House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a blistering statement Sunday that Attorney General William Barr is “not a neutral observer,” urging the full release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report after Barr penned a letter summarizing Mueller’s findings.
Pelosi, D-Calif., and Schumer, D-N.Y., said Barr’s letter to Congress “raises as many questions as it answers.”
In their joint statement, the leaders said Barr’s past “bias” against the special counsel’s inquiry showed he was “not in a position to make objective determinations.”
They added, “the fact that Mueller’s report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public without any further delay.”
Barr wrote that Mueller did not establish evidence that President Trump’s team or any associates of the Trump campaign had conspired with Russia to sway the 2016 election – “despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.” He also wrote that on obstruction-of-justice claims, “The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’”
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., also released a statement dovetailing with top Democratic leadership: “Attorney General Barr has the authority to make the full Mueller findings public with minimal redactions. He must do so as quickly as possible. The ‘summary’ document he provided today creates more questions than it answers, particularly with respect to obstruction of justice by the President.”
He added: “The American people – who for two years have waited patiently for the Mueller investigation to conclude – deserve the full truth in Special Counsel Mueller’s own words.”
The heads of three of the House’s most influential committees also said the full report on Russian election interference and Trump must be made public.
Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. and Elijah Cummings, D-Md. – the chairs respectively of the House Intelligence, Judiciary and Oversight Committees – issued a joint statement Sunday, noting: “We … call for Attorney General Barr to come forward to testify before the House Judiciary Committee without delay. Far from the ‘total exoneration’ claimed by the President, the Mueller report expressly does not exonerate the President. Instead, it ‘sets out evidence on both sides of the question’ of obstruction—including the evidence that President Trump attempted to obstruct justice.”
They added: "These shortcomings in today’s letter are the very reason our nation has a system of separation of powers. We cannot simply rely on what may be a partisan interpretation of facts uncovered during the course of a 22-month review of possible wrongdoing by the President. The American people deserve to see the facts and judge the President’s actions for themselves.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Rep. Al Green, the Texas Democrat who has pushed to impeach President Trump every year that the commander-in-chief has been in office, said Sunday that "impeachment is not dead," despite findings from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe showing the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia.
The congressman tweeted that Mueller’s report, which was submitted on Friday and the key findings of which were released Sunday, "did NOT investigate bigotry emanating from the Presidency harming our country."
He continued: "The findings do NOT negate the President’s bigotry. As long as bigotry influences the President’s policies, I will continue to seek his impeachment. #ImpeachmentIsNotDead."
The Democrat said during his interview that he planned to force an impeachment vote against Trump, despite a lack of support from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
“It’s not about any one person, it’s really about the concept of ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’ and the notion that we have a democracy. And, within this democracy, our Constitution accords this right to bring impeachment to the floor for every member of our caucus," Green said.
On the first day of the new Congress this year, Green and Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., introduced articles of impeachment against the president. The pair also pushed for impeachment in 2017 and 2018, to no avail.
Key findings of Mueller’s report were released on Sunday by Attorney General William Barr, who wrote a four-page summary of the report’s "principal conclusions."
According to Barr, the special counsel’s office "did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated" with Russians who worked on hacking efforts hoping to sway the 2016 presidential election "despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign."
The nearly two-year-long investigation "did not draw a conclusion" on whether Trump obstructed justice, but did hand over the responsibility of determining "whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime" to the attorney general’s office.
Barr stated that "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."
Fox News’ Victor Garcia contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
CAPITOL HILL – Iowa had upset Cincinnati. Oregon was tipping off against Wisconsin. And everyone had just learned that the basketball team at the University of California-Irvine is known as the Anteaters.
However, few inside the Beltway could exhaust time on March Madness and travails of the hardwood.
It was “news o’clock” in Washington.
It went down this way because things like this always go down this way in Washington.
Last week, there was conjecture that the report may come out Tuesday. Even Wednesday.
Really? Wednesday? Did anyone truly think the Mueller probe would end in the middle of the “First Four” play-in games in Dayton? North Carolina Central versus North Dakota State? Doubtful.
