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Brazil court trims Lula sentence, opening door to partial detention

FILE PHOTO: A supporters of Brazil's former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva holds a sign reading
FILE PHOTO: A supporter of Brazil's former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva holds a sign reading "Free Lula" outside the Brazil's Superior Court Justice build during a session to try Lula's appeal in the court in Brasilia, Brazil April 23, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo

April 23, 2019

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s jailed former leftist president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, could gain partial freedom within five months following a court decision on Tuesday to reduce his sentence in one of two corruption convictions.

The popular politician began serving a 12-year prison sentence a year ago on a corruption and money-laundering conviction for accepting a luxury beachside apartment as a bribe from an engineering company in the “Carwash” graft scandal.

The Superior Court of Justice, the country’s second-highest court, reduced Lula’s sentence to eight years and 10 months, arguing that it was increased excessively by an appeals court last year.

With his time already served, Lula, who denies any wrongdoing, could gain the right by September to finish his term with his days free from jail, although he would still have to spend his nights in a prison cell.

That partial release would depend on an appeals court decision on his second conviction for corruption and money laundering for receiving bribes by two construction and engineering firms by way of funding improvements in a country house he and his family used.

If the appeals court upholds that conviction and a second 12-year, 11-month sentence without considering Tuesday’s decision, the 73-year-old Lula would find his hopes for a partial release dashed.

Brazil’s first working-class president has been indicted in six other corruption cases.

Lula governed Brazil from 2003 to 2010, introducing social programs that lifted millions of Brazilians from poverty at a time when Latin America’s largest economy was enjoying expansion driven by a global commodities boom.

He left office with record popularity, but his reputation and that of his Workers Party were damaged by corruption scandals and the impeachment of his handpicked successor, Dilma Rousseff.

Popular revulsion over those scandals helped fuel support for President Jair Bolsonaro’s election campaign last year.

(Reporting by Ricardo Brito and Anthony Boadle; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Source: OANN

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UK employers fear Brexit hit to economy, but plan more hiring: REC

Cranes line the London skyline on construction sites in London
FILE PHOTO: Cranes line the London skyline on construction sites in London, Britain August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall

April 23, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – British employers are their most worried about the economy since the 2016 Brexit referendum, but they also plan to hire extra staff, according to a survey that showed the surprising strength of the jobs market.

More firms were downbeat about the outlook for jobs and investment than were optimistic for only the second time since the Recruitment and Employment Confederation began its surveys in June 2016, the month of the referendum.

But in the short term, companies planned to increase their headcount, especially for temporary workers, possibly reflecting their reluctance to make longer-term commitments to investment.

“The more positive figures on hiring for temporary workers suggest that many businesses are turning to agency work to help them navigate the unpredictability they currently face,” Neil Carberry, the REC’s chief executive, said.

“This might be driven by waiting to see whether permanent hiring is justified, or by using additional labor to meet demand rather than making big capital investments.”

Britain’s economy slowed in the run-up to the original Brexit date of March 29, and as growth in much of the rest of the world has also weakened. But job creation has roared ahead, pushing the unemployment rate down to its lowest since 1975.

The REC survey of 600 employers took place between Jan 2 and March 22.

The deadline for Britain’s departure from the EU has been delayed until Oct. 31.

(Reporting by William Schomberg, editing by Andy Bruce)

Source: OANN

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Kamala Harris calls for third gender option on federal IDs

HANOVER, N.H. - Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris says she supports putting a third gender option on federal identification cards.

The Democrat from California backed the idea when asked about it during a town hall Tuesday in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire.

“It’s a simple point. There needs to be another category. And I’m open to the idea of doing that. And I think that it’s a good idea,” Harris told Fox News and New Hampshire’s Concord Monitor during an interview later in the day.


Harris, a former California attorney general and San Francisco district attorney, has long fought for LGBTQ rights, including refusing to defend a ban on same-sex marriages.

Harris joins 2020 Democratic nomination rival Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York in pushing for a third option on IDs. Four states – California, Oregon, Washington, and New Jersey – have embraced nonbinary IDs – as has New York City.


One day after unveiling her plan to implement stricter background checks on gun sales with or without action from Congress, Harris highlighted her plan at town halls at Keene State College and Dartmouth College.

