Connect with us

World News

Democrats: Trump comments give green light to foreign election meddling

WASHINGTON: Democratic lawmakers accused President Donald Trump on Thursday of giving Russia the green light to interfere in the 2020 US presidential race, while a top Republican ally said Trump was wrong to say he would accept political dirt from foreign sources. The uproar followed televised comments in which the US president told ABC News…

Democrats: Trump comments give green light to foreign election meddling

WASHINGTON: Democratic lawmakers accused President Donald Trump on Thursday of giving Russia the green light to interfere in the 2020 US presidential race, while a top Republican ally said Trump was wrong to say he would accept political dirt from foreign sources.
The uproar followed televised comments in which the US president told ABC News he would be willing to listen to such damaging information about political opponents as he seeks re-election.
“I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump said in an interview aired on Wednesday.
“It’s not an interference. They have information, I think I’d take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI — if I thought there was something wrong.”
Trump’s comments came less than three months after Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted a report that found Russia waged a hacking and influence campaign to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
Democratic lawmakers roundly condemned the remarks. “What the president said last night shows clearly, once again, over and over again, that he does not know the difference between right and wrong,” said US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress.
While some 2020 Democratic presidential candidates renewed their call to impeach the president, Trump’s comments did not seem to move House Democrats who have been on the fence closer to initiating impeachment proceedings.
Trump’s statement drew a rebuke, however, from one of his closest allies in Congress, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
“I think it’s a mistake,” said Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
He accused Democrats of having accepted damaging information from foreign nationals on political opponents and said any public official contacted by a foreign government with an offer of help to their campaign should reject it and inform the FBI.
House of Representatives Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he was confident Trump was speaking hypothetically. Others prominent Republicans were outspoken in their discomfort, without naming Trump.
“It is never appropriate to allow a foreign government or its agents to interfere in our election process. Period,” said Republican Senator Mike Rounds.
Mitt Romney, a senator and former Republican presidential candidate, said it was “unthinkable” to accept adverse information on a political opponent from a foreign source. “It would strike at the very heart of our democracy,” he said.
Senate Democrats failed on Thursday to ram through legislation requiring US presidential campaigns to report to the FBI offers of help from an agent of a foreign government. The move was blocked by Republicans who control the chamber.
Senator Mark Warner, who pushed the legislation, recalled Trump’s “Russia, if you are listening” call for Moscow to dig up Clinton’s missing emails during the 2016 campaign.
“The President has given Russia the green light to interfere in the 2020 election,” Warner wrote on Twitter earlier.
’Thing of value’Any foreign contribution of “money or other thing of value” violates US campaign finance law. Legal experts say knowingly soliciting information from a foreign entity would also be illegal.In a statement on Twitter prefaced with the comment: “I would not have thought that I needed to say this,” Federal Election Commission Chair Ellen Weintraub warned political campaigns not to accept foreign help, saying it risked putting them “on the wrong of a federal investigation.”An FBI counterintelligence investigation of Russian election activities in the 2016 presidential election sparked Mueller’s probe, which confirmed US intelligence agencies’ findings that Russia worked to help Trump win.Mueller, whose investigation examined a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower that Trump’s campaign had with Russians promising dirt on Clinton, did not charge Trump campaign staff who attended the meeting.Trump defended his remarks in a flurry of tweets on Thursday morning in which he said it would be “ridiculous” to report his contacts with foreign leaders to the FBI.The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee expressed alarm at Trump’s comments.“The president has either learned nothing in the last two years or picked up exactly the wrong lesson — that he can accept gleefully foreign assistance again and escape the punishment of the law,” Representative Adam Schiff said.Democratic presidential candidates who renewed calls for Trump’s impeachment included US Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand and US Representative Eric Swalwell.“A foreign government attacked our 2016 elections to support Trump, Trump welcomed that help, and Trump obstructed the investigation. Now, he said he’d do it all over again. It’s time to impeach Donald Trump,” Warren said.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

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

*

code

World News

17 Chinese, Ukrainian seamen kidnapped off Cameroon

LIBREVILLE: President Ali Bongo of Gabon on Friday made his first live appearance in public nearly 10 months after suffering a stroke, attending ceremonies in the capital Libreville.Bongo, whose every move has been scrutinized for signs of ill health, attended commemorations on the eve of the country’s anniversary of independence, an AFP correspondent at the…

17 Chinese, Ukrainian seamen kidnapped off Cameroon

LIBREVILLE: President Ali Bongo of Gabon on Friday made his first live appearance in public nearly 10 months after suffering a stroke, attending ceremonies in the capital Libreville.Bongo, whose every move has been scrutinized for signs of ill health, attended commemorations on the eve of the country’s anniversary of independence, an AFP correspondent at the scene reported.It was the first time he had been seen in public outside the presidential palace since falling ill last October, except for appearances that were filmed and edited by Gabonese government or state media.Smiling, the 60-year-old head of state exchanged a few words with security officers before laying a wreath at the tomb of Gabon’s first president, Leon Mba.Bongo walked with a stick and an aide helped him to climb several steps. The ceremony lasted half an hour, which was shorter than in previous years.Speculation about Bongo’s ability to rule the small oil-rich country surged after he suffered a stroke on October 24.He was flown to Morocco for treatment, returning in January. During his extended absence, the army quashed a brief attempted coup.In May, he dismissed his vice president and minister of forests after a scandal erupted over the smuggling of precious timber.Ten members of Gabon’s political opposition, civil society and trade union movement have filed a suit requesting Bongo be assessed to see whether he is medically fit to continue in office.A lower court dismissed the case in May, saying that only the two houses of parliament, or the Constitutional Court acting at the behest of the government, were empowered to determine whether the president was unfit.But the Court of Appeal on Monday said it would hear an appeal by the plaintiffs and set a date for it — August 26.Bongo is scheduled to make a televised speech on Friday evening and then on Saturday attend an annual military parade to mark the country’s independence from France in 1960.Opposition figures have urged the public to turn out in large numbers on Saturday to gain a closer look at his health.Bongo succeeded his father Omar Bongo, who became head of state in 1967 and died in June 2009, leaving a legacy of corruption allegations.