That’s just the way Washington rolls.
Dinner plans delayed. Date nights fractured. Reporters already in the bar sipping cocktails, rushing back to the office. Weekend excursions to Virginia wineries postponed.
Everyone would be on the clock this weekend in Washington.
There were few if any lawmakers rushing about the Capitol at 7 p.m. Friday. The House and Senate had been in recess for over a week. But, reporters were all on the air from the Russell Rotunda, hammering away at their computers in the media galleries and walking through the Senate subway station.
All they knew for sure on Friday was that the report was in Barr’s possession, the attorney general would soon produce a memo to brief lawmakers on the findings (that would come Sunday, during the Washington/North Carolina tilt), and Mueller wouldn’t indict anyone else in connection with his probe.
That wasn’t much of a narrative to go on. But perhaps Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said it best, channeling Winston Churchill: “It’s the end of the beginning. But it’s not the beginning of the end.”
That didn’t stop lawmakers in both parties from firing a fusillade of news releases to reporters on Friday and Saturday. They speculated on Mueller’s conclusions and contoured the story to their own benefit.
On Saturday, Democrats hailed the fact that Mueller’s inquest produced more than 30 indictments. They pointed to the convictions of President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and onetime confidante Michael Cohen.
“The reports that there will be no new indictments confirm what we’ve known all along: there was never any collusion with Russia,” said House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., on Friday night. “The only collusion was between Democrats and many in the media who peddled this lie because they continue to refuse to accept the results of the 2016 election.”
Mueller launched his investigation in Ma, 2017. Many Republicans complained along the way about the length of his inquiry. Presidential loyalists claimed the investigation dragged on too long.
For context, the Watergate investigation lasted four years. The Iran-Contra probe consumed six-and-a-half years. The examination of the land deal in Arkansas known as “Whitewater,” involving President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, transmogrified into the Monica Lewinsky investigation. It absorbed seven years.
The House of Representatives voted 420-0 (with four Republicans voting “present”) on a non-binding resolution earlier this month to urge Mueller and Barr to publicize the report. It’s unclear if that will happen – although some lawmakers have suggested they subpoena the document.
Things played out much differently when then-Independent Counsel Ken Starr investigated President Clinton. That’s because Starr’s probe was fundamentally different than the charge for Mueller. Starr operated under a different statute as an “independent counsel.” The old law, now expired, granted Starr greater latitude. That’s how the probe started in 1994. It was a look at Whitewater and the curious death of Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster – initially under Independent Counsel Robert Fiske – before morphing into the president’s involvement with Lewinsky.
Because of the law, Starr reported only to a three-judge panel in Washington – outside the realm of the Justice Department. Starr delivered his report to Congress in the late summer of 1998. The House of Representatives voted a few days later to publicize the report.
Following the publication of the Starr Report, some lawmakers claimed the statute was too broad and granted independent counsels too much leeway. Congress didn’t renew the independent counsel statute. It wrote a new one for “special counsels” in 1999. Special counsels would now be under the aegis of the Justice Department.
There would be more oversight for special counsels under the DOJ umbrella. But, questions would emerge about the “independence” of such special counsels, ultimately reporting to the attorney general.
House Democrats convened a conference call with rank-and-file members Saturday afternoon. Six House Democratic committee chairs were the keynote speakers on the call. They told Democrats that just because Mueller’s investigation was over didn’t mean that everything’s wrapped up.
Some sources with whom Fox News spoke downplayed the idea that the call was an effort to placate Democrats who want to go for the jugular with the administration. However, other sources indicated that Democrats were trying to rein in colleagues and get them behind their probes.
One prevailing issue on the call was whether the DOJ decided that a sitting president couldn’t be indicted. In other words, perhaps Mueller wasn’t willing to prosecute or lacked enough information to prosecute the president, so what could Congress do? Democratic chairs made the point they could go further if the facts take them there.
Democrats told Fox News they never mentioned impeachment on the call.
By the time Buffalo played Texas Tech on Sunday afternoon, Democrats already were suggesting the possibility of a whitewash, pinning the blame on Barr.
