Sunday, 31 March 2019

A U.S. Lawsuit Targets Boeing Over the Deadly Ethiopian Airlines Crash

A U.S. Lawsuit Targets Boeing Over the Deadly Ethiopian Airlines CrashThe family of Jackson Musoni, a 31-year-old Rwandan national who was among the victims of the crash, filed the lawsuit




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Palestinians mass at Gaza border to mark protest anniversary

Palestinians mass at Gaza border to mark protest anniversaryIsraeli forces had massed the other side of the fortified frontier, with tensions already high after a rocket attack from Gaza and Israeli air strikes earlier in the week. Four Palestinians were killed on Saturday, Gaza medical officials said. Three were 17-year-olds shot dead by Israeli troops while protesting, they said, adding another person was killed at an overnight protest hours before the main rally.




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Tulsi Gabbard says it's a 'good thing' Trump wasn't charged by Mueller

Tulsi Gabbard says it's a 'good thing' Trump wasn't charged by MuellerSaying it is time to "put aside partisan interests," Gabbard celebrated Mueller's findings.




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Investigators believe Boeing anti-stall system was activated in Ethiopian crash: Report

Investigators believe Boeing anti-stall system was activated in Ethiopian crash: ReportIn a preliminary finding, officials investigating the crash of an Ethiopian airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 believe that a flight control feature designed to prevent a stall was activated before the plane nose-dived and crashed, The Wall Street Journal reports.




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Is This The Perfect Chevrolet Corvette C2 Restomod?

Is This The Perfect Chevrolet Corvette C2 Restomod?The C2 generation of the 1960s Chevrolet Corvette has to be one of the most charismatic incarnations of America’s favorite sports car. This custom 1967 model heading to auction with Barrett-Jackson blends old and new together.




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Israeli troops wound Palestinians, anniversary rally approaches

Israeli troops wound Palestinians, anniversary rally approachesAround 200 Palestinians have been killed and thousands injured by Israeli fire at the protests, Gaza medics say, as the demonstrations turned into an often deadly standoff between Gazans hurling rocks and petrol bombs and Israel troops on the other side of the fence. Israel defends its use of lethal force, saying that its troops are defending the border and Israelis living near it. With security already featuring prominently as an issue in Israeli elections due on April 9, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of Gaza will be a key issue as he seeks a fifth term in office.




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Pope issues new child abuse legislation for Vatican City

Pope issues new child abuse legislation for Vatican CityPope Francis issued stringent child abuse legislation for Vatican City employees on Friday, as part of the Church's bid to address a wave of sex abuse allegations against priests. The legislation requires officials and employees in the Vatican City State as well the Roman Curia, the central administration of the Catholic Church, to immediately report any abuse against minors and vulnerable people or face fines or a prison sentence. Francis said in a letter released with his "motu proprio" decree that it was the duty of everyone "to generously welcome children and vulnerable persons, and to create a safe environment for them".




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Southwest flight cancellations to drag into May due to Boeing Max 8 grounding

Southwest flight cancellations to drag into May due to Boeing Max 8 groundingThe airline says it is removing its Boeing 737 Max 8 from its flight schedule through May, up from April 20 previously.




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Attorney General Barr says Mueller report to be released 'by mid-April'

Attorney General Barr says Mueller report to be released 'by mid-April'We are preparing the report for release,” Barr wrote.




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Brazil's Bolsonaro visits Israel amid speculation on embassy

Brazil's Bolsonaro visits Israel amid speculation on embassyRIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro was leaving Saturday on an official visit to Israel, where he was expected to decide whether he will move the Brazilian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.




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Investigators believe anti-stall system activated in Ethiopia crash: WSJ

Investigators believe anti-stall system activated in Ethiopia crash: WSJInvestigators probing the fatal crash of a Boeing 737 Max in Ethiopia have reached a preliminary conclusion that a suspect anti-stall system activated shortly before it nose-dived to the ground, the WSJ reported Friday citing people familiar with the matter. The findings were based on flight recorder data and represented the strongest indication yet that the system, known as MCAS, malfunctioned in both the Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10 and the Lion Air crash in Indonesia last year, the Wall Street Journal said. US government experts have been analyzing details gathered by their Ethiopian counterparts for the past few days, the newspaper added, and the emerging consensus was relayed at a high-level briefing of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Thursday.




