistance in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, to his push for a wall at the southern border.

And when Trump claimed to be the target of the “single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history,” Moulton responded that “as the Representative of Salem, MA, I can confirm that this is false.”

Despite occasionally differing with some on the most liberal wing of the party, Moulton has staked out familiar policy positions for those seeking the Democrat presidential nomination.

He’s called health care “a right every American must be guaranteed,” pushed to toughen gun laws, was a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, has championed a federal “Green Corps” modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, and has called for an end to the Electoral College.

Money could prove a challenge to Moulton, who has raised $255,000 so far this year and had about $723,000 in his campaign account as of the end of March.

Moulton is now the third political figure from Massachusetts to take a stab at a White House run. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren — a Democrat — and former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld — a Republican — are also running.

Source: NewsMax Politics

U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton speaks at a Merrimack County Democrats Summer Social in Bow
U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) speaks at a Merrimack County Democrats Summer Social at the Swett home in Bow, New Hampshire, U.S., July 28, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

April 22, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Seth Moulton, an Iraq War veteran and Democratic congressman from Massachusetts, entered the 2020 presidential nomination contest on Monday, swelling the ranks of declared contenders to almost 20, according to an NBC news report.

He enters the race as an underdog, with little national name recognition and a shorter track record than some of his opponents who have spent years in the U.S. Senate or as state governors.

But Moulton, 40, has already built a political career driven by challenging the party’s establishment.

First elected to Congress in 2014, he won the seat after mounting a primary challenge against John Tierney, a fellow Democrat who had held the seat for 18 years.

After Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, Moulton led an unsuccessful effort to remove Nancy Pelosi as the party’s leader in the chamber.

“Tough conversations make us stronger, not weaker, and we need to keep having them if we’re going to deliver on the change that we’ve promised the American people,” Moulton said in a statement announcing the end of his opposition to Pelosi.

Moulton served in the Marines from 2001 to 2008. During his 2014 congressional bid, he became a vocal critic of the Iraq War in which he served, saying no more troops should be deployed to the country.

He also has advocated stricter gun laws, saying military-style weapons should not be owned by civilians.

Moulton supports the legalization of marijuana and told Boston public radio station WGBH in 2016 that he had smoked pot while in college.

He graduated from Harvard University with an undergraduate degree in physics in 2001 and returned to receive a master’s degree in business and public policy in 2011.

(For a graphic of the 2020 presidential candidates, see: https://tmsnrt.rs/2Ff62ZC)

(Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jonathan Oatis)

Source: OANN

Top congressional Democrats left the door open on Sunday to pursue the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump, but said they would first need to complete their own investigations into whether he obstructed justice in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Democratic Party leaders have cautioned against impeachment just 18 months before the 2020 presidential election, although prominent liberals have called for the start of proceedings to remove Trump from office since the release on Thursday of Mueller’s report.

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, whose panel would spearhead any impeachment proceedings, said Democrats would press ahead with investigations of Trump in Congress and “see where the facts lead us.”

“Obstruction of justice, if proven, would be impeachable,” Nadler said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

A redacted version of Mueller’s long-awaited report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, the product of a 22-month investigation, built a broad case that Trump had committed obstruction of justice. While it stopped short of concluding Trump had committed a crime, it did not exonerate him.

Mueller noted that Congress has the power to address whether Trump violated the law, and Democrats said it would be a matter of discussion in the coming weeks.

“That’s going to be a very consequential decision and one I’m going to reserve judgment on until we have a chance to fully deliberate on it,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Nadler has issued a subpoena to the Justice Department to hand over the full Mueller report and other relevant evidence by May 1, although the Justice Department called the request “premature and unnecessary.”

With Republicans standing by Trump, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has cautioned against an impeachment effort that would have no chance of success in the Republican-led Senate.

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren became the first major contender for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination to call for the start of impeachment proceedings, saying on Twitter on Friday that “the severity of this misconduct” demanded it.

Democratic House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Congress needed to look at Trump’s finances and gauge Mueller’s intentions with his report.

He said even if Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic impeachment effort, “I think history would smile upon us for standing up for the Constitution.”

Democratic presidential contender Tim Ryan, a member of the House, said the party should wait until the multiple ongoing investigations of Trump in Congress have had a chance to uncover more evidence.

“Let the process play itself out,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union” show. “I would just rather us take this next step: educate the American people, really get these details out, let the Judiciary Committee do its work.”