“Attorney General Barr’s letter raises as many questions as it answers,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in a joint statement. “Given Mr. Barr’s public record of bias against the Special Counsel’s inquiry, he is not a neutral observer and is not in a position to make objective determinations about the report.”
Many Democrats will now demand that Barr and Mueller testify before Congress to see if there is any daylight between them. Barr wrote in his letter that he’d drawn conclusions with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein without consulting Mueller. The missive represented Barr and Rosenstein’s interpretations of what Mueller authored. Therefore, lawmakers will want to see if Barr or Rosenstein leaped to conclusions of their own or if the letter was consistent with Mueller’s findings.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and other committee chairs have been pushing for documents from the administration. They will want to cull through the information to see if they reach a similar conclusion as Mueller, Barr or Rosenstein did. They will want to decide for themselves if the findings are justified.
Democrats must be careful politically if they forge ahead with deeper inquiries. They risk overplaying their hand if they question what Mueller found and Barr’s summation. Democrats won control of the House, not because of success in districts represented by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. They flipped the House because of wins by moderate Democrats representing battleground districts in Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico, California, New Jersey, Michigan, Maine, and Iowa. Pushing too hard against the president could threaten the capacity for Democrats to hold these seats.
By the same token, Democrats could find it advantageous to hammer on the president. If that’s the case, they would be lifting a page from the GOP playbook. House Republicans assembled a Select Committee to probe the U.S. response to the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. In a 2015 interview on Fox News, Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., then the House majority leader, suggested that Republicans commissioned the Benghazi Committee to weaken Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate. Democrats could use investigations to raise doubts about President Trump and his administration as 2020 approaches.
Finally, Republicans in Congress don’t have a rich agenda for the year. They’ve spent much of their time criticizing how Democrats dealt with the remarks of liberal Democratic freshmen. Congressional Republicans likely will modify their message to denounce Democrats for still pursuing Trump, despite the Mueller report and the Barr memo.
Congress rolls back into town Monday after a week-long recess. The University of Central Florida nearly upset Duke.
We’ll see what news is on tap next weekend for the Sweet Sixteen.
Source: Fox News Politics
Vice President Mike Pence said that Sunday was "a great day for America" after it was revealed Special Counsel Robert Mueller determined the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
"After two years of investigation, and reckless accusations by many Democrats and members of the media, the Special Counsel has confirmed what President Trump said along; there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election," Pence said in a statement.
He said that Attorney General William Barr — who released a four-page summary on Sunday of Mueller’s investigation, that was submitted to the Justice Department on Friday — "confirmed that there was no obstruction of justice."
"This total vindication of the President of the United States and our campaign should be welcomed by every American who cherishes the truth and the integrity of our elections."
Pence said that Americans "can be confident" that the Trump administration will "continue to focus" on what’s most important to the U.S., and added: "We can only hope that Democrats, who have spent so much time on these discredited allegations, will join us to advance an agenda that will make our nation even more prosperous and more secure for every American."
Barr’s summary said that Mueller’s investigation "did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated" with Russians involved in hacking efforts attempting to sway the 2016 election "despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign."
The investigation, according to the attorney general’s letter, also found that Mueller’s office had insufficient evidence to conclude whether Trump obstructed justice related to the probe, but handed over the responsibility of making that determination over to the attorney general’s office.
The report found that on the issue of obstruction, "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."
Fox News’ Matt Leach contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
ATLANTA – California Sen. Kamala Harris sent a subtle signal to the old-guard of Democratic politics that every era has its end.
At an Atlanta church service dedicated to youth Sunday, the presidential candidate compared leadership to a relay race in which each generation must ask themselves "what do we do during that period of time when we carry that baton."
Then she added with a smile that for "the older leaders, it also becomes a question of let’s also know when to pass the baton."
The 54-year-old senator — one of the younger contenders for the White House in 2020 — did not mention any other presidential hopeful or tie her remarks to the Democratic presidential scramble. Her spokeswoman said she only wanted to encourage the youth at Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Her commentary to the congregation once led by Martin Luther King Jr. comes as former Vice President Joe Biden, 76, considers whether to join a field that already includes Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is 77. Both men have run for president before and fallen short.
