This article titled “Democrats move to hold Barr in contempt over failure to release full Mueller report – live” was written by Amanda Holpuch in New York, for theguardian.com on Monday 6th May 2019 20.50 Asia/Kolkata
The top Republican on the House Judiciary committee, representative Doug Collins, of Georgia, was critical of Wednesday’s planned vote on contempt for Attorney General William Barr.
“Democrats have launched a proxy war smearing the attorney general when their anger actually lies with the president and the special counsel, who found neither conspiracy nor obstruction,” Collins said.
Collins said the upcoming vote is “illogical and disingenuous” as negotiations are underway with the Justice Department for access, according to the AP.
Donald Trump is complaining about disaster funding to Puerto Rico, again.
On Twitter, Trump said Puerto Rico has already received more money from Congress than any state in the history of the US and complained Democrats won’t back a bill that gives disaster relief money to states including Georgia, North Carolina and Alabama.
“Puerto Rico should be very happy and the Dems should stop blocking much needed Disaster Relief!” Trump tweeted.
The president is in a standoff with Democrats, who want a disaster aid funding bill to include money for Puerto Rico, as well as the others states.
In the tweets, Trump said Puerto Rico had received $91bn in disaster relief funding – which is not true. There has been $41bn in announced funding. The additional $50bn is money that one internal estimate said could need to be committed in the long-term.
This weekend, Boston Red Sox manager, Alex Cora, said he wouldn’t visit the White House to celebrate the team’s 2018 World Series win because of the Trump administration’s response to the hurricane. Cora is Puerto Rican. Several other Red Sox players have also said they would be skipping the ceremony.
Since Hurricane Maria devastated the entire island of Puerto Rico in September 2017, Trump has routinely minimized, dismissed or ignored the scale of destruction– including denying the official death toll.
The US House judiciary committee took its first step to hold the attorney general, William Barr, in contempt of Congress this morning, after Barr failed to provide a copy of the unredacted Mueller report before the committee’s deadline.
On Wednesday, the committee will debate a resolution and a 27-page report on Barr being held in contempt, then hold a vote on the resolution. If the vote goes through, it will move to a full vote in the House to authorize legal proceedings.
House Judiciary committee chairman, Jerrold Nadler, said in a statement:
Even in redacted form, the Special Counsel’s report offers disturbing evidence and analysis that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice at the highest levels. Congress must see the full report and underlying evidence to determine how to best move forward with oversight, legislation, and other constitutional responsibilities.
Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, just navigated through a swarm of photographers and television cameras outside his apartment in New York City, before hopping into a black SUV to take him to prison, about 70 miles north of the city.
Cohen made a brief statement to reporters:
I hope that when I rejoin my family and friends that the country will be in a place without xenophobia, injustice and lies at the helm of our country. There still remains much to be told and I look forward to the day the day I can tell the truth.
Cohen was sentenced last December to three years in prison for tax evasion, lying to Congress and campaign finance violations. He is the third former Trump aide to go to prison in the past 12 months.
2020: Booker unveils gun violence prevention plan
2020 update: New Jersey senator Cory Booker, a Democrat, this morning unveiled his plan to tackle gun violence – which in 2017 saw gun deaths in the US rise to its highest rate in more than 20 years.
Booker’s campaign outlined the ambitious plan on Medium. It included several measures which Booker said would be a focus on day one of his presidency:
- Universal background checks.
- Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
- More funding for gun violence research.
- Requiring gun owners to obtain a license to purchase and own a firearm.
- A national database to register and track guns.
- Repealing a law that protects the gun industry from nearly all lawsuits.
- Require “microstamping,” which helps trace shell casings to a specific weapon.
- Expand the law so people found guilty of non-felony abuse for violence against a partner of former partner are prohibited from purchasing a firearm – known as the “boyfriend loophole.”
Donald Trump shocked global financial markets this morning with an unexpected threat to further raise tariffs on Chinese-made goods.
In September, Trump imposed a 10% tariff on $200bn in goods from China, including food, chemicals and electronics. On Twitter last night, Trump said he planned to hike that tariff to 25%. He also said another $325bn in goods would be subject to the 25% tariff.
This has upended global stock markets after months of seemingly positive negotiations between the US and China. Trump himself has declared that the discussions were moving in a positive direction, helping to boost global markets anticipating a positive outcome from the talks.
China’s market closed down 5.8% on Monday, its worst day since Feb 2016. Europe and US markets also fell, with oil prices – a benchmark for global trade – falling sharply.
Liu He, Beijing’s lead trade negotiator, was due in Washington this week for trade talks that experts predicted would be the last round of discussions before reaching a deal. China has not announced how Trump’s announcement will impact Liu’s travel plans.
And if you’re wondering, who pays for these tariffs? A long explanation is here. The quick version: Companies pay these tariffs when they import goods from China, despite Trump’s claims they are paid by China. US importers then decide to either pass the increased costs on to consumers by raising prices, absorb the cost and take a hit to their profits, try to negotiate costs down or find outside suppliers.
Nick Twidale, Sydney-based analyst at Rakuten Securities Australia, told the Guardian:
There is still a question of whether this is one of the famous Trump negotiation tactic, or are we really going to see some drastic increase in tariffs. If it’s the latter we’ll see massive downside pressure across all markets.
Trump reverses position on Mueller testimony
Happy Monday and welcome to today’s politics live blog. The Mueller report saga is far from over.
Donald Trump has reversed his earlier position on whether special counsel Robert Mueller should be allowed to testify before a Congressional committee about his 448-page report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Last night, Trump tweeted “Bob Mueller should not testify,” backing away from an earlier claim that he would support William Barr’s decision on whether Mueller should testify. The attorney general has said it would be fine if he did.
Barr is also due to respond to Representative Jerry Nadler, the House judiciary committee chairman, who gave the attorney general a Monday deadline to provide an unredacted version of the Mueller report.
Trump has repeatedly mischaracterized the report’s findings. Mueller did not assess collusion because it is not a legal term and instead focused on potential criminal conspiracy between the Trump 2016 campaign and Russia. Mueller said there was not sufficient evidence to establish criminal charges for obstruction, but wrote the president couldn’t be exonerated from such allegations, either.
- The president’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is set to begin serving his three-year prison sentence today in New York. Cohen is the third Trump campaign aide to go to prison in the past 12 months.
- Trump unexpectedly announced he would further raise tariffs on Chinese-made goods, sending global financial markets tumbling.
- And the US is sending an aircraft carrier and a bomber task force to the Middle East in response to “escaltory indications” from Iran, according to National Security Adviser, John Bolton, who did not identify what caused the US to escalate tensions in the region.
We’ll have more on all this throughout the morning, as well as rolling updates through the day.
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