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Donald Trump threatens to shut Mexico border as he says he is 'not kidding around’

Donald Trump threatens to shut Mexico border as he says he is 'not kidding around’Threatening drastic action against Mexico, President Donald Trump declared Friday he is likely to shut down America’s southern border next week unless Mexican authorities immediately halt all illegal immigration. Such a severe move could hit the economies of both countries, but the president emphasized, "I am not kidding around." "It could mean all trade" with Mexico, Mr Trump said when questioned by reporters in Florida. "We will close it for a long time." President Trump has been promising for more than two years to build a long, impenetrable wall along the border to stop illegal immigration, though Congress has been reluctant to provide the money he needs. In the meantime, he has repeatedly threatened to close the border, but this time, with a new surge of migrants heading north , he gave a definite timetable. A substantial closure could have an especially heavy impact on cross-border communities from San Diego to South Texas, as well as supermarkets that sell Mexican produce, factories that rely on imported parts, and other businesses across the US. The US and Mexico trade about $1.7 billion in goods daily, according to the US Chamber of Commerce, which said closing the border would be "an unmitigated economic debacle" that would threaten 5 million American jobs. Trump tweeted Friday morning, "If Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States through our Southern Border, I will be CLOSING the Border, or large sections of the Border, next week." The DEMOCRATS have given us the weakest immigration laws anywhere in the World. Mexico has the strongest, & they make more than $100 Billion a year on the U.S. Therefore, CONGRESS MUST CHANGE OUR WEAK IMMIGRATION LAWS NOW, & Mexico must stop illegals from entering the U.S....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2019 ....through their country and our Southern Border. Mexico has for many years made a fortune off of the U.S., far greater than Border Costs. If Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States throug our Southern Border, I will be CLOSING.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2019 In Florida, he didn’t qualify his threat with "or large sections," stating: "There is a very good likelihood I’ll be closing the border next week, and that is just fine with me." He said several times that it would be "so easy" for Mexican authorities to stop immigrants passing through their country and trying to enter the U.S. illegally, "but they just take our money and ’talk.’" Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen suggested Mr Trump was referring to the ongoing surge of mostly Central American families heading north through Mexico. Many people who cross the border illegally ultimately request asylum under US law, which does not require asylum seekers to enter at an official crossing. Short of a widespread shutdown, Nielsen said the US might close designated ports of entry to re-deploy staff to help process parents and children. Ports of entry are official crossing points that are used by residents and commercial vehicles. "If we have to close ports to take care of all of the numbers who are coming, we will do that," Nielsen said. "So it’s on the table, but what we’re doing is a very structured process based on operational needs." The White House did not immediately respond to questions about whether Trump’s possible action would apply to air travel. A US Customs and Border Patrol agent travels along the border wall between the US and Mexico near Tecate, California Credit:  MIKE BLAKE/Reuters Trump’s latest declaration came after Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his country was doing its part to fight migrant smuggling. Criminal networks charge thousands of dollars a person to move migrants through Mexico, increasingly in large groups toward remote sections of the border. "We want to have a good relationship with the government of the United States," Lopez Obrador said Friday. He added: "We are going to continue helping so that the migratory flow, those who pass through our country, do so according to the law, in an orderly way." Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s foreign relations secretary, tweeted that his country "doesn’t act based on threats" and is "the best neighbor" the US could have. Democratic and Republican lawmakers have fought over Trump’s contention that there is a "crisis" at the border, particularly amid his push for a border wall, which he claims will solve immigration problems, though a wall wouldn’t keep out families who cross at official points so they can surrender and be detained. The president called on Congress to immediately change what he said were weak US immigration laws, which he blamed on Democrats. The Department of Homeland Security wants the authority to detain families for longer and more quickly deport children from Central America who arrive at the border on their own. The department argues those policy changes would stop families from trying to enter the US.




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Boeing 737 Max Grounding | Rights Flight Canceled

Boeing 737 Max Grounding | Rights Flight CanceledBoeing 737 Max Grounding: Your Rights If Your Flight Gets Canceled The worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 Max is causing hundreds of U.S. flights to be canceled every day, scrambling the trav...




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UPDATE 4-Mueller report on Trump and Russia to be made public by mid-April -Barr

UPDATE 4-Mueller report on Trump and Russia to be made public by mid-April -BarrU.S. Attorney General William Barr plans to make public a redacted copy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's nearly 400-page investigative report into Russian interference in the 2016 election by mid-April, "if not sooner," he said in a letter to lawmakers on Friday. "Everyone will soon be able to read it on their own," Barr wrote in the letter to the top Democrats and Republicans on the Senate and House Judiciary committees. On March 22, Mueller completed his 22-month probe and Barr on Sunday sent a four-page letter to Congress that outlined the main findings.




