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Nancy Pelosi pledges to hold Trump to account, Democrats expected to launch investigations – National

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The top Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives pledged a new era of congressional scrutiny over U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday, shrugging off White House threats of political warfare if Democrats launch investigations into his affairs.


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“We have a constitutional responsibility for oversight,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters, a day after voters gave Democrats control of the House for the first time in eight years.

“This doesn’t mean we go looking for a fight. But it means that if we see a need to go forward, we will,” she said.

Incoming Democratic committee chairmen are expected to lead investigations into Trump’s long-hidden tax returns, possible conflicts of interest from his business empire and any collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign team in the 2016 election.

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Pelosi, who hopes to return as House speaker when the new Democratic majority takes over in January, said committee chairmen will decide how to proceed and make their recommendations to the Democratic caucus.

“But you can be sure of one thing: when we go down any of these paths, we’ll know what we’re doing and we’ll do it right,” said the 78-year-old San Francisco liberal.

Trump earlier threatened to forego any attempt at bipartisanship and urge retaliatory investigations against Democrats in the Senate, which Republicans retained on Tuesday.


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“We’re going to do the same thing, and government comes to a halt, and I would blame them,” Trump said at a news conference.

Trump does not have the authority to order Senate investigations. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell declined to comment on the possibility of retaliatory probes, which Trump first raised in a morning statement on Twitter.

Trump has never faced opposition party control in Congress as president. Democrats say their House majority will end the ability of Republican lawmakers to protect him from scrutiny.

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“The American people have demanded accountability from their government,” Representative Jerrold Nadler, the New York Democrat poised to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote on Twitter.

Trump “may not like it, but he and his administration will be held accountable to our laws and to the American people.”

The confrontational tone on both sides may preview what’s in store for the next two years of Trump’s presidency.

Nadler, once slammed by Trump as “one of the most egregious hacks in contemporary politics,” is among four senior Democrats who have clashed with the president in the past and will take over key House committees when the new Congress convenes.


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The others are Elijah Cummings at the House Oversight Committee; Adam Schiff of the Intelligence Committee, slammed by Trump as “sleazy;” and Maxine Waters at the Financial Services Committee, whom Trump said has “extraordinarily low IQ.”

Chairing the committees – where they are currently the highest-ranking Democrats – will give these Democrats the power to demand documents and testimony from White House officials and figures in Trump’s campaign team and businesses, and to issue subpoenas if needed.

“I plan to shine a light on waste, fraud, and abuse in the Trump administration,” Cummings said on Wednesday.

WATCH: House Democrats will insist on openness and transparency, says Nancy Pelosi






“I want to probe senior administration officials across the government who have abused their positions of power and wasted taxpayer money, as well as President Trump’s decisions to act in his own financial self-interest,” he said in a statement.

The White House could respond to committee demands by citing executive privilege. That would likely result in court battles.

‘Not nervous’

Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway told CNN that House Democrats could encounter resistance from lawmakers within their own ranks who won swing districts.


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“People like when you focus on the issues, not investigations,” Conway said. “The president’s not nervous about anything.”

A first salvo is expected to come from Representative Richard Neal, who will likely be the Democratic chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, and who has said he will demand Trump’s tax returns from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. That could set in motion a series of probes into any disclosures from the documents.

Trump on Wednesday reiterated his claim that the returns cannot be released due to an Internal Revenue Service audit.

Schiff has said his panel would probe allegations that Russian money may have been laundered though Trump businesses and that Moscow might have financial leverage over him.

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Waters and other Democrats have been clamoring for details about Trump’s relationship with German-based Deutsche Bank and what it may know about links between the president and Russia.

Nadler’s panel would handle any effort to impeach Trump, depending on the outcome of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s federal probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections and possible Trump campaign collusion with Moscow.

Trump denies any collusion and has long denounced Mueller’s investigation as a witch hunt. Moscow denies meddling.

Nadler has said any impeachment effort must be based on evidence of action to subvert the Constitution that is so overwhelming it would trouble even the president’s supporters.



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FOREIGN NEWS

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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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
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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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

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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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