Trump, who has repeatedly called the investigation a “witch hunt,” has claimed vindication from Mueller’s report. Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s lawyers, tried to undermine the credibility of Mueller’s investigators on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“I don’t think his people are fair,” Giuliani said of Mueller’s team. “I don’t think that report is fair.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

Congressional Democrats took legal action on Friday to gain access to all of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s evidence from his inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as the probe’s findings dented President Donald Trump’s poll ratings.

The number of Americans who approve of Trump dropped by 3 percentage points to the lowest level of the year following the release of a redacted version of Mueller’s report on Thursday, according to a Reuters/Ipsos online opinion poll.

Mueller did not establish the Trump campaign coordinated with Russians but did find “multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations.”

While Mueller ultimately decided not to charge Trump with a crime such as obstruction of justice, he also said the investigation did not exonerate the president, either.

U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, issued a subpoena to the Justice Department to hand over the full Mueller report and other relevant evidence by May 1.

“My committee needs and is entitled to the full version of the report and the underlying evidence consistent with past practice. The redactions appear to be significant,” Nadler said in a statement.

The Justice Department called the request “premature and unnecessary,” but spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement the department would work with Congress “to accommodate its legitimate requests consistent with the law and long-recognized executive branch interests.”

The report provided extensive details on Trump’s efforts to thwart Mueller’s investigation, giving Democrats plenty of political ammunition against the Republican president but leaving them with no consensus on how to use it.

The document has blacked out sections to hide details about secret grand jury information, U.S. intelligence gathering and active criminal cases as well as potentially damaging information about peripheral players who were not charged.

Six top congressional Democrats led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rejected U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s offer to give them access to a less-redacted version of the report. In a letter to Barr, they repeated their request for the full report but said they were open to “a reasonable accommodation.”

Democratic leaders have played down talk of impeachment of Trump just 18 months before the 2020 presidential election, even as some prominent members of the party’s progressive wing, notably U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, promised to push the idea.

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren became the first major contender for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination to call for the start of impeachment proceedings, saying on Twitter that “the severity of this misconduct” demanded it.

‘CRAZY MUELLER REPORT’

Trump, who has repeatedly called the Mueller probe a political witch hunt, lashed out again on Friday.

“Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report…which are fabricated & totally untrue,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

He seemed to be referring to former White House counsel Don McGahn who was cited in the report as having annoyed Trump by taking notes of his conversations with the president.

“Watch out for people that take so-called ‘notes,’ when the notes never existed until needed,” Trump wrote. “It was not necessary for me to respond to statements made in the ‘Report’ about me, some of which are total bullshit & only given to make the other person look good (or me to look bad).”

Phone conversations between the president and McGahn in June 2017 were a central part of Mueller’s depiction of Trump as trying to derail the Russia inquiry. The report said Trump told McGahn to instruct the Justice Department to fire Mueller. McGahn did not carry out the order.

According to the Reuters/Ipsos poll of 1,005 adults conducted Thursday afternoon to Friday morning, 37 percent of people approve of Trump’s performance in office – down from 40 percent in a similar poll conducted on April 15, which matches the lowest level of the year. The poll has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 4 percentage points.

Representative Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said the Democrats’ subpoena “is wildly overbroad” and would jeopardize a grand jury’s investigations.

While most Republicans have stood by Trump, 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, now a U.S. senator from Utah, criticized Trump and those around him as portrayed in the report. Romney, an on-and-off Trump critic, said on Twitter it was “good news” there was insufficient evidence to charge Trump with a crime.

“Even so, I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President,” said Romney, who lost the White House race to President Barack Obama in 2012.

The Mueller inquiry laid bare what U.S. intelligence agencies have described as a Russian campaign of hacking and propaganda to sow discord in the United States, denigrate 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and boost Trump.

RUSSIA DENIES MEDDLING

Russia said on Friday that Mueller’s report did not contain any evidence that Moscow had meddled. “We, as before, do not accept such allegations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Asked on Friday about Russian interference in 2016, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in Washington that “we will make very clear to them that this is not acceptable behavior.”

Half a dozen former Trump aides, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, were charged by Mueller’s office or convicted of crimes during his 22-month-long investigation. The Mueller inquiry spawned a number of other criminal probes by federal prosecutors in New York and elsewhere.

One reason it would be difficult to charge Trump is that the Justice Department has a decades-old policy that a sitting president should not be indicted, although the U.S. Constitution is silent on whether a president can face criminal prosecution in court.

Nadler told reporters on Thursday that Mueller probably wrote the report with the intent of providing Congress a road map for future action against the president, but the Democratic congressman said it was too early to talk about impeachment.

But the House Oversight Committee’s Democratic chairman, Elijah Cummings, said impeachment was not ruled out.

