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Mueller investigation may get more protection after Democrats take the House – National




The Democrats have taken a hold of the House of Resprenstatives, meaning Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation (which went quiet in the final weeks before the 2018 midterm elections) may gain some protection.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized Mueller and his probe, calling it a politically motivated witch hunt and bad for the country. The investigation looks into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin.

What a Democrat win in the U.S. midterms means for Donald Trump

On Wednesday, Trump was asked whether he would remove Mueller from his position now that the midterms are done.

“I could fire everybody right now. But politically I don’t want to stop it [the investigation],” Trump said. He reiterated that there is no collusion.

In August, Trump called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to halt the investigation, which Democratic lawmakers said was a blatant attempt to obstruct justice.

WATCH: Trump is worried a sit-down interview with Mueller could be a ‘perjury trap’

Mueller’s investigation has so far led to criminal cases against Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, personal attorney Michael Cohen, and other advisers, including Rick Gates and George Papadopolous.

If Trump continues to try to quash the probe, a Democratic House would probably try to move legislation to protect Mueller.

In April, the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation that would protect Mueller’s job, by giving any special counsel a 10-day window to seek expedited judicial review of a firing.

Senate panel approves bill protecting Robert Mueller from being fired by Donald Trump

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to take up the bill in the Senate.

Now that the Dems have the House, it’s expected that they pass their own special counsel protection bill.

What if Trump fires Rosenstein?

Mueller reports to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who will receive the special counsel’s report and can decide to make it public, share it with Congress, or both.

Rosenstein, who is the number two official in the justice department, is supervising the Mueller probe because Sessions recused himself from matters related to the Russia investigation.

Trump’s effort to stop Sessions from recusing himself opens avenues for Mueller probe

In September, The New York Times reported that Rosenstein suggested secretly recordnig Trump in the White House to expose the administration’s chaos, and that he discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office for being unfit.

The Times cited several anonymous sources, but Rosenstein has since denied both allegations.

After this news, there was speculation that Rosenstein would be fired or would resign. However, Trump declared his job safe, saying he was “not making any changes.”

WATCH: U.S. conservative lawmakers calling for impeachment of Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein

After the election results on Wednesday, Trump was asked whether Sessions and Rosenstein were keeping their jobs.

Trump replied: “I would rather answer that at a different time,” adding that he is looking at shaking up some positions in the White House, which is common after the midterms.

If Rosenstein were out as deputy attorney general, then the Mueller probe would lose someone who has approved important moves in the investigation.

But the Democratic-controlled House now has subpoena power. Democratic leaders now can subpoena the release of secret documents related to the investigation or force witnesses to testify in front of them.

Will the House reopen Russia investigation?

Aside from Mueller’s independent investigation into Russia meddling, the House could also re-open the probe.

The Republican-led Intelligence Committee was the only House panel to investigate Russian meddling, and its investigation is now closed. Republicans say they found no evidence of collusion between Russia and President Trump’s campaign.

Democrats can impeach Trump if they retake the House — but expert warns it’s ‘dangerous’

Democrats said Republicans ignored key facts and important witnesses and have said they would want to restart parts of the investigation if they won the House. But some Democrats also worry that there could be a political cost if they overreach.

After the midterm election results, Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday and warned Democrats about their threats to investigate him and the administration.

“If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level. Two can play that game!” Trump said.

California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence panel, has previously said his party would have to “ruthlessly prioritize the most important matters first.”

Schiff and other lawmakers say they are closely watching special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and the Senate’s Russia probe to look for gaps that they could fill. And if Mueller issues any findings, their investigative plans could change.

WATCH: Democrats regain control of house while Republicans hold senate

— With files from the Associated Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu

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Harris accepts VP nomination



Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself



Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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