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'Pitch up, pitch up': Final moments of Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max jet before crash

'Pitch up, pitch up': Final moments of Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max jet before crashA pilot on the Ethiopian Airlines flight which crashed three weeks ago was heard saying “pitch up, pitch up” just moments before the disaster, the Wall St Journal has reported.  The conversation happened when the plane was just 450ft (137m) off the ground as the aircraft begun to point downwards, according to the paper.  The plane's radio reportedly died moments after the comment was captured. All 157 people on board were killed when the Boeing 737 Max crashed.  The plane’s anti-stalling system, which sees its direction automatically righted if a sensor picks up the aircraft is tilting up too far, has been blamed for the disaster.  The investigation is on-going and no official cause for the crash has been made public.  Forensic experts work at the crash site of an Ethiopian airways operated by a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft Credit: TONY KARUMBA / AFP The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that investigators have determined that the flight-control system on an Ethiopian Airlines jet automatically activated before the aircraft plunged into the ground on March 10. The preliminary conclusion was based on information from the aircraft's data and voice recorders and indicates a link between that accident and an earlier Lion Air crash in Indonesia, the newspaper said. Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration declined to comment on the report. Also on Friday, The New York Times reported that the Ethiopian jet's data recorder yielded evidence that a sensor incorrectly triggered the anti-stall system, called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS.  Once activated, the MCAS forced the plane into a dive and ultimately a crash that killed everyone on board, the newspaper said. Boeing is facing mounting pressure to roll out a software update on its best-selling plane in time for airlines to use the jets during the peak summer travel season. Kebebew Legesse, the mother of Ethiopian Airlines cabin crew Ayantu Girmay mourns at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash Credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner Company engineers and test pilots are working to fix anti-stall technology on the Boeing 737 Max that is suspected to have played a role in two deadly crashes in the last six months. Boeing is also seeing its own expenses rise, although it would not disclose how much it is costing the company to make the software fix and also train pilots how to use it. Cowen Research analysts say a "very rough guess" is that Boeing will pay about $2 billion after insurance to fix the plane, pay crash victims' families and compensate airlines that had to cancel flights. Most Wall Street analysts are betting that the planes will be flying again in less than three months, while noting that it could take longer in countries that plan to conduct their own reviews of Boeing's upgrade instead of taking the word of the U.S. regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration.




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The War Between Trump and Schiff is Just Starting

The War Between Trump and Schiff is Just StartingA proponent of Trump-Russia collusion theories, Rep. Adam Schiff has been enveloped by fallout from the conclusions of Mueller's investigation.




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Tunisia detains UN Libya arms embargo official

Tunisia detains UN Libya arms embargo officialA UN official charged with investigating alleged violations of a UN arms embargo on Libya, has been detained in neighbouring Tunisia on suspicion of spying, Tunisian and UN officials said Friday. Moncef Kartas, a member of the panel of experts of the Libya sanctions committee, was arrested on his arrival in Tunis on Tuesday, a UN spokesman told AFP. "We are in contact with the Tunisian authorities to know why he has been held for questioning," a UN statement said, adding that as a UN expert Kartas was entitled to diplomatic immunity.




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Smollett case tests relationship between police, prosecutors

Smollett case tests relationship between police, prosecutorsCHICAGO (AP) — When prosecutors dropped the charges that accused Jussie Smollett of orchestrating a fake attack, the outrage was swift and overwhelming. Smollett saw his record wiped clean without offering so much as an apology.




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U.K. Edges Closer to Election After May's Brexit Deal Defeat

U.K. Edges Closer to Election After May's Brexit Deal DefeatSpeaking after the result of the vote was announced Friday afternoon, the prime minister gave a veiled warning that an election could be necessary to end the stalemate in the House of Commons, which has failed to back a Brexit plan after months of trying. May said the defeat of her strategy had “grave” implications for the country, while the European Commission said an economically damaging no-deal split is now “a likely scenario.” EU leaders will meet for an emergency summit on April 10 to seek a way forward.




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Redacted Mueller report expected to be released by mid-April

Redacted Mueller report expected to be released by mid-AprilWASHINGTON (AP) — A redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Russia investigation will be sent to Congress by mid-April and will not be shared with the White House beforehand, Attorney General William Barr said Friday.




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Ex-lawmaker says Biden inappropriately touched her in 2014

Ex-lawmaker says Biden inappropriately touched her in 2014Joe Biden, who is leading polls for the Democratic presidential nomination, on Friday faced a misconduct accusation by a Nevada ex-lawmaker claiming the then-vice president inappropriately kissed her before a campaign event. Lucy Flores, the state's Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2014, said she was beside the stage awaiting her turn to address a rally when Biden put his hands on her shoulders from behind, then leaned in and smelled her hair. "I was mortified," Flores, 39, recounted in New York magazine.




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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 a deal 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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Attorney General Barr says Mueller report to be released 'by mid-April'

Attorney General Barr says Mueller report to be released 'by mid-April'We are preparing the report for release,” Barr wrote.




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Four killed as thousands protest at border, but Gaza-Israel truce holds

Four killed as thousands protest at border, but Gaza-Israel truce holdsFive rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel, prompting Israeli tanks to respond by firing on Hamas military posts early Sunday, hours after a massive Palestinian protest along the border between Israel and Gaza. The rocket attack and Israeli response did not cause any casualties, according to the Israeli army and witnesses in Gaza.