“A lot of people keep asking about the question of impeachment … We may very well come to that very soon, but right now let’s make sure we understand what Mueller was doing, understand what Barr was doing, and see the report in an unredacted form and all of the underlying documents,” he told MSNBC.

Source: NewsMax Politics

U.S. Attorney General Barr departs after speaking at a news conference on his release of the Mueller report in Washington
U.S. Attorney General William Barr departs after speaking at a news conference to discuss Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential race, in Washington, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

April 19, 2019

By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Attorney General William Barr could have buried Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report deep in the recesses of the U.S. Justice Department and simply told the public that President Donald Trump would not face criminal prosecution.

“These reports are not supposed to be made public,” he said at a news conference on Thursday morning.

By releasing a redacted version of the report on Thursday, Barr followed through on a promise he had made months earlier to make as much of Mueller’s findings public as possible.

But that opened Barr up to widespread criticism from Democrats and some legal experts, who questioned his decision not to charge Trump with obstruction of justice, and accused him of acting like the president’s personal defense lawyer.

Mueller’s 448-page report outlined 10 episodes in which Trump tried to get the special counsel fired, limit the scope of his investigation, or otherwise interfere with the probe.

Mueller stopped short of concluding that Trump had committed a crime, but did not exonerate him of wrongdoing either, leaving Barr or Congress the option to take action against the Republican president.

Some experts said Barr should have brought charges.

“To me, they laid out a chargeable obstruction case,” said Shanlon Wu, a former federal prosecutor who represented Rick Gates, the former Trump deputy campaign chairman who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements and is cooperating with the investigation.

Barr’s news conference, held before the report’s release, provided more fodder for his critics.

Barr praised the White House’s cooperation with the investigation and said Trump’s public and private efforts to interfere with the probe could have been fueled by a “sincere belief” that the investigation was “propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks.”

At several points, Barr echoed Trump’s mantra that Mueller had found “no collusion” with Russia.

To some, it was a disappointing performance from a man who had been praised for upholding the Justice Department’s independence during a previous stint as attorney general from 1991 to 1993.

“He’s really shown himself to be principally focused on defending the president,” said Robert Litt, a former federal prosecutor who had supported Barr’s nomination for the job.

A Justice Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Barr did not mislead the public because the White House cooperated with the probe despite Trump’s numerous statements criticizing it. The official also said Mueller had a choice to either recommend charges against Trump or not, and he had decided against it.

The top two Democrats in Congress, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, accused Barr of deliberately distorting Mueller’s findings.

Representative Eric Swalwell, one of the more than 15 Democrats running for president, called on Barr to resign.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, had a different perspective. “I think Barr is a straight lawyer. He’s an honest man,” he said.

GOING EASY ON THE REDACTIONS

In one area at least, Barr exceeded expectations. Democrats had worried that he might use too heavy a hand when redacting portions of the report that dealt with sensitive material, such as ongoing investigations, confidential legal proceedings and matters of national security.

In the end, 6 percent of the report was blacked out, according to ProPublica.

“The redactions seemed to me to be reasonable,” said Jack Sharman, a lawyer who worked on the impeachment of Democratic President Bill Clinton during the 1990s. “I was a little surprised.”

Starting next week, 12 top lawmakers and their staffers will be able to see a more complete version in a secure reading room.

Still, if Democrats were pleasantly surprised by the extent of the redactions, they were not saying so, and Barr is sure to face pointed questions when he testifies before Congress in May.

Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, compared Barr to Trump’s early mentor Roy Cohn, a political fixer best known for his involvement in Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist scare campaigns of the 1950s.

Trump “may have found his Roy Cohn in Attorney General Barr. But it may be too late, because the truth has come out about how the White House operates in the Mueller report,” Raskin said.

To some in Trump’s camp, the criticism was a sign of a job well done.

“Attorney General Barr knew every step of the way that people are going to unload on him today,” said Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign adviser. “He had a role to play and he played it.”

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Additional reporting by Karen Freifeld, Sarah N. Lynch, Nathan Layne and David Morgan; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday declined to comment on whether Congress might launch impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, saying it was not appropriate to criticize him while she was abroad, visiting the Irish border.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his inquiry into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election provided extensive details on Trump’s efforts to thwart the probe, but Democratic party leaders have played down talk of impeachment just 18 months before the 2020 presidential election.

“Whatever the issue and challenge that we face, the Congress of the United States will honor its oath of office to protect and defend the constitution of the United States, to protect our democracy,” Pelosi told journalists in Belfast when asked about possible impeachment proceedings.

“The legislative branch has a responsibility of oversight of our democracy and we will exercise that,” she said.

