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Democrats to meet in the next few weeks to discuss impeachment of Trump, key lawmaker says

Democrats to meet in the next few weeks to discuss impeachment of Trump, key lawmaker saysHouse Democrats will hold a meeting to discuss whether to pursue impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, a key lawmaker said on Sunday.House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff said on Fox News Sunday that the House Democratic caucus will meet in the coming weeks to discuss the matter.“That’s going to be a very consequential decision and one that I’m going to reserve judgment on until we’ve had a chance to fully deliberate on it,” Mr Schiff said.In an appearance on ABC News’ “This Week,” Mr Schiff also said that while the findings of the Mueller report are “serious and damning,” he does not believe the Senate would convict Mr Trump if the House were to impeach him.“Now, it may be that we undertake an impeachment nonetheless. I think what we are going to have to decide as a caucus is: What is the best thing for the country?” he said.Democrats have been divided over impeachment since the Thursday release of special counsel Robert Mueller III’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.On Friday, two 2020 Democratic presidential contenders – Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Julián Castro, who was housing and urban development secretary in the Obama administration – seized on the report’s findings to make the case for impeachment.But others, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., have urged members of their party to hold off on any impeachment proceedings and instead continue their investigations of Mr Trump.The Democratic split grew Sunday as another presidential candidate, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, said it was too soon to formally open impeachment proceedings.Ryan said that it was “pretty clear” that the president obstructed justice and that the Mueller report portrayed a “very, very, very serious” set of circumstances, but that House committees should continue with their oversight of Mr Trump.“Let the Judiciary Committee look at this,” Ryan said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” stressing that Democrats need to “educate the American people” on the investigation. “Let’s see where that leads.”Mr Trump has sought to discredit portions of the Mueller report, including in a Friday tweet in which he dismissed assertions that he may have obstructed justice as “total bullshit.”On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trump’s personal attorney, defended the president’s tweet.“There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians,” Mr Giuliani said on “State of the Union,” suggesting that campaigns regularly receive information from unusual sources.Mr Giuliani said he did not think his own 2008 presidential campaign would have accepted information from Russian sources but maintained that it would not have been illegal to have done so.“There’s no crime,” he told host Jake Tapper.The Washington Post



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After months clamoring for Mueller's findings, Congress weighs what's next. First, a subpoena for everything

After months clamoring for Mueller's findings, Congress weighs what's next. First, a subpoena for everythingCongress is wrestling with how to respond to revelations in special counsel Robert Mueller's report, but will start by seeking more information.



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Delayed by Notre-Dame, Macron to answer protests next week

Delayed by Notre-Dame, Macron to answer protests next weekFrench President Emmanuel Macron is to outline a reform plan drawn up in response to nationwide protests next week after the key policy action was delayed by the Notre-Dame fire, the presidency said Friday. Macron will hold a press conference on Thursday at 6:00 pm (1600 GMT) to make the announcements. It was to have set out his recipe for ending five months of often violent “yellow vest” protests that have rocked France.



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Attorney General Barr: Mueller Report Released in the Next Week

Attorney General Barr: Mueller Report Released in the Next WeekIt is a credit to Attorney General Bill Barr that his testimony yesterday morning before a House Appropriations subcommittee seemed, for the most part, like a nonevent.Ostensibly, the subject of the hearing was the Justice Department’s $ 29.2 billion budget request for fiscal year 2020. But because the hearing was the AG’s first appearance on Capitol Hill since his March 24 letter outlining the conclusions of the Mueller report, that topic — specifically, the frenzied anticipation of Barr’s release of a redacted version of the special counsel’s report (said to be 300 to 400 pages in length) — took center stage.Democrats were loaded for bear, but Barr warded off their jabs, explaining the process by which the report is being reviewed and making some news along the way.Here are the major takeaways.The attorney general will release the Mueller report to Congress and the public within the next week. (Note that Congress is scheduled to take its two-week spring break starting Friday).The internal Justice Department review and redaction of the report continues to be a collaboration between the attorney general and the special counsel, and that process has gone smoothly.When the report is released, the redactions will be color-coded so that readers will know the rationale for each excision: grand-jury material, classified information, ongoing investigation, or Justice Department privacy policy (apparently to be invoked on behalf of peripheral figures, not the main players). These categories of redaction were addressed in the attorney general’s March 29 letter.Barr will engage with congressional leaders on the redactions to determine whether there may and should be additional disclosure.Once again, the attorney general explained that his March 24 letter was merely a synopsis of the special counsel’s bottom-line conclusions (along with an explanation of his own conclusion on the obstruction issue, on which Mueller opted not to make a prosecutorial judgment). Barr did not undertake to “summarize” the Mueller report, and assertions that he provided a misleading summary are unfounded. There will not be a summary of the report; there will be the report — excised as described above.Special Counsel Mueller was given an opportunity to review the attorney general’s letter outlining the report’s conclusions but declined to do that. (I suspect that is because the report made those conclusions quite clear — and, on the matter of obstruction, made it clear that the special counsel presented evidence on both sides of the question but did not draw a conclusion. Mueller, who has known Barr for decades, had no reason to doubt that the conclusions would be accurately rendered.)The Justice Department does not intend to seek a court order permitting disclosure of grand-jury material. As I pointed out in a column last Friday, in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Justice Department took the position that judges have no authority to disclose outside of the exceptions to grand-jury secrecy laid out in Rule 6(e) (Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure). Last Friday, in McKeever v. Barr, the court agreed with the Justice Department. The Rule 6(e) exceptions do not provide for disclosure to Congress. It would thus make no sense to seek a disclosure order.The attorney general added that if House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.) wants to argue that there is a legal basis for disclosure outside of Rule 6(e), he will hear the chairman out. (As I’ve pointed out, Congress enacted Rule 6(e) and could enact legislation amending it to permit disclosure of grand-jury material to Congress in special-counsel investigations.)Barr said that Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz’s inquiry into aspects of the Trump-Russia investigation (including alleged FISA abuse) will be released by June, and perhaps as early as May.Importantly, the attorney general also stated that he is looking into the conduct of the Justice Department and the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, including what triggered the probe’s initiation.Barr said that he had not yet seen the criminal referrals that Representative Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, has said House Republicans would be submitting to the Justice Department this week. These referrals are said to focus on the origination of the Trump-Russia investigation, the use of FISA surveillance, obstructing congressional investigations, and leaking classified information. In his testimony today, the attorney general declined to prejudge the referrals; he indicated that, as a matter of course, the Justice Department will review any congressional referral and, if there is a predicate for an investigation, the matter will be investigated.In the meantime, we await the Mueller report’s imminent release.