“One very reasonable approach is that we need to have background checks,” Harris told Fox News, as she vowed to take action as president if Congress failed to act

Harris said that if a bill from Congress did not make it to her desk, she would unilaterally mandate background checks for customers purchasing firearms from any dealers who sell more than five guns a year.

Dealers who violate the law, she said, would have their licenses revoked. The other executive orders would prohibit fugitives from purchasing a firearm or weapon, as well as closing the loophole allowing some domestic abusers to purchase firearms if the victim is an unwedded partner.

Harris pointed to a lack of congressional action after mass shootings across the country the past decade.

“There’s so many examples of absolute tragedies and yet Congress has not acted. So, my point is this – when elected, I’ll give Congress the opportunity, but if they don’t act, I’ll act. And, I believe that is reflective of where the American public is. They want reasonable gun safety laws,” she stressed.

Asked how such a move would be received in a state such as New Hampshire, where the rights of gun owners are well guarded, Harris explained she believed “most people understand – gun owner or not gun owners – that we need reasonable gun safety laws in our country. That’s what this is targeted at.”

She continued, “I’m very clear in my mind – I think most people are – that it’s a false choice to suggest that you're either in favor of the Second Amendment or you want to take everyone’s guns away.”

Harris is now calling on the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives to launch impeachment proceedings following the release last week of the report by Special Counsel Robert Muller on the Russia investigation.

“I believe the process should begin. Where it ends up, I don’t know, but there’s no question that the Mueller report, what we know of it, has outlined facts that leads one to reasonably believe that obstruction occurred,” Harris said.

Asked if such a move would bolster President Trump’s claims that impeachment would be a purely political move by Democrats, which could potentially help his re-election effort, Harris said, “I don’t know what his playbook is.”


Harris’s return to New Hampshire marked her second visit to the crucial early voting state since she launched her presidential campaign last January. It comes as South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg – a one-time 2020 long-shot – has surged over the past month and soared above Harris in many public opinion polls – including two of the most recent in New Hampshire.

Asked if she was concerned, Harris said, “the only polls that matter are on Election Day. Period.”

Harris was interviewed before the town hall at Dartmouth. She spoke and took questions from a capacity crowd of more than 400. Minutes earlier, the senator went outside to a speak with an overflow crowd of a couple hundred.

Harris stopped in Claremont on her way from Keene to Hanover. The brief visit included a stop at the Uptown Bakery, where the candidate chatted with employees and customers and bought donuts and pastries for her staff.


Claremont is the location of next month’s Fox News town hall with Buttigieg.

Source: Fox News Politics

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Government, business should guard Internet together: British intelligence chief

FILE PHOTO: Govt, business should guard Internet together -British intelligence chief
FILE PHOTO: GCHQ Director Jeremy Fleming delivers a speech as he meets with Britain's Queen Elizabeth during her visit at the Watergate House to mark the centenary of the GCHQ (Government Communications Head Quarters) in London, Britain, February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Pool

April 23, 2019

GLASGOW, Scotland (Reuters) – The head of Britain’s GCHQ spy agency on Wednesday will call on businesses and the finance sector to work with intelligence officials to help secure the internet and protect customers online.

In extracts of a speech to be given at a cyber security conference in Scotland, GCHQ head Jeremy Fleming said the signals intelligence agency would cooperate closely with manufacturers, internet service providers, online platforms and banks to “take the burden of cyber security away from the individual.”

The latest incarnation of the internet has enabled innovation and technological breakthroughs, Fleming said, but also brought “new and unprecedented challenges for policymakers as we seek to protect our citizens, judicial systems, businesses – and even societal norms.”

Western governments including Britain are pushing businesses and the public to take more precautions online and guard against threats posed by cyber criminals and nation state hackers.

Fleming will speak at the CYBERUK conference, hosted by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in Glasgow, Scotland. The conference will also host a public panel discussion by senior officials from countries in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group: Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

“Cyber attacks do not respect international boundaries, and many of the threats and vulnerabilities we face are shared around the globe,” said NCSC head Ciaran Martin. “Each nation has sovereignty to defend itself as it sees best fit, but it’s vital that we work closely with our allies.”

(Reporting by Jack Stubbs and Michael Holden; Editing by David Gregorio)

Source: OANN

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WashPost: White House Will Fight McGahn Subpoena

The Trump administration will fight subpoenas issued by Democrat-led House committees to former White House counsel Don McGahn and other ex-White House officials as Democrats seek more information about the Mueller report.