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Pope requires sex abuse claims be reported in Vatican City

Pope requires sex abuse claims be reported in Vatican CityVATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has issued sweeping new sex abuse legislation for the Vatican City State and Vatican diplomats that requires the immediate reporting of allegations to Vatican prosecutors, as he seeks to create a model policy for the Catholic Church.




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Investigators believe Boeing anti-stall system was activated in Ethiopian crash: Report

Investigators believe Boeing anti-stall system was activated in Ethiopian crash: ReportIn a preliminary finding, officials investigating the crash of an Ethiopian airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 believe that a flight control feature designed to prevent a stall was activated before the plane nose-dived and crashed, The Wall Street Journal reports.




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Parents in College Scandal Face Judge and Tough Plea Deals

Parents in College Scandal Face Judge and Tough Plea DealsNow they’re on the road again, this time appearing in federal court in Boston on Friday as the clock ticks down on plea bargains for their alleged role in the biggest college admissions scam the U.S. has ever prosecuted. “The government’s being very aggressive," said Patric Hooper, who is representing oncologist Greg Colburn and his wife, Amy. The first wave of parents, 15 of them, began to appear at noon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Page Kelley, who set bail and addressed other preliminary issues.




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The Latest: Police standoff on Atlanta-area freeway ends

The Latest: Police standoff on Atlanta-area freeway endsATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on a freeway standoff outside Atlanta (all times local):




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Mueller report: How Trump avoided interview with special counsel during Russia investigation

