Connect with us

FOREIGN NEWS

William Barr to testify before Senate committee after reports of Mueller’s frustration – National

Published

on

William Barr to testify before Senate committee after reports of Mueller’s frustration National

[ad_1]

U.S. Attorney General William Barr will face lawmakers’ questions for the first time since releasing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report and amid new revelations Mueller expressed frustration to Barr about how the report’s findings were being portrayed.

The Senate hearing promises to be a dramatic showdown as Barr defends his actions before Democrats who accuse him of spinning the investigation’s findings in U.S. President Donald Trump’s favour.

READ MORE: Mueller didn’t like how William Barr characterized his report, and told him so in a letter

Barr’s appearance Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to highlight the partisan schism around Mueller’s report and the Justice Department’s handling of it. It will give the attorney general his most extensive opportunity to explain the department’s actions, including a press conference held before the report’s release, and for him to repair a reputation bruised by allegations that he’s the Republican president’s protector.

A major focus of the hearing is likely to be the Tuesday night revelation that Mueller told Barr, in a letter to the Justice Department and in a phone call, that he was frustrated with how the conclusions of his investigation were being portrayed.

Barr also is invited to appear Thursday before the Democratic-led House Judiciary panel, but the Justice Department said he would not testify if the committee insisted on having its lawyers question the attorney general.

WATCH: U.S. attorney general balks at closed-door hearing on Mueller report





Barr’s appearance Wednesday will be before a Republican-led committee chaired by a close ally of the president, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who is expected to focus on concerns that the early days of the FBI’s Russia investigation were tainted by law enforcement bias against Trump.

Democrats are likely to press Barr on statements and actions in the last six weeks that have unnerved them. The tense relations are notable given how Barr breezed through his confirmation process , picking up support from a few Democrats and offering reassuring words about the Justice Department’s independence and the importance of protecting the special counsel’s investigation.

The first hint of discontent surfaced last month when Barr issued a four-page statement that summarized what he said were the main conclusions of the Mueller report. In the letter, Barr revealed that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had cleared Trump of obstruction of justice after Mueller and his team found evidence on both sides of the question but didn’t reach a conclusion.

Barr is likely to defend himself by noting how he released the report on his own even though he didn’t have to under the special counsel regulations, and that doing so fulfilled a pledge he made at to be as transparent as the law allowed. Barr may say that he wanted to move quickly to give the public a summary of Mueller’s main findings as the Justice Department spent weeks redacting more sensitive information from the report.

READ: Full text of Mueller report summary by U.S. attorney general

After the letter’s release, Barr raised eyebrows anew when he told a congressional committee that he believed the Trump campaign had been spied on, a common talking point of the president and his supporters. A person familiar with Barr’s thinking has said Barr, a former CIA employee, did not mean spying in a necessarily inappropriate way and was simply referring to intelligence collection activities.

He also equivocated on a question of whether Mueller’s investigation was a witch hunt, saying someone who feels wrongly accused would reasonably view an investigation that way. That was a stark turnabout from his confirmation hearing, when he said he didn’t believe Mueller would ever be on a witch hunt.

Then came Barr’s April 18 press conference to announce the release of the Mueller report later that morning.

He repeated about a half dozen times that Mueller’s investigation had found no evidence of collusion between the campaign and Russia, though the special counsel took pains to note in his report that “collusion” was not a legal term and also pointed out the multiple contacts between the campaign and Russia.

WATCH: Mueller investigation did not establish Trump campaign conspired with Russia, Barr says





In remarks that resembled some of Trump’s own claims, he praised the White House for giving Mueller’s team “unfettered access” to documents and witnesses. He suggested the president had the right to be upset by the investigation, given his “sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks.”

It remained unclear Tuesday whether Barr would appear before the House committee. That panel’s Democratic chairman, Rep, Jerrold Nadler of New York, said witnesses could too easily filibuster when questioned by lawmakers restricted by five-minute time limits. Having lawyers do the questioning enables the committee “to dig down on an issue and pursue an issue.”

“And it’s not up to anybody from the executive branch to tell the legislative branch how to conduct our business,” Nadler said.

The committee will vote on allowing staff to question Barr at a separate meeting Wednesday, at the same time Barr takes questions from the Senate.

WATCH: William Barr addresses reasons why Muller Report is partly redacted





The top Republican on the House Judiciary panel, Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, sharply criticized the plan. Nadler “has taken a voluntary hearing and turned it into a sideshow,” Collins said.

The Justice Department’s stance appears consistent with the Trump administration’s broader strategy of “undermining Congress as an institution,” said Elliot Williams, who previously served as deputy assistant attorney general in the department’s legislative affairs office in the Obama administration.

He said that if he were still advising an attorney general, he would resist the idea of staff questioning a Cabinet official. “It’s a rational response to not want them questioning the attorney general,” Williams said.

That said, Williams added, “It’s an incredibly common practice in the House of Representatives and was a practice long before President trump or William Barr took their offices and will be a practice long after they’re gone.”



[ad_2]

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FOREIGN NEWS

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

FOREIGN NEWS

Harris accepts VP nomination

Published

on

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.”

Continue Reading

FOREIGN NEWS

Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

Trending