Continue Reading

World News

Gabon’s Bongo in first live public appearance after stroke

ROME: Italy has evacuated a handful of medical cases from a Spanish migrant rescue ship off the coast of Lampedusa, as the boat remained in limbo on Friday despite a European deal to take in 134 people remaining onboard.Three migrants who suffered “medical complications which require specialized care” and an escort were brought to the…

Gabon’s Bongo in first live public appearance after stroke

ROME: Italy has evacuated a handful of medical cases from a Spanish migrant rescue ship off the coast of Lampedusa, as the boat remained in limbo on Friday despite a European deal to take in 134 people remaining onboard.Three migrants who suffered “medical complications which require specialized care” and an escort were brought to the southern Italian island of Lampedusa late on Thursday, Spanish charity Proactiva Open Arms said on Twitter.This is the umpteenth standoff between a charity vessel rescuing migrants making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean and Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, but this time set against the background of a political crisis in Rome.Thursday saw sparring between Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Salvini, who last week pulled his party’s support from the ruling coalition in the hope of toppling the 14-month-old government.Salvini’s anti-immigrant League party has been squabbling with coalition partner the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) over a host of issues.“France, Germany, Romania, Portugal, Spain and Luxembourg have told me that they are ready to welcome the migrants,” Conte said in an open letter to Salvini, who has sought to bar all NGO rescue vessels from entering Italian waters.In a distinct change of tone since the coalition disintegrated last week, Conte slammed what he called Salvini’s “obsessive focus” on an immigration policy reduced to the phrase “closed ports.”Salvini has taken a hard-line against migrants rescued at sea being brought to Italy, which he says bears an unfair burden as the first port of call for refugees from several countries.Responding to Conte, Salvini wrote on Facebook: “It is clear that without (my) resolve, the European Union would never have lifted a finger, leaving Italy and the Italians on their own like (previous governments) did for years.”The UN refugee agency welcomed the news of a deal to distribute the migrants but regretted it took so long.“People cannot be left at sea for days on end. Predictable, regional and fair approach urgently needed so no rescued person is again left at sea for so long,” the UNHCR tweeted.After Salvini pulled the plug on his coalition with M5S last week, he had hoped for a no-confidence vote but his gambit failed.The fate of the migrants aboard the Open Arms vessel, operated by Spanish charity Proactiva, found itself at the center of Italy’s political crisis.Earlier this month, Salvini signed a decree banning the Open Arms from Italian waters, saying it was to protect public order.But Proactiva appealed to an administrative court which on Wednesday suspended the decree.Salvini then signed a new one blocking the ship, but in a demonstration of his diminished power, Italy’s defense minister blocked it on Thursday.Elisabetta Trenta, an M5S party member with the authority to sign off on Salvini’s decree, announced that she has decided not to do so after “listening to my conscience.”It is estimated Salvini enjoys up to 38 percent support among the electorate, thanks largely to his hard-line against immigrants.Spokeswoman Vanessa Mock said the European Commission welcomed the willingness of member states to help relocate the migrants.The Commission is ready to help “once a solution has been found for the disembarkation of the persons rescued at sea. The situation where persons are stranded at sea for days and weeks on end is untenable.”The mainly African migrants aboard Open Arms had been plucked from boats in the Mediterranean this month with weather conditions encouraging more departures from Libya.Both Italy and Malta have refused the boat permission to dock and disembark its passengers.Five migrants disembarked at Lampedusa on Thursday “for psychological reasons,” the NGO said.Another rescue ship, the Ocean Viking, operated by SOS Mediterranee and Doctors without Borders (MSF), is also looking for a port to dock with more than 350 migrants on board.

Continue Reading

World News

Five dead as Pakistan, India exchange fire in Kashmir

LONDON: A man was taken to hospital after being stabbed Thursday outside Britain’s Home Office interior ministry in London.One man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of grievous bodily harm, the city’s Metropolitan Police said.The Home Office is responsible for tackling crime and the government has recently launched a campaign to deter people from…

Five dead as Pakistan, India exchange fire in Kashmir

LONDON: A man was taken to hospital after being stabbed Thursday outside Britain’s Home Office interior ministry in London.One man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of grievous bodily harm, the city’s Metropolitan Police said.The Home Office is responsible for tackling crime and the government has recently launched a campaign to deter people from carrying blades in a bid to combat a surge in knife crime.Police said they were called at 1:06 p.m. local time following a report of a man with a knife.“Officers attended to find one man with knife injuries,” the police said in a statement.“One man has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and taken to a police station.“Enquiries are ongoing into the exact circumstances of the incident.”The police initially reported the injuries were life-threatening but later said his injuries were not life threatening.The London Ambulance Service said the casualty was treated at the scene and taken to hospital.“We dispatched an incident response officer, a medic in a response car, a motorcycle paramedic and an ambulance crew,” a spokeswoman said.“We treated a man at the scene and took him to a major trauma center.”Figures out last month revealed that knife crime in England and Wales over the previous 12 months had soared to a record high of more than 43,500 offenses.The figures were up eight percent year-on-year.New Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated his commitment to tackling the “scourge” of knife crime as he took questions from the public live on Facebook on Wednesday.

Continue Reading