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Explainer: Israeli election results: what happens next?

Explainer: Israeli election results: what happens next?By Maayan Lubell JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main challenger Benny Gantz both claimed victory in Israel's election on Tuesday. Israeli TV exit polls produced differing results about who will emerge as the leader of the largest single party, and the polls have been wrong in the past. So both sides still have all to play for. However, there are indications that Netanyahu has a clearer path to forming a coalition government with other right-wing, far-right and religious parties. …



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I Am the Rabbi of Tree of Life Synagogue. Here Is a Simple Thing We All Can Do to Help Stop the Next Christchurch

I Am the Rabbi of Tree of Life Synagogue. Here Is a Simple Thing We All Can Do to Help Stop the Next ChristchurchA reflection on pain and the power of goodness



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AP Explains: What's next in Venezuela's political stand-off?

AP Explains: What's next in Venezuela's political stand-off?CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A previously little-known Venezuelan congressman, Juan Guaidó, leaped to the front stage of Venezuela's political conflict early this year by declaring himself interim president in a bid to force the removal of President Nicolas Maduro.



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Vietnamese defendant in Kim Jong Nam trial may walk free next month after plea deal

Vietnamese defendant in Kim Jong Nam trial may walk free next month after plea dealA Vietnamese woman accused of assassinating Kim Jong-un’s half-brother pled guilty to a lesser charge on Monday and may now be freed in early May.  Doan Thi Huong, 29, had been facing the death penalty after being charged with the murder of Kim Jong Nam, 45, who died in February 2017 after the Vietnamese woman and an accomplice allegedly smeared toxic VX agent on his face at Kuala Lumpur airport.  Her high-profile trial in a Malaysian court ended abruptly on Monday after prosecutors offered to reduce the murder charge to a lesser one of “causing hurt by a dangerous weapon.” Ms Doan accepted the plea deal and was sentenced to just over three years in prison, with the jail term backdated to her arrest in 2017.  “It is my view that the length of imprisonment would serve the interest of justice,” said Judge Azmi Ariffin, as he announced the verdict. He told Ms Doan that she was “very very lucky” and he wished her “all the best.” The defendant stood up in the dock and thanked the judge, prosecutors and the Malaysian and Vietnamese governments.  As she left the courtroom, she told reporters she was happy and hoped to be a singer and actress when she returned to Vietnam.  Kim Jong Nam was murdered at Kuala Lumpur's international airport in 2017 Credit: Shizuo Kambayashi/AP Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, her lawyer, said she was expected to be freed by the first week of May, after a one third reduction in her sentence for good behaviour.  Ms Doan had been the sole remaining suspect on trial for the painful, public death of Kim whose body seized up and organs shut down within minutes of inhaling the VX agent in the departures hall of the busy international airport.  Siti Aisyah, an alleged Indonesian accomplice, was released last month without charge after high level lobbying from her government.  Vietnam also publicly appealed to the Malaysian authorities for the fair treatment and acquittal of Ms Doan who her lawyers said had been left “traumatised” that she had been left to face charges alone.  The two women, from impoverished backgrounds and with aspirations in showbusiness, claimed that they had been duped into believing they were actors in a reality TV prank show and had no intention to murder Kim.  Their legal teams argued that the women had been cynically used as pawns in an audacious Cold War-style assassination of a potential future challenger to Kim Jong-un, who maintains an iron grip on power in reclusive North Korea.  Four North Korean suspects in the murder remain at large, although Pyongyang has always denied any state involvement in the crime.  Le Quy Qunyh, the Vietnamese ambassador to Malaysia, said he was “very happy” that Ms Doan had been released and thanked the Vietnamese and Malaysian governments.  “But I have to say that Doan Thi Huong is a victim in this case, like the Indonesian citizen, Siti Aisyah,” he added.



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Trump threatens to shut border with Mexico next week

Trump threatens to shut border with Mexico next weekThe president returns to a familiar threat as Democrats continue to deny him funding for construction of a border wall.



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What's Next in Brexit? A Cliff-Edge and a Summit: Timeline

What's Next in Brexit? A Cliff-Edge and a Summit: TimelineMay’s team says she’s going to keep fighting to get her a done quickly enough to avoid a long extension that would require the U.K. to take part in European elections — but it’s far from clear the EU will agree. April 1: Lawmakers to vote on alternatives to May’s Brexit deal. By now the U.K. has to decide if it’s holding European Parliament elections.



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