According to The Washington Post, the White House is trying to block the House Judiciary Committee from bringing McGahn in for testimony. McGahn was mentioned in special counsel Robert Mueller's report, a redacted version of which was made public last week.

Officials told the Post the White House will instruct people who are called to testify to assert executive privilege.

Among the more than 150 mentions of McGahn in the Russia report was one that showed he refused Trump's order to fire Mueller in the early days of the Russia probe. That has Democrats salivating and wanting to ask McGahn more about the incident.

Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler issued a subpoena to McGahn on Monday.

Source: NewsMax Politics

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White House to fight Dems’ subpoena of ex-White House counsel Don McGahn

The White House will fight House Democrats' subpoena of testimony and documents from ex-White House counsel Don McGahn, Fox News is told -- and almost immediately, House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y, characterized the move as "one more act of obstruction" by the Trump administration.

A fight over the subpoena would also set up a series of other contentious legal showdowns as Democrats seek to publicly question current and former Trump aides who featured prominently in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Russia investigation.

Fox News is also told the White House intends to vigorously oppose subpoenas that might run up against executive privilege, a power sanctioned by the Supreme Court that allows the president and members of the executive branch to shield certain internal communications from disclosure, absent a compelling overriding justification.

Neither the "presidential communications privilege," which protects discussions by the president and senior aides, and the "deliberative process privilege," which protects even lower-level talks concerning policy discussions, were invoked by the White House to redact any sections of Mueller's report.


But as Democrats ramp up their investigations following the report's release, Trump and his team have begun pushing back on a campaign of probes they say are nakedly partisan.

White House counsel Don McGahn looks on as President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

White House counsel Don McGahn looks on as President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The White House scored an early victory in that effort on Tuesday, after House Democrats agreed to postpone a subpoena deadline for Trump's financial records, following Trump's lawsuit challenging the subpoena.

Nadler on Monday subpoenaed McGahn to testify publicly next month. The top Democrat described McGahn, who stepped down as White House counsel in October 2018, as "a critical witness to many of the alleged instances of obstruction of justice and other misconduct described in the Special Counsel's report."

In a statement Tuesday evening responding to reports that the White House would fight the subpoena, Nader called the subpoena "valid" and said he wouldn't back down.

“We have asked him to supply documents to the Committee by May 7 and to testify here on May 21," Nadler said. "Our request covers the subjects described by Mr. McGahn to the Special Counsel, and described by Special Counsel Mueller to the American public in his report.  As such, the moment for the White House to assert some privilege to prevent this testimony from being heard has long since passed."

Nadler added: "I suspect that President Trump and his attorneys know this to be true as a matter of law—and that this evening’s reports, if accurate, represent one more act of obstruction by an Administration desperate to prevent the public from talking about the President’s behavior.  The Committee’s subpoena stands.  I look forward to Mr. McGahn’s testimony.”


On "Fox News Sunday," host Chris Wallace pressed Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani on a section of the Mueller report outlining how Trump allegedly told McGahn to inform the acting attorney general that Mueller should be removed in June 2017 -- a demand that McGahn ignored. Trump has strongly suggested that claim was 'bulls---.'"

"If he had fired him, there wouldn’t have been an obstruction," Giuliani began. "So, as long as he was replaced by somebody, which he would have been, and there were good reasons- arguable reasons."

Giuliani insisted that accounts of McGahn's story have changed multiple times and that Trump was merely calling for Mueller's supposed conflicts of interests to be "considered."

Mueller's report contained purported conversations between Trump and McGahn that have raised eyebrows on Capitol Hill.

"Why do you take notes? Lawyers don't take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes," Trump said, according to Mueller's report. The special counsel said McGahn responded that he keeps notes "because he is a 'real lawyer' and explained that notes create a record and are not a bad thing."


These notes appear to have angered Trump, but also allowed Mueller to conclude that McGahn was a credible witness “with no motive to lie or exaggerate given the position he held in the White House."

Last week, Trump unleashed a series of broadsides concerning claims that his associates had given Mueller damaging information.

“Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated & totally untrue," Trump tweeted. "Watch out for people that take so-called 'notes,' when the notes never existed until needed."

