News Burst 11 September 2019 ~Jeffrey Epstein was a guest at Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday party at Windsor Castle.~Indonesia urges calm in Papua after two weeks of protests.~Mysterious radio signal detected by high-tech Chinese telescope.~Cybersecurity researcher receives € 2500 from Telegram for uncovering app bug.~Italian Govt wins first of two mandatory confidence vote in Parliament. […]
WASHINGTON — Democrats on the House committees set to hear testimony next week from former special counsel Robert Mueller believe the hearings will help Americans understand “the gravity of the president’s misconduct,” staff members told reporters.
“It is not that that there will be a big, dramatic new revelation necessarily, we’re not expecting that,” a Democratic staffer on the Judiciary Committee said Thursday in a briefing ahead of the hearings. “What’s important is there is truly shocking evidence of criminal misconduct by the president — not once but again and again and again — that would result in any other American being criminally charged in a multiple count indictment.”
The committees are anticipating that “not everybody is reading the book (Mueller’s report) but people will watch the movie,” an aide said.
Mueller is expected to appear publicly Wednesday for three hours before the Judiciary Committee followed by roughly two hours before the House Intelligence Committee.
During his public statement in May after the report was complete, he said, “The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.”
Trump said Friday that he wouldn’t be watching the hearings.
But both committees want to dig into Mueller’s evidence, not necessarily the conclusions — or lack thereof — laid out in his report. Democratic staffers believe the former special counsel will “lean into” the factual findings that his team made.
“Our focus is really going to be to have the special counsel talk about what the evidence is that he found, less about what the legal conclusion was, because some of the actual evidence is very concerning and has not received the attention it’s due,” an Intelligence Committee staffer said.
Mueller’s report did not establish that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its interference in the 2016 election.
On obstruction of justice, Mueller left it to Attorney General William Barr to choose whether to bring obstruction charges against the president; Barr declined to do so, he told Congress, based on the evidence presented and Department of Justice guidelines around prosecuting a sitting president.
The Mueller report makes it clear that Trump was not exonerated but it simply found insufficient criminal evidence to prosecute.
The Judiciary Committee hopes to show that if any other American had engaged in the same conduct as Trump did as detailed in the 400-plus page Mueller report, they would be charged for obstruction of justice.
Democratic lawmakers plan to highlight at least five instances they believe clearly show Trump committed a crime, the staffers said.
Democrats on the Judiciary Committee will highlight these actions by Trump as detailed in the report: Repeatedly directing his then-White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller; telling McGahn to deny that he had been ordered to fire Mueller; asking former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to deliver a message to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the investigation to exclude the president; telling Lewandowski to let Sessions know that he’s fired if he doesn’t meet with Lewandowski; and potential witness tampering with Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen.
“Mr. McGahn is very much on our mind as you’ll also see at the hearing,” a staffer said.
Donald Trump says he’s trying to help A$AP Rocky as the rapper has been ordered to spend six more days in a Swedish jail while prosecutors investigate him over a street fight in Stockholm.
“We hope to get him home soon,” the president told a pool reporter on Friday, saying that First Lady Melania Trump had brought the situation to his attention.
Prosecutors requested more time for their investigation of the 30-year-old US rapper, producer and model, whose real name is Rakim Mayers. A district court granted the request.
Daniel Suneson, the prosecutor in charge of the case, said the court decided to keep A$AP Rocky in custody because of an alleged flight risk.
“This gives us time to complete the investigation,” Suneson added.
The artist’s lawyer, Slobodan Jovicic, said the decision was expected but unfair, and that A$AP Rocky was innocent.
“He believes he was assaulted and has acted in self-defence,” Jovicic told journalists.
The detention of A$AP Rocky has gained widespread attention. More than 600,000 people have signed an online petition for his release, while fellow artists have also expressed their support.
Kim Kardashian called senior White House advisor and Mr Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner about the issue, after which Mr Kushner flagged the situation with Mr Trump, The New York Times reported citing a person familiar with the communications.
US Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Carl Risch met him on Friday and was due to hold talks on the issue with the foreign ministry and the justice department during a two-day visit to Sweden.
Karin Olofsdotter, the Swedish Ambassador to the United States, told TMZ her embassy has been in contact with the US State Department, members of Congress and the White House.
Asked what she would like to tell people who believe that it’s not safe for people of colour to travel to Sweden, the ambassador said in part: “I would say it’s perfectly safe and people are of course more than welcome. The more Americans who want to come to Sweden, the better.”
A$AP Rocky was detained on 3 July along with his bodyguard and two other members of his entourage in connection with a fight in a Stockholm city-centre street in the early hours of 30 June.
Before his arrest, he uploaded videos to his Instagram account of an altercation with two men, alleging they had followed him and his entourage and that he had not wanted any trouble.
The bodyguard was released without charge while a judge on 5 July extended the detention of A$AP Rocky and his two other associates.
The performer was in Stockholm for a concert and has had to cancel several shows in his European tour.