‘Biden and Sanders are seen as strong contenders for the Democratic nomination, though other candidates and some voters have emphasized the need for a more youthful approach to try and beat President Donald Trump in the general election. Several other candidates in the race, including two governors, are also in their late sixties.
Harris noted Sunday that King was 26 when he led the Montgomery Bus Boycotts that pushed him to the forefront of the civil rights movement.
Later Sunday, Harris told a rally at Morehouse College in Atlanta that Attorney General William Barr should testify under oath on Capitol Hill, rather than just submit the written summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation.
The Justice Department said Sunday that Mueller’s team did not find evidence that Trump’s campaign "conspired or coordinated" with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. Mueller also investigated whether Trump obstructed justice but did not come to a definitive answer.
Other highlights of Sunday campaigning:
Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand assailed President Donald Trump as a coward who is "tearing apart the moral fabric of the vulnerable," as she officially started her campaign for president.
The senator spoke in New York Sunday, feet away from one of Trump’s signature properties, the Trump International Hotel and Tower.
She said that instead of building walls as Trump wants to do along the U.S.-Mexico border, Americans build bridges, community and hope.
Gillibrand also called for full release of Mueller’s report in the Russia investigation. Attorney General William Barr released a summary Sunday afternoon, but Democrats want to see the full details.
Gillibrand is trying to position herself in the crowded field of Democrats seeking the party’s nomination. While some hopefuls have shied away from mentioning Trump, Gillibrand has not hesitated to do so.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Sunday the National Rifle Association is holding "Congress hostage" when it comes to stemming gun violence.
The Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential candidate tells a campaign rally that if seven children were dying from a mysterious virus, "we’d pull out all the stops till we figured out what was wrong." But in terms of gun violence, she said the NRA "keeps calling the shots in Washington."
Warren finished a two-day campaign trip to New Hampshire with an event at a middle school in Conway Sunday afternoon.
Warren focused much of her speech on her approach to economics, but paid special attention to unions Sunday. She said more power needs to be put back in the hands of workers.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke told voters in Las Vegas Sunday that President Donald Trump bears blame for the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border but responsibility lies with everyone in the country to fix the situation.
O’Rourke spoke Sunday to more than 200 people packed into and snaking around a taco shop on the city’s north end. He said immigrant families are leaving their home countries and journeying on foot because they have no other choice.
The former Texas congressman said desperate families were broken up in the U.S. when they were at their most vulnerable and desperate moments, and what happened to them "is on every single one of us."
Woodall reported from Conway, New Hampshire. Associated Press writers Juana Summers in New York and Michelle Price in Las Vegas contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News National
George Conway — the husband of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway — renewed his attacks on President Trump on Sunday, implying the president may have committed a crime in connection with the Russia investigation.
Responding to press secretary Sarah Sanders’ tweet that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office didn’t find that the Trump campaign "conspired or coordinated" with Russians to influence the 2016 election, Conway tweeted back at Sanders, referencing a quote attributed to Mueller.
"You misspelled ‘While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,’" he tweeted. "Pls fix. Thx."
Conway often questions Trump on Twitter, writing that the president has been unfit for office — much to the apparent dismay of his wife, Kellyanne.
“My husband has been very critical of the president publicly, which is unlike him because he’s usually a very private person,” the White House adviser told Maria Bartiromo during an interview on Fox Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria."
Last week, George Conway and Trump traded barbs on Twitter. The president called him a "loser."
"George Conway, often referred to as Mr. Kellyanne Conway by those who know him, is VERY jealous of his wife’s success & angry that I, with her help, didn’t give him the job he so desperately wanted," Trump said. "I barely know him but just take a look, a stone cold LOSER & husband from hell!"
In response, George tweeted: "You. Are. Nuts."
Kellyanne Conway told Fox News that Trump "is protective of me, that’s what people really should take from this. I’m not being asked to choose between my marriage and my job, Donald Trump has never made me feel that way. I know George is quoted recently as saying ‘I wish she didn’t work there.’"