John Dowd, who served as a member of President Trump’s legal team from June 2017 until March 2018, backed up Trump on “Fox & Friends” Monday.

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

Dowd contnued: “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.”

Fox News' Samuel Chamberlain and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

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Boeing sees FAA approving software fix in May, MAX ungrounding in July: sources

FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked on the tarmac at the Boeing Factory in Renton
FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked on the tarmac at the Boeing Factory in Renton, Washington, U.S. March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

April 23, 2019

By Tracy Rucinski and Eric M. Johnson

CHICAGO/SEATTLE (Reuters) – Boeing Co has told some 737 MAX owners it is targeting U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approval of its software fix as early as the third week of May and the ungrounding of the aircraft around mid-July, two sources told Reuters.

The dates are part of a provisional timeline that Boeing has shared in meetings with airline customers as it explains an upgrade to software that played a role in two fatal crashes and led to the worldwide grounding of its MAX 737 jetliner in March.

However, Boeing has not yet submitted its completed software package to the FAA for approval, two other sources said.

None of the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly, said they knew for sure how long the re-certification process will take.

A Boeing spokeswoman said the company is focused on the safe return to service of the MAX and its engagement with global regulators and customers.

Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said last week the company had made the final test flight with the new MAX software before a final certification flight, indicating that the company believed it was making progress toward regulatory approval.

On April 1, the FAA said that once it received Boeing’s completed software package it would run a rigorous safety review before approving the software for installation.

The agency also plans to work with other international regulators on MAX certification in their countries and regions before lifting the flying suspension in the United States, with Boeing prepared to address any concerns, one source said.

Aside from the software certification, international regulators must also decide on new pilot training.

This process is separate from an FAA-led international review panel, which the agency has said may not be completed before the MAX flying suspension is lifted.

The two largest U.S. MAX owners, Southwest Airlines Co and American Airlines Group Inc, removed the aircraft from their flying schedules into August but have said they could use their MAX jets as spares if they are ungrounded sooner.

United Airlines, with 14 MAX jets, said last week that it expected the aircraft to return to service this summer, with deliveries resuming before the end of the year.

Boeing halted MAX deliveries to customers after the grounding in mid-March and said earlier this month that it would cut 737 production to 42 airplanes per month from 52.

One industry source said that as of last week, Boeing planned to keep the lower production rate in place for two months, meaning it aims to resume a rate of 52 aircraft in July but the timeline could shift.

Global airlines have had to cancel thousands of flights and use spare aircraft to cover routes that were previously flown with the fuel-efficient MAX.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Additional reporting by David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Tom Brown)

Source: OANN

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FILE PHOTO: A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage after a group picture with foreign ministers and representatives during the Iran nuclear talks at the Vienna International Center in Vienna
FILE PHOTO: A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage after a group picture with foreign ministers and representatives of the U.S., Iran, China, Russia, Britain, Germany, France and the European Union during the Iran nuclear talks at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

April 18, 2019

By Jonathan Landay and Arshad Mohammed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A new Trump administration report on international compliance with arms control accords provoked a dispute with U.S. intelligence agencies and some State Department officials concerned that the document politicizes and slants assessments about Iran, five sources with knowledge of the matter said.

U.S. President Donald Trump is intensifying a drive to contain Iran’s power in the Middle East, which has raised fears that his administration wants to topple the Tehran government or lay the groundwork to justify military action.

The administration says it is trying to halt Iranian “malign behavior” in its support for Islamist militants in the region and denies seeking the overthrow of the Islamic republic’s government.

The clash among U.S. officials emerged on Tuesday when the State Department posted on its website, and then removed, an unclassified version of an annual report to Congress assessing compliance with arms control agreements that the sources saw as skewed Iran.

The report’s publication follows the administration’s formal designation on Monday of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Iran’s elite paramilitary and foreign espionage unit, as a foreign terrorist organization.

Washington also has piled on tough economic sanctions following Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. The administration also is waging a propaganda campaign, including over social media, aimed at fueling popular anger against Iran’s government.

Several sources said the report, which reappeared without explanation on Wednesday, made them wonder if the administration was painting Iran in the darkest light possible, much as the George W. Bush administration used bogus and exaggerated intelligence to justify its 2003 invasion of Iraq.

A State Department spokeswoman defended the judgment on Iran, saying in an email that it was “informed by careful assessment of all relevant information.”

