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Team Trump plots revenge on Mueller amid calls to 'investigate the investigators'Donald Trump and his allies are attempting to turn his two-year Russia investigation saga into a political boost for the 2020 presidential election in the wake of the Mueller report.  The president’s Justice Department is looking into the inquiry’s origins to see if US intelligence over-stepped the line, cheered on by supporters who want to “investigate the investigators”.  The Trump re-election campaign is fundraising off the report, attempting to raise $1 million with emails titled “EXONERATED (again)” and “CONFIRMED: NO COLLUSION”.  Figures close to the White House have also told The Sunday Telegraph that they believe Mr Trump could benefit from any impeachment move, triggering a backlash from US voters who see it as rushed.  The emerging strategy suggests that far from drawing a line under the report by special counsel Robert Mueller, Mr Trump is preparing to use it as a rallying cry for his support base.  In tweets late on Friday night, Mr Trump dubbed Mr Mueller’s investigation a “big, fat, waste of time, energy and money” and signposted his determination to scrutinise how it begun.  “It is now finally time to turn the tables and bring justice to some very sick and dangerous people who have committed very serious crimes, perhaps even spying or treason,” he tweeted. “This should never happen again!” Mr Mueller’s findings, published on Thursday after a 22-month investigation, found there was no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin in the 2016 US election.  It also did not recommend an obstruction of justice charge against Mr Trump. He pointedly refused to say no crime had been committed by the president but handed the decision to the Justice Department, who brought no charges.  Those two top-line outcomes have allowed the president to declare “no collusion, no obstruction” and his legal team to announce “total victory”.  pic.twitter.com/222atp7wuB— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2019 The 448-report itself paints a more complex picture, one where Mr Trump repeatedly attempted to thwart the Mueller investigation and both lie himself or make subordinates do likewise. The president urged his legal counsel to say he was not ordered to fire Mr Mueller when he was, the report found. Mr Trump also issued misleading statements to the press to deny reports now confirmed.  The Democrats have attempted to force the spotlight on this “unethical” behavior but are split on how to proceed – whether to begin impeachment proceedings now or wait until the 2020 election to remove him from office.  William Barr, Mr Trump’s newly installed US attorney general, announced shortly before the Mueller report’s release that he would look into how US government officials begun the Russia investigation before the 2016 election.  William Barr, Donald Trump's recently appointed US attorney general, oversaw the handling of the Mueller report Credit:  MANDEL NGAN / AFP The president’s allies see political advantage, framing the investigation as a deep state ploy to thwart Mr Trump – despite the insistence of those involved that they were acting in the public interest.  Sebastian Gorka, a former deputy assistant in the White House, told this newspaper: “It’s clear that what we’ve seen in the last two years is an attempt to use the American intelligence community in a politically motivated spying scandal.” Emails sent out by the Trump campaign in the 24 hours after the report to supporters also used the findings to generate a new wave of funds.  “Sorry haters: NO COLLUSION & EXONERATION AGAIN! How many times do I have to be exonerated before they stop? WHAT A JOKE!” read one line in a fund-raising email, sent in Mr Trump's name on Friday.  “The attacks and lies will keep coming because Democrats know they don’t stand a chance in 2020. That’s why we need to fight back BIGGER and STRONGER than ever before.”  It went on: “Let's send a HUGE message to all of the Trump Haters by raising $1,000,000 in the NEXT 24 HOURS.”  The email ended by saying that Mr Trump would be handed a list naming everyone who had contributed before the 24-hour deadline. The Trump campaign has since confirmed it hit the $1 million mark within 24 hours.


4/20/2019 5:44:30 AM

The Latest: Crown of Thorns presented at Paris servicePARIS (AP) — The Latest on the fire that ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (all times local):


4/19/2019 3:41:53 PM

Israel destroys family apartments of accused Palestinian killerIsraeli forces destroyed two apartments in the occupied West Bank on Friday that housed the family of a Palestinian accused of killing an Israeli woman in February, the army said. Some clashes broke out between Palestinian residents and Israeli forces during the operation, AFP journalists reported.


4/19/2019 1:50:53 AM

Thousands of Peruvians say goodbye to ex-president following suicideGarcia shot himself in the head on Wednesday to avoid arrest in connection with alleged bribes from Brazilian builder Odebrecht, in the most dramatic turn yet in Latin America's largest graft scandal. Friends, allies and leaders across the political spectrum paid homage to Garcia at the headquarters of his APRA party, one of Latin America's oldest political parties, and one which twice helped usher Garcia to the presidency. Vizcarra ordered flags to be flown at half mast at the country's Congress and other public buildings to honor the ex-President and former lawmaker.


4/18/2019 2:16:28 PM

France salutes 'exemplary' firefighters for saving Notre-DameFrench President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday hailed as "exemplary" hundreds of firefighters who saved Notre-Dame in the devastating blaze, as efforts intensified to shore up the still fragile cathedral. Some 600 firefighters worked throughout the night Monday to put out the fire at the Paris landmark and prevent an even worse disaster, in a blaze that felled the spire and destroyed two-thirds of its roof. A prayer vigil was held at another of Paris's landmark churches, the Sacre-Coeur (Sacred Heart), on Thursday which was due to remain open all night.


4/18/2019 11:24:00 PM

Google is making it easier for Android users in Europe to pick a new browserWe've known for a while now that Google offered Android users in Europe a different experience than international customers, and that's because the European Union really wants Google to behave a lot less like a monopoly than before. Google lost three major anti-trust cases in the region, including one that concerns Android.The European Commission slapped Google with three multi-billion fines in each case, which Google has contested. But the company agreed to make changes to its business models, and the changes also concern its mobile operating system. We know now what changes are in place for Android in Europe.Google explained in a new blog post on the matter that Android users in Europe will get search app and browser options, and showed the world what those prompts will look like.The new screens will be shown the first time a user opens Google Play after receiving an update. We're looking at two screens, one for search and one for browsers, as follows below.Each screen will present the user five apps, including the ones that are installed. The apps that are not installed will show up based on their popularity, but they'll show up in a randomized order.A third screen will be shown to users when they install a search app. Google will ask whether they want to change Chrome's default search engine the next time they open the browser.These screens will show up on both existing and new Android phones in Europe in the coming weeks, Google explained, and their implementation will "evolve" over time.


4/18/2019 7:03:04 PM

Drunk on smoke: Notre Dame's bees survive cathedral blazePARIS (AP) — Hunkered down in their hives and drunk on smoke, Notre Dame's smallest official residents — some 180,000 bees — somehow managed to survive the inferno that consumed the cathedral's ancient wooden roof.


4/19/2019 7:55:22 AM

4/20 specials: 'High' priority list of munchie deals at Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr., Lyft, moreSaturday Is 4/20, aka