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




The Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections and will pose a major challenge to President Donald Trump’s domestic and foreign policy going forward.

All 435 seats in the House were up for re-election and while the GOP maintained their control of the Senate, the Dems will now be able to dramatically shape the remainder of Trump’s time in the White House.

“This is a pivotal moment in American history,” said Vermont’s Bernie Sanders who was re-elected to a third term in the Senate. “We have a president of the United States who is a pathological liar. And is doing something that no president in my lifetime has ever done – that is instead of bringing people he is trying to divide us.”

READ MORE: Democrats win control of U.S. House, GOP retain Senate

With Democratic control over the House, Trump’s domestic agenda – including further roll backs to the Affordable Healthcare Act, funding for the border wall, and other cuts to social security – likely won’t happen.

Trump did not speak following Tuesday’s elections but tweeted: “Tremendous success tonight. Thank you to all!”

Simon Langlois-Bertrand, professor of U.S. politics at McGill University, said the outcome of Tuesday’s vote will lead to even more entrenched gridlock in Washington that Democrats could use to draw compromises from the GOP.

“The house is the key player for anything budgetwise,” Langlois-Bertrand said. “They will definitely play that card and use that aspect of the strategy to its fullest. That’s their best strategy in my mind and I’m pretty sure that Democratic leadership knows it.”

Trump will be able to block any Democratic initiatives, but the Dems will likewise be able to stop his legislative plans like tax cuts or cuts to Cabinet department budgets.

READ MORE: Trump loomed large in most voters’ decisions, survey shows

Colin Robertson, a former Canadian diplomat, said the election has been a “referendum on Trump” and the Democrats may use the strategy the Republicans deployed under Obama “which was basically to deny him everything.”

Other policy areas the Dems could look at is a re-examination of immigration reform, including revisiting the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy that shielded young people from deportation who came to the U.S. illegally with their parents.

“The Democrats were intending to do that before they lost control of the house a few years ago,” Langlois-Bertrand. “It would be interesting to see if something like that happened. Then again, I think it’s going to be very difficult for Democrats to step out of the shadow of this campaign of putting all their eggs in the basket of opposing Trump.”

WATCH: Democrats win control of House

Democrats will also now have broader investigatory powers and could resume the probe into Russia’s interference during the 2016 presidential election and Trump’s warm relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“They’ll have the power to investigate and indict, eventually, the president but certainly they’ll be investigating everything that Trump has been doing,” Robertson said.

House Republicans had concluded in March that there was “no collusion” between Russia and the Trump campaign, but a more bipartisan investigation in the Senate is ongoing. House and Senate committees can send subpoenas for documents and can compel witnesses to testify under oath.

READ MORE: Midterm election results could put the USMCA in jeopardy, which isn’t good for Canada

In addition to investigating the administration’s stance toward Moscow, Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) could also investigate Trump’s potential conflicts of interests abroad, including the Trump Organization’s dealings around the world. Some Democrats have already vowed to force the release of his tax returns.

And while calls to impeach Trump will likely increase with a House controlled by the democrats, it’s unlikely to happen as they do not control the Senate.

“I think the chance of impeachment in the House is high but the chances of it succeeding with the Senate voting are very slim,” Robertson said. “I think he’s likely to be around unless he chooses to resign, and he’s certainly given no indication of that.”

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

Democratic leaders have also appeared reluctant to support impeachment as special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe into Russian election interference and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia continues.

The gridlock could also doom the new U.S-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA) that Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has been working to renegotiate but has not yet been ratified.

The USMCA is expected to be ratified with little difficulty by Mexico and by Canada, as the Trudeau Liberals hold a majority.

Langlois-Bertrand said that although many Democrats – especially in states bordering Canada – were happy after the USMCA was renegotiated, the Dems will have to spin it as a win for their base and not be seen as supporting Trump.

“They’ll have to explain why they would support Trump and this victory which makes it much more difficult and unlikely,” he said. “It will result in a very rocky road for the ratification of the treaty.”

© 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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