The report was published to meet a mandatory April 15 deadline by which it had to go to Congress, the department said. A more comprehensive unclassified version will be provided after the completion of a review of what information in the classified report can be made public, the spokeswoman said.

The department did not address the internal dispute over the report or concerns of politicization.

The unclassified “Adherence to and compliance with arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament agreements and commitments” report omitted assessments of Russian compliance with landmark accords such as the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the New START arms control treaty.

The State Department spokeswoman said that the U.S. position that Russia is in violation of the INF Treaty “is clear.”

The report also failed to include detailed assessments published in previous years of whether Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Syria and other nations complied with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Instead, the report replaced those assessments with a five paragraph section entitled “country concerns.”

The section made no mention of judgments by U.S. intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran ended a nuclear weapons program in 2003 and has complied with the 2015 deal that imposed restrictions on its civilian nuclear program.

Instead, it said Iran’s retention of a nuclear archive disclosed last year by Israel raised questions about whether Tehran might have plans to resume a nuclear weapons program.

It added that any such effort would violate the NPT, as would any Iranian retention of undeclared nuclear material, though it offered no evidence that Iran had done either.

“It’s piling inference upon inference here to try to create a scary picture,” said a congressional aide, who requested anonymity to discuss the issue, as did the other sources. The aide added that by stripping out much of the report’s normal content, the documents largely had become about Iran.

“There is significant concern that the entire sort of purpose … was to help build a case for military intervention in Iran in a way that seems very familiar,” the source said, referring to the Bush administration’s use of erroneous intelligence before the invasion of Iraq 16 years ago that ousted President Saddam Hussein.

The 12-page report, down from last year’s 45-page document, reflected a disagreement between Assistant Secretary of State Yleem Poblete, whose office is charged with its drafting, and her boss, Undersecretary of State Andrea Thompson, three of the sources said.

Two sources said Poblete had sought to include information such as news stories and opinion pieces in the report, which traditionally is based on legal analyses of U.S. intelligence reports.

The State Department did not comment on Poblete’s role.

“And it had other obvious errors,” said a former U.S. official familiar with matter. A draft of the unclassified version had included classified information, the official said. “It’s been described to me as just a big food fight within the department over an initially inadequate draft.”

A second former U.S. official said he believed that the report was being used to advance the Trump administration’s views on Iran rather than to reflect information gathered by intelligence agencies and assessments of that information by State Department experts.

“This ‘trends’ section is adding a political tinge or politicizing the report,” said the fourth source on condition of anonymity, saying the administration seemed to be using a once objective report “to back up subjective assertions.”

While saying they did not know why the report had been so abbreviated, removed and then restored from the website, analysts asked if there was an effort underway to demonize Iran.

“The worst case of course would be that we are observing signs of a politicization of intelligence for the purpose of serving what the top of the administration would like to accomplish,” said nuclear expert Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists in Washington.

“We have seen … that in the past with the (Iraq) war,” he said. “This is a potential warning sign about that.”

(Reporting by Jonathan Landay and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Mary Milliken and Grant McCool)

Source: OANN

A House chairman on Monday subpoenaed former White House Counsel Don McGahn as Democratic leaders moved to deepen their investigation of President Donald Trump while bottling up talk among their rank-and-file of impeaching him.

Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler was one of six powerful committee leaders making their case on a conference call with other House Democrats late in the day that they are effectively investigating Trump-related matters ranging from potential obstruction to his personal and business taxes.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged divided Democrats to focus on fact-finding rather than the prospect of any impeachment proceedings after the damning details of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

Nadler and the other chairmen made clear they believe Trump did obstruct justice, according to people on the call who weren’t authorized to discuss it by name. McGahn would be a star witness for any such case because he refused Trump’s demand to set Mueller’s firing in motion, according to the report.

“The Special Counsel’s report, even in redacted form, outlines substantial evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction and other abuses,” Nadler said in a statement released as the conference call got underway. “It now falls to Congress to determine for itself the full scope of the misconduct and to decide what steps to take in the exercise of our duties of oversight, legislation and constitutional accountability.”

The subpoena angered Republicans even as it functioned as a reassurance to impatient Democrats.

Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the Judiciary panel, pointed out that McGahn sat for 30 hours of interviews with Mueller and said Nadler was asking for some items that he knows cannot be produced.