Mueller report: How Trump avoided interview with special counsel during Russia investigationIt was March 2018, nearly 10 months into his Russia investigation, when special counsel Robert Mueller III, a man of few words, raised the stakes dramatically in a meeting with Donald Trump's lawyers: If the president did not sit down voluntarily for an interview, he could face a subpoena.In the months that followed, Mr Mueller never explicitly threatened to issue a subpoena as his office pursued a presidential interview, a sit-down for which the special counsel was pushing as late as December.But with that prospect hanging over them, Mr Trump's legal team conducted a quiet, multi-pronged pressure campaign to avert such an action and keep the president from coming face-to-face with federal investigators - fearful he would perjure himself.At one point last summer, when a lull in talks had the president's attorneys worried that Mr Mueller was seriously contemplating a subpoena, White House lawyer Emmet Flood wrote a memo laying out the legal arguments for protecting the president's executive privilege. He sent the document to Mr Mueller's office and to the deputy for top Justice Department official Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw the probe, according to two people familiar with Mr Flood's outreach.Meanwhile, the Trump lawyers sent a steady stream of documents and witnesses to the special counsel, chipping away at Mr Mueller's justification for needing an interview with the president.[[gallery-0]] In the end, the decision not to subpoena the president is one of the lingering mysteries of Mr Mueller's 22-month investigation, which concluded last week when he filed a report numbering more than 300 pages.The special counsel did not find a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, but - in an unusual move - failed to come to a decision about whether Mr Trump obstructed justice, according to a summary of the Mueller report released by attorney general William Barr. An interview with the president would have been pivotal to helping assess whether the president had corrupt intent, a key element of such a charge, legal experts said.It is an open question whether a subpoena would have survived the court challenge Mr Trump's lawyers say they would have waged. The Supreme Court has never issued definitive guidance on issuing a subpoena to a president, but had Mr Mueller pursued one, the courts could have established a precedent for future presidents.In assessing whether to pursue such a high-stakes move, the special counsel was not operating with complete autonomy. That was a contrast with predecessors such as Kenneth Starr, who investigated President Bill Clinton and had broad leeway under the now-expired independent counsel statute.But Mr Mueller was supervised by Mr Rosenstein, a Trump appointee. The special counsel, Mr Rosenstein noted in one letter to a Republican senator, "remains accountable like every other subordinate."Mr Rosenstein himself was under intense political pressure: Mr Trump mused about firing the one-time George W Bush appointee and former US attorney for Maryland, whom he derided at one point as "the Democrat from Baltimore." And House conservatives threatened to impeach Mr Rosenstein, accusing him of withholding information about the Russia probe.Internal Justice Department discussions about whether to subpoena the president - including Mr Rosenstein's views on such an action - remain tightly held.In the final months of the probe, there was upheaval in the department's leadership. Mr Trump ousted attorney general Jeff Sessions, who had recused himself from the investigation. He was replaced temporarily by his former chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, who was publicly critical of the special counsel before joining the department.A month before Mr Mueller submitted his report, Mr Barr was confirmed as attorney general. He had questioned Mr Mueller's obstruction-of-justice inquiry in a June 2018 memo to Mr Rosenstein months before his appointment, writing that "Mueller should not be permitted to demand that the President submit to interrogation about alleged obstruction."If Mr Mueller wanted to push for a subpoena, he did not force the issue with Justice Department leaders. Mr Barr told lawmakers last week that no decision the special counsel wanted to take was vetoed during the investigation.The Justice Department and the special counsel's office declined to comment.More answers could be revealed in Mr Mueller's full report, which House Democrats are pushing Mr Barr to release.What is known is that the president's lawyers now believe keeping their client from sitting down with investigators was their greatest victory."The president would not have helped his case had he gone in," said Mark Corallo, a former spokesperson for Mr Trump's legal team. "No lawyer worth his salt would let that happen."The president was initially inclined to sit for an interview with Mr Mueller. He thought he could deliver a convincing performance and put a swift end to the probe.Negotiations between the sides began around Thanksgiving 2017, and an interview was scheduled for January 2018, according to a person close to the legal team and a former senior administration official.But John Dowd, then the president's lead attorney, cancelled the session. He had argued against it because he feared Mr Trump could misspeak or even lie. And a practice session with the president further convinced Mr Dowd that the president could be a problematic interviewee, these people said.White House officials declined to comment.Over the next 12 months, Mr Mueller tried repeatedly to reschedule the interview, to no avail.Mr Trump continued to state publicly that he would be glad to sit for an interview - he believed being seen as willing to talk with prosecutors showed "strength," according to a former administration official with direct knowledge of his thinking. But the president came to agree with his lawyers that doing so would be too risky, especially after former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in December 2017, current and former White House aides said.Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said that some of what Mr Trump's legal advisers were hearing from Mr Mueller "raised our suspicion that this is a trap, rather than a search for more information."As the standoff continued, Mr Mueller's team discussed at length the idea of issuing a subpoena, if necessary, to compel Mr Trump to sit for an interview, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal conversations.The discussions - which included Mr Mueller, his top deputy James Quarles, and prosecutors Michael Dreeben and Aaron Zebley - centred both on whether a subpoena was legally feasible and what the costs of such a move might be to the overall investigation, the person said.A fight over a presidential subpoena would have been likely to set legal precedent.Under President Richard Nixon, the US Supreme Court ruled that investigators could subpoena evidence from a sitting president and ordered Nixon to turn over materials including secret recordings made in the Oval Office. That ruling did not, however, address testimony by the president.When Mr Starr was independent counsel, he issued a subpoena to Mr Clinton ordering the president to testify before a grand jury about his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Mr Clinton's team considered challenging the subpoena in court but instead decided that it would be politically damaging to be seen as fighting the investigation. Mr Clinton's lawyers agreed that he would voluntarily sit for an interview, and Mr Starr withdrew the subpoena - leaving open the question of whether a president can be compelled to give testimony.Robert Ray, a former independent counsel now in private practice at Thompson & Knight, said Mr Mueller's team would have had to weigh whether a subpoena could survive the court challenge that was all but certain to come from the Trump White House.The Supreme Court has never issued definitive guidance on the question, but in a previous independent counsel investigation, of Mike Espy, an agriculture secretary in the Clinton administration, an appellate court offered some clarity on the bounds of how the White House could fight a subpoena by citing presidential privilege.On the basis of the precedent from that case - which was focused on documents, rather than an interview – Mr Mueller would have had to demonstrate both a need to subpoena Mr Trump to advance his investigation and show that he could not get the information