This was not the first time a Trump administration official has been put in an awkward spot due to the president’s disagreements with a spouse. In 2017, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao found herself in a similar situation when Trump criticized her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for lack of action on health care.
Fox News’ Liam Quinn contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Alan M. Dershowitz, the attorney and Harvard Law professor emeritus, slammed Robert Mueller on Sunday, saying the special counsel engaged in a “cop-out” by stating that his report neither exonerated President Trump nor concluded he’d committed a crime related to obstruction of justice.
Dershowitz said Mueller seemed to try having it both ways. “It sounds like a law-school exam,” he said, adding that the report sounded wishy-washy. “Shame on Mueller.”
The special counsel "did not draw a conclusion" as to whether obstruction of justice took place, according to a letter with the key findings released Sunday by Attorney General William Barr.
Dershowitz also said it was a great day for Trump and a "very bad day for CNN" given how many of the left-leaning cable network’s personalities and guests predicted the probe would lead to a slew of indictments for collusion and obstruction. “They should be hanging their heads in shame.”
Barr’s four-page letter, addressed to top Democrats and Republicans on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, offered key insight into the nearly two-year-long investigation, the results of which were submitted to the Justice Department on Friday.
Dershowitz said the job of the prosecutor is to make a binary decision, yes or no: yes means indictment and no means “shut up.”
He also said Mueller failed to have the "guts" to say yes or no, despite all the time and money spent on the probe.
Mueller was assigned to the job in May 2017 by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw much of his work. Mueller’s office "issued more than 2,800 subpoenas" and executed nearly 500 search warrants throughout the duration of the investigation, which lasted close to two years.
The office also "obtained more than 230 orders for communication records, issued almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses" during the probe.
Source: Fox News Politics
ESCONDIDO, Calif. – A note referencing the recent terrorist attacks in New Zealand was found at the scene of a possible arson fire at a Southern California mosque, police said Sunday.
Nobody was hurt, and members of the Islamic Center of Escondido were able to extinguish the small blaze before firefighters around 3:15 a.m., officials said.
The incident was being investigated as arson and a possible hate crime, said police in the city about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of downtown San Diego.
A note was found in the parking lot referencing the shootings this month that killed 50 people at mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, police Lt. Chris Lick said. He did not elaborate about the contents of the note.
Investigators did not release information about a suspect.
The fire caused minor damage to the building’s exterior.
The Escondido mosque was created four years ago and serves several hundred people in the city of about 143,000 residents, member Yusef Miller said.
He told KNSD-TV that worshippers are "very on edge," but undeterred.
"We won’t stop praying," Miller said. "We won’t stop gathering."
Source: Fox News National
ALGIERS, Algeria – Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s own party is rejecting his plans for a national conference aimed at quelling mass protests against his leadership.
The spokesman for the FLN party said Sunday on private TV channel Dzair News that the conference idea is "no longer valid" because it would involve unelected figures and the protesters reject it.
Spokesman Hocine Khaldoun said the solution to Algeria’s political crisis is "the election of a president capable of talking to the people."
The comments mark a new blow to 82-year-old Bouteflika, who has barely been seen in public since a 2013 stroke and has faced a month of protests.
Bouteflika canceled an April 18 election but proposed the national conference made up of various representatives of society to prepare new elections.
Source: Fox News World
CARACAS, Venezuela – A Venezuelan official says Russian aircraft arrived in Caracas this weekend as part of ongoing military cooperation between the two allies.
The official said Sunday that Russian military officials are visiting to discuss equipment maintenance and training, and strategy. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Flightradar24, a flight-tracking site, showed the flight path Saturday of what it listed as a Russian air force plane, apparently headed to Caracas while flying across the Caribbean.
Javier Mayorca, a Venezuelan journalist, tweeted that a Russian cargo plane with military equipment also arrived in Caracas on Saturday.
The reports could not be independently confirmed.
Russia backs Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who has rejected demands from the United States and dozens of other countries that he resign.
Source: Fox News World