Trump himself insisted he wasn’t worried.

“Not even a little bit,” he said when asked Monday whether he was concerned about impeachment. However, his many tweets seeking to undermine the report’s credibility indicate he is hardly shrugging it aside.

“Only high crimes and misdemeanors can lead to impeachment,” he said Monday on Twitter. “There were no crimes by me (No Collusion, No Obstruction), so you can’t impeach. It was the Democrats that committed the crimes, not your Republican President!”

On the other end of the scale, Pelosi’s approach disappointed some Democrats who are agitating for impeachment proceedings. According to her spokesman, Rep. Val Demings of Florida said she believed the House has enough evidence to begin the process.

McGahn was a vital witness for Mueller, recounting the president’s outrage over the investigation and his efforts to curtail it.

The former White House counsel described, for instance, being called at home by the president on the night of June 17, 2017, and directed to call the Justice Department and say that Mueller had conflicts of interest and should be removed. McGahn declined the command, “deciding that he would resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday Night Massacre,” the Mueller report said.

Once that episode became public in the news media, the president demanded that McGahn dispute the reports and asked him why he had told Mueller about it and why he had taken notes of their conversations. McGahn refused to back down, the report said.

Nadler’s announcement was one of several leadership moves aimed at calming a struggle among Democrats to speak with one voice about what to do in light of Mueller’s startling account of Trump’s repeated efforts to fire him, shut down his probe and get allies to lie.

After Mueller’s report was released last week, the most prominent of the Democratic freshmen, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, signed on to Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s resolution calling for an investigation into Trump’s conduct and the question of whether it merits a formal impeachment charge in the House.

“Mueller’s report is clear in pointing to Congress’ responsibility in investigating obstruction of justice by the President,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

On Monday, Pelosi’s letter made clear there was no Democratic disagreement that Trump “at a minimum, engaged in highly unethical and unscrupulous behavior which does not bring honor to the office he holds.” But she acknowledged the party’s officeholders have a range of views on how to proceed.

She counseled them repeatedly to go after facts, not resort to “passion or prejudice” in the intense run-up to the 2020 presidential and congressional elections. She is the de facto leader of her party until Democrats nominate a candidate to challenge Trump, so her words echoed on the presidential campaign trail.

“We all firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth,” Pelosi wrote. “It is also important to know that the facts regarding holding the president accountable can be gained outside of impeachment hearings.”

As the conference call got underway, Nadler’s subpoena announcement was made public, an indication that the facts-first approach was moving ahead. Pelosi, calling from New York City, spoke briefly. Then she put a show of leadership force on the line — six committee chairmen, some of the most powerful people in Congress — to give more details, according to people on the call.

Nadler went first. Others who followed were Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings, intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff, Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Water and Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal. The call lasted about 90 minutes and included about 170 Democrats.

During a series of town hall events on CNN Monday night, several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates weighed in. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren repeated her call for an impeachment vote, saying that if lawmakers believe the president’s actions were appropriate, “they should have to take that vote and live with it.”

California Sen. Kamala Harris said she believes “Congress should take the steps toward impeachment.”

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Trump should be held accountable, but she stopped short of calling for impeachment.

There’s more coming to keep Trump’s reported misdeeds in public. Congressional panels are demanding the unredacted version of the Mueller report and its underlying material gathered from the investigation. Attorney General William Barr is expected to testify in the House and Senate next week. Nadler has summoned Mueller to testify next month, though no date has been set.

In the face of the intense run-up to the 2020 election, Pelosi implicitly suggested Democrats resist creating episodes like the one in January in which Tlaib was recorded declaring the House would impeach Trump.

“We must show the American people we are proceeding free from passion or prejudice, strictly on the presentation of fact,” Pelosi wrote.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said her group will emphasize field organizing and digital strategy in its mission to keep the House majority in 2020, Roll Call reported on Friday.

Bustos made her comments to Democratic House members at their annual retreat on Friday. Excerpts of her remarks were obtained by Roll Call.

“We know our job is different this time.,” she said. “With the sheer size of our battlefield, we know what we can control, and what we can’t. We can’t control the presidential primaries. We can’t control Senate races competing for national attention. What we can control is our energy, our focus and our determination to lock down our majority.”

She said there will be an early emphasis on field organization and the DCCC is “doubling down” on its digital strategy.