he sought in any other way, Mr Ray said.Another major factor was time: Mr Mueller had to consider the likelihood that such a move would bog the investigation down in a lengthy legal battle."That's a major fight, and you have to decide whether, in the country's best interests, it's worth it," Mr Ray said.Mr Mueller broached the topic during a tense meeting on 5 March 2018, at the special counsel offices in Southwest Washington, as Mr Trump's attorneys maintained that the president had no obligation to talk to investigators.The special counsel noted there was an option if Mr Trump declined: He could be subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury, as The Washington Post previously reported.Mr Dowd erupted angrily."You're screwing with the work of the president of the United States," he told Mr Mueller, according to two people briefed on the discussion.After that meeting, the special counsel team changed its approach: trying to coax Mr Trump to sit for an interview voluntarily.Prosecutors hoped the president would agree to meet, mindful that they could not explicitly threaten a subpoena unless they were prepared to issue one, according to a person familiar with the matter.Still, Mr Trump's legal advisers felt after the March meeting that a subpoena threat hung over the president."The whole exercise was premised on the idea that that was a legal option they could pursue, and we were never absolutely sure until the end that they would not," said one Trump adviser familiar with the legal negotiations.That threat governed the president's legal strategy in the months that would follow.Mr Trump's lawyers left the distinct public impression that they were not an equal match for Mr Mueller, a venerated former FBI director. Mr Dowd and Ty Cobb, another legal adviser to Mr Trump, were overheard by a reporter discussing over lunch at a popular Washington steakhouse how much they would cooperate with Mr Mueller. Mr Giuliani developed a habit of misspeaking in meandering television interviews.But behind the scenes, Mr Trump's legal advisers had a quiet weapon: a husband-and-wife pair of criminal lawyers, Jane and Martin Raskin, who brought rigor and regimen to the team when they came aboard in April 2018.While Mr Giuliani and attorney Jay Sekulow managed the public relations strategy, the Raskins did most of the lawyering from a temporary office they set up in Washington. They declined to comment.Mr Giuliani said that roughly 80 per cent of the Trump team's interactions with the special counsel's office were handled by Jane Raskin, who has known both Mr Mueller and Mr Quarles for years. She knew Mr Mueller from her time as a federal prosecutor in Boston, while her husband had worked with Mr Quarles.She communicated mostly by email, developing a written record that Mr Trump's attorneys intended to use as evidence of their cooperation and responsiveness if they ended up in court fighting a subpoena.Martin Raskin, meanwhile, did a great deal of the writing and editing of legal arguments, including a "counter report" defending the president that Mr Giuliani said has been prepared but may never be released.Central to the Trump strategy - developed first by Mr Cobb and Mr Dowd and later carried out by Mr Giuliani, Mr Sekulow and the Raskins, as well as Mr Flood, who from his White House perch represented the office of the presidency - was to cooperate fully with every request for documents and witnesses from Mr Mueller, including Mr Trump's written answers to some questions.Their goal: to satisfy Mr Mueller's hunt for information to the extent that the special counsel would not have legal standing to subpoena the president's oral testimony."We allowed them to question everybody, and they turned over every document they were asked for: 1.4 million documents," Mr Giuliani said. "We had what you would call unprecedented cooperation."Mr Trump's lawyers, citing the independent counsel investigation of Mr Espy, argued that to justify a subpoena of Mr Trump, Mr Mueller needed to prove he could not get the information in any way other than by asking the president."No matter what question they would say they wanted to ask, I felt confident we could turn it over and say, 'You already have the answer to it,'" Mr Giuliani said. "If they said, 'Why did you fire Comey?' I'd give them five interviews, and particularly the Lester Holt tape, where he goes into great detail as to his reasons."Mr Giuliani was referring to Mr Trump's May 2017 interview with the NBC Nightly News anchor in which the president said he was thinking about "this Russia thing" when he fired James Comey as FBI director, one of the actions Mr Mueller was investigating as possible obstruction of justice.All the while, Mr Giuliani said, the legal team was not convinced that it would have prevailed in court. "Honestly, I don't know who would have won," he said. "I think our argument got better as time went on. But I don't know if we would have won."As Mr Mueller's lawyers quietly laboured, a political storm was raging around them.Mr Trump, his lawyers and his allies in Congress routinely attacked Mr Mueller and his investigators as compromised and corrupt. The president repeatedly urged an end to the probe, which he condemned as a "witch hunt," a "fraud" and a "hoax" that was wasting taxpayer money.Mr Rosenstein urged lawmakers to respect the confidential work of the special counsel, saying in a June 2018 letter to senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, then the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that the probe would comply with all laws and Justice Department policies.But Mr Rosenstein also noted that Mr Mueller was not an entirely independent actor - and that his work was being closely supervised."Under the terms of his appointment, both by statute and by regulation, special counsel Mueller remains accountable like every other subordinate Department official," Mr Rosenstein wrote.A few months later, Mr Flood sent his memo on the scope of executive privilege. While it made broad arguments, the document could have been construed to pertain to Mr Mueller's push to interview the president, according to someone with knowledge of the contents.Notably, Mr Flood sent the memo not just to Mr Mueller's office, but also to Mr Rosenstein by way of his top deputy, Edward O'Callaghan.Mr Flood declined to comment.As each month passed without a subpoena, the president's attorneys increasingly doubted that Mr Mueller would seek to obtain one, according to people with knowledge of internal discussions.Mr Mueller's team kept insisting it needed to interview the president - but never followed through with an actual demand.Mr Mueller and Mr Quarles would stress that they needed to know Mr Trump's intentions when he fired Mr Comey and took other actions that could have thwarted the Russia investigation. Jane Raskin would respond by pressing them for a legal justification for seeking to interview the president, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.The president's team asked, "What evidence have you obtained that justifies you interviewing the president?" according the person, who added that Mr Mueller's office was "never able to articulate a compelling case. They never gave up asking, but they had no good answer for that question."In the absence of an interview, Mr Trump's attorneys offered Mr Mueller a substitute: The president would provide answers to a set of questions about Russia and the campaign, submitted in writing. But, citing executive privilege, they refused to provide answers to questions pertaining to the president's time in office - questions that went to the heart of the special counsel's inquiry into possible obstruction of justice.However, the process of compiling answers dragged. Mr Trump's lawyers found it difficult to get the president to focus on drafting the submission, according to people familiar with the sessions. Mr Trump's meetings with his lawyers were frequently interrupted by phone calls and other White House business.Finally, in late November 2018, the lawyers sent Mr Trump's answers to Mr Mueller.In December, Mr Mueller's team made one more request for an interview with the president.And in January, the special counsel's office contacted Mr Trump's lawyers to ask some follow-up questions, according to people familiar with the request.But Mr Trump's lawyers again declined. They neither agreed to an interview nor answered the additional questions.Two months later, Mr Mueller submitted his report without having spoken to the president. The investigation was over.The Washington Post