Source: NewsMax Politics

FILE PHOTO: U.S. House Speaker Pelosi visits Ireland
FILE PHOTO: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks next to Ways and Means Commitee Chairman, Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) as Mayor of Derry City John Boyle looks on near an anti-Brexit protest banner during her visit to the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland in Bridgend, Ireland April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

April 19, 2019

DUBLIN (Reuters) – An influential U.S. congressman has warned the European Union that any Brexit arrangement that undermines Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace agreement could endanger a proposed EU-U.S. trade deal, the Irish Times reported on Friday.

The European Union last week said it was ready to start talks on a trade agreement with the United States and aims to conclude a deal before year-end.

“If America wants a trade agreement with the European Union, which I think is very desirable – I want it – at the same time you are back to the same issue on the border if you do anything that dampens or softens the Good Friday Agreement,” Democratic Congressman Richard Neal was quoted as saying.

Neal is visiting Ireland with U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who on Wednesday said the United States would also not agree to any trade deal with Britain if future Brexit arrangements undermine peace in Ireland, reiterating comments made by the congressman in February.

The European Union has insisted it will not accept any British withdrawal agreement that results in any infrastructure on the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, something that would anger Irish nationalists and could become a target for militants.

But some British politicians have called on Brussels to soften this demand to get a deal done.

Neal, chairman of the Congressional committee overseeing trade, said any Brexit deal must maintain the sanctity of the peace agreement, the Irish Times reported.

How to keep EU-member Ireland’s 500km (350 mile) border with Northern Ireland open after Brexit is proving the most intractable issue in Britain’s tortuous efforts to leave the EU.

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government is in talks with the opposition Labour Party to build support for a Brexit divorce deal that parliament has already rejected three times, potentially delaying the UK’s departure date from the European Union until the end of October.

Much of the opposition to May’s deal within her own party is centered on fears that it would not provide a clean enough break to allow the United Kingdom to forge new trade deals around the world, especially with the United States.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

Source: OANN

Rioters clash with emergency vehicles in Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Rioters clash with emergency vehicles in Londonderry, Northern Ireland April 18, 2019, in this still image taken from a video from social media. Leona O’Neill via REUTERS

April 19, 2019

By Amanda Ferguson

BELFAST (Reuters) – An off-duty journalist was killed after shots were fired during rioting in the Northern Irish city of Londonderry overnight, in what police on Friday said was likely the work of militant nationalists opposed to the British region’s 1998 peace deal.

Rioting erupted in the Irish nationalist Creggan area of the city late on Thursday following a raid by police, who said they were trying to prevent militant attacks planned for the weekend. At least 50 petrol bombs were thrown and two cars set on fire.

“Unfortunately at 11 o’clock last night a gunman appeared and fired a number of shots toward the police and a young woman, Lyra McKee, 29 years old, was wounded” and later died, Police Service of Northern Ireland Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton told journalists on Friday.

He said police were treating the incident as a terrorist attack and had opened a murder inquiry.

“We believe this to be a terrorist act. We believe this has been carried out by violent dissident republicans,” Hamilton added, saying the New IRA group, which has been responsible for several attacks in recent years, was most likely behind the killing.

McKee was writing a book on the disappearance of young people during three decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, which ended with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement peace deal. She was described by publisher Faber as a rising star of investigative journalism.

Police said they did not believe she was working at the time of the attack.

A local journalist at the scene, Leona O’Neill, wrote on Twitter that after the woman was hit and fell beside a police Land Rover, officers rushed her to hospital, where she died.

Videos posted on social media showed police vehicles being pelted with what she said were dozens of petrol bombs, bricks, bottles and fireworks.

The detonation of a large car bomb outside a courthouse in Londonderry in January highlighted the threat still posed by militant groups opposed to the Good Friday Agreement, who have previously launched attacks during the Easter period.

Politicians in Northern Ireland have also warned that Britain’s plans to leave the European Union could undermine the peace deal and that any border infrastructure would become targets for militant groups.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a congressional delegation to the city earlier on Thursday, as part of a trip to show support for the peace agreement politicians in Washington helped to broker.

The leaders of Northern Ireland’s two largest political parties, the Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party and pro-British Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), both condemned the killing.

“Those who brought guns onto our streets in the 70s, 80s & 90s were wrong. It is equally wrong in 2019. No one wants to go back,” the DUP’s Arlene Foster said on Twitter.

Britain’s Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley said she was “deeply shocked and saddened” by McKee’s death.

(Additional reporting by Conor Humphries and Padraic Halpin in Dublin; Editing by Peter Cooney and Kirsten Donovan)

Source: OANN


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