The DCCC announced this week it was opening an office in Austin, Texas as it looks to boost its efforts in the state.

Source: NewsMax Politics

The logo of ING bank is pictured at the entrance of the group's main office in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: The logo of ING bank is pictured at the entrance of the group’s main office in Brussels, Belgium September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

April 23, 2019

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Shareholders of Dutch bank ING on Tuesday voted against a motion granting executives discharge from legal liability for 2018, the company said, in an apparent rebuke for the $900 million fine the company incurred in September for failing to prevent money laundering.

It was not clear whether any shareholders will actually seek damages over the fine, which ING has said was properly disclosed and which did not have a major impact on the company’s share price. The company said in a statement shareholders had approved other motions at its annual meeting on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; editing by David Evans)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A Wells Fargo ATM machine is shown in Los Angeles, California
FILE PHOTO: A Wells Fargo ATM machine is shown in Los Angeles, California, U.S. October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

April 12, 2019

(Reuters) – Wells Fargo & Co’s aggressive cost cutting helped boost its quarterly profit, but shares in the lender fell 3 percent on Friday after it dialed back its forecast for how much net interest income it would bring in this year.

The Federal Reserve has signaled it is unlikely to raise interest rates in 2019 given risks to the U.S. economy from a global slowdown, which investors have feared could pressure net interest income, or the difference between what a bank earns on loans and pays on deposits.

The outlook overshadowed a jump in Wells Fargo’s first-quarter profit, and comes as investors were already on edge following the abrupt departure of former Chief Executive Tim Sloan last month.

The bank has been working to keep a tight grip on costs as it continues to battle the fallout from a wide-ranging sales practices scandal that first erupted in 2016, efforts that helped its bottom line in the quarter as revenue slipped.

Interim CEO Allen Parker said on Friday he was working on improving relations with regulators and making the bank more efficient but acknowledged “we have more work ahead of us.”

Analysts pushed Parker on why the bank was lowering its net interest income outlook while peers remained more optimistic, and for details on how non-interest-related revenues from fees would shape up.

“If the revenue base keeps splitting down, I’m afraid that some of your loyal shareholders are going to start to exit before you have a new leadership in place,” Bank of America analyst Erika Najarian said on a conference call to discuss results.

Parker said Wells Fargo’s board is pressing forward with the CEO search, but has “complete confidence” with current leadership.

Finance chief John Shrewsberry reaffirmed that the lender was on track to hit its 2019 cost target. But the longer-term outlook is less certain, since the bank suspended its expense targets for 2020 after Sloan’s exit.

Parker also did not give updated guidance for when a punitive asset cap imposed by the Federal Reserve would be lifted, saying he felt it was not appropriate to do so.

Former CEO Sloan twice pushed back when he expected to get the cap removed, which the Fed says will happen when risk management and internal controls improve.

Shrewsberry said Wells Fargo expects a decline of 2 percent to 5 percent in net interest income this year from 2018. It previously forecast between a 2 percent rise and a 2 percent fall.

Wells Fargo’s net interest income in the quarter fell 1 percent from a year earlier and 3 percent from the prior quarter.

The bank blamed the decline from the previous period on a flattening yield curve, even though JPMorgan Chase & Co earlier on Friday said higher rates helped boost its net interest income.

Wells Fargo shares were last down 3.2 percent.


The bank’s non-interest expenses fell 7.5 percent to $13.9 billion in the quarter from a year earlier. The company is targeting expenses for 2019 of $52 billion to $53 billion.

The decline in expenses outpaced a 1.5 percent fall in total revenue. As signs of a slowing U.S. economy mount, analysts have focused on efficiency in anticipation of slower revenue and loan growth.

The lender’s efficiency ratio, a closely watched measure of cost per dollar of revenue, improved from a year earlier but was higher than in the fourth quarter.

Average loans rose slightly from the prior quarter but were still below last year. Average deposits were down 1 percent from the previous quarter and fell 3 percent from a year earlier.

Wells Fargo’s net income applicable to common stock rose to $5.51 billion, or $1.20 per share, from $4.73 billion, or 96 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts had expected a profit of $1.09 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

(Reporting By Aparajita Saxena and Imani Moise; writing by Meredith Mazzilli; editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Sweta Singh and Jonathan Oatis)

Source: OANN

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