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Venezuela's Maduro announces ban on rival holding public office

Venezuela's Maduro announces ban on rival holding public officeVenezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's regime, bolstered by a Russian military deployment infuriating the US, on Thursday announced a ban on Washington-backed self-declared interim leader Juan Guaido holding public office. It was the latest scuffle between Maduro and Guaido, who lay rival claims to be the legitimate leader of the oil-producing South American nation of 30 million people.




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UK's May under pressure to rule out long Brexit delay: report

UK's May under pressure to rule out long Brexit delay: reportBritish Prime Minister Theresa May is under growing pressure from within her Conservative Party to lead Britain out of the European Union in the next few months, even if it means a no-deal Brexit, The Sun newspaper reported. A letter signed by 170 of the 314 Conservative lawmakers in parliament, including 10 cabinet ministers, was sent to May after her Brexit deal was rejected for a third time by the House of Commons on Friday, the newspaper reported. The vote left Britain's withdrawal from the EU in turmoil on the day that the country was originally due to leave the bloc.




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O'Rourke officially joins US presidential race, citing 'moment of truth'

O'Rourke officially joins US presidential race, citing 'moment of truth'Beto O'Rourke, the youthful Democrat who seized national attention last fall with an unexpectedly strong Senate campaign in conservative Texas, formally launched his presidential candidacy Saturday in his hometown of El Paso, vowing to bring a unifying dynamic, progressive values and generational change to American politics. "This is our moment of truth, and we cannot be found wanting," he told an enthusiastic crowd of at least 1,000. Speaking from a spot only blocks from the border with Mexico, he underscored some of his most vigorous differences with the man he hopes to succeed in the White House -- Donald Trump -- without ever naming the US president.




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Her Brexit strategy in tatters, British PM's days are numbered

Her Brexit strategy in tatters, British PM's days are numberedAfter losing yet another vote on her Brexit deal on Friday and accused on all sides of plunging Britain into chaos, Prime Minister Theresa May's leadership is hanging by a thread. The politician who portrayed herself as a safe pair of hands when she rose to power in 2016 in the aftermath of Brexit has all but lost control after mishandling every twist and turn of the process.




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AP Exclusive: Captain feared death in migrant hijack at sea

AP Exclusive: Captain feared death in migrant hijack at seaVALLETTA, Malta (AP) — African migrants who hijacked an oil tanker after it rescued them in the Mediterranean Sea seized metal objects and began smashing the ship and threatening crew members after they realized they were being returned to Libya, the ship's captain said Friday.




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AG William Barr plans to release Mueller report by mid-April. 'Everyone will soon be able to read it.'

AG William Barr plans to release Mueller report by mid-April. 'Everyone will soon be able to read it.'Attorney General William Barr told Congress on Friday he plans to release special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russia and the Trump campaign.




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Ukraine Goes to the Polls on Sunday. Can Its Next President End the Frozen War With Russia?

Ukraine Goes to the Polls on Sunday. Can Its Next President End the Frozen War With Russia?As Ukraine’s presidential elections approach on March 31, ending the conflict and improving relations with Russia are key concerns




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Illinois state trooper dies after being hit by wrong-way driver

Illinois state trooper dies after being hit by wrong-way driverAn Illinois state trooper has died after a wrong-way driver struck him head on




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Boeing MCAS anti-stall system was activated in Ethiopia crash: source

Boeing MCAS anti-stall system was activated in Ethiopia crash: sourceBoeing's MCAS anti-stall system, which was implicated in the October crash of a 737 MAX 8 in Indonesia, was also activated shortly before a recent accident in Ethiopia, a source with knowledge of the investigation said Friday. The information is part of preliminary findings from the analysis of black boxes from Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, which crashed southeast of Addis Ababa killing 157 people on March 10, the source told AFP on condition of anonymity. The information was presented Thursday to US authorities, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the source said.




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Is This The Perfect Chevrolet Corvette C2 Restomod?

Is This The Perfect Chevrolet Corvette C2 Restomod?The C2 generation of the 1960s Chevrolet Corvette has to be one of the most charismatic incarnations of America’s favorite sports car. This custom 1967 model heading to auction with Barrett-Jackson blends old and new together.




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Red Cross ready to aid Venezuela, warns against politics

Red Cross ready to aid Venezuela, warns against politicsCARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said Friday that it is poised to deliver aid to Venezuela, warning that it will not accept any interference from President Nicolas Maduro or opposition leader Juan Guaido.




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Upsides, downsides for Smollett, city in looming fines fight

Upsides, downsides for Smollett, city in looming fines fightCHICAGO (AP) — A brewing battle over Chicago's demand that Jussie Smollett recoup the city more than $130,000 for an investigation into his report of a racist, anti-gay attack and the "Empire" actor's apparent determination not to pay it could ultimately land in a civil court, where a jury could have to answer the question that was supposed to be answered in criminal court: Was the attack staged or not?




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Novo Nordisk pledges insulin supply for Britain

Novo Nordisk pledges insulin supply for BritainThe world's leading insulin maker, Novo Nordisk, guarantees supplies for British diabetics, including Prime Minister Theresa May, no matter what happens with Britain's tortured EU withdrawal process, its boss said Friday. "Nobody relying on our product should be worried," Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen told AFP in an interview before the British deputies rejected May's plan for a British exit from the European Union a third time. "As long as Brexit has not happened, we can move goods in and out so we keep your safety storage high," the company's chief executive emphasised.




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Attorney General Barr says Mueller report to be released 'by mid-April'

Attorney General Barr says Mueller report to be released 'by mid-April'We are preparing the report for release,” Barr wrote.




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Pope signs law to prevent child abuse in Vatican and its embassies

Pope signs law to prevent child abuse in Vatican and its embassiesAlthough the city state within Rome is tiny, and very few children live there, the sweeping legal changes reflect a desire to show that the Catholic Church is finally acting against clerical child abuse after decades of scandals around the world. It is the first time a unified and detailed policy for the protection of children has been compiled for the Vatican and its embassies and universities outside the city state. The law sets up procedures for reporting suspected abuse, imposes more screening of prospective employees, and sets strict guidelines for adult interaction with children and the use of social media.




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Four killed as thousands protest at border, but Gaza-Israel truce holds

Four killed as thousands protest at border, but Gaza-Israel truce holdsFive rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel, prompting Israeli tanks to respond by firing on Hamas military posts early Sunday, hours after a massive Palestinian protest along the border between Israel and Gaza. The rocket attack and Israeli response did not cause any casualties, according to the Israeli army and witnesses in Gaza.




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Anti-stall system active before Ethiopian 737 MAX crash: sources

Anti-stall system active before Ethiopian 737 MAX crash: sourcesData pulled from the Ethiopian Airlines flight recorder suggests the so-called MCAS system, which pushes the nose of the jet downwards, had been activated before the jet ploughed into a field outside Addis Ababa on March 10, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of an interim official report. Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration declined to comment on the data, first reported by the Wall Street Journal.




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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 a deal 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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Redacted Mueller report expected to be released by mid-April

Redacted Mueller report expected to be released by mid-AprilWASHINGTON (AP) — A redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Russia investigation will be sent to Congress by mid-April and will not be shared with the White House beforehand, Attorney General William Barr said Friday.




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Venezuelans Take to the Streets After Another Round of Blackouts

Venezuelans Take to the Streets After Another Round of Blackouts“We will continue to hit the streets,” Juan Guaido, head of the National Assembly recognized as interim president by some 50 nations, told protesters Saturday in San Antonio de Los Altos. Unlike other protests since January, Guaido did not call for huge rallies in the capital of Caracas but rather urged Venezuelans to protest at key locations or in their own neighborhoods. “My food is rotting and my appliances are going haywire,¨ said Yolanda Bellorin, a retired lawyer protesting among her neighbors in Caracas’ Colinas de la California neighborhood.




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Chance of UK 'no-deal' Brexit has risen 'sharply', says France

Chance of UK 'no-deal' Brexit has risen 'sharply', says FranceFrench President Emmanuel Macron's office said on Friday the risk of Britain leaving the European Union without a deal had risen "very sharply" following parliament's rejection of Prime Minister Theresa May's withdrawal agreement for a third time. "France is well prepared (for no deal) and will accelerate its preparations for such a scenario," the Elysee said in a statement. It said it was now up to Britain to present an alternative plan in the coming days -- whether new elections, a second referendum, or a proposal for a customs union -- otherwise the country would leave the EU with no deal.




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The Latest: Rockets fired from Gaza into Israel

The Latest: Rockets fired from Gaza into IsraelGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Latest on protests at Gaza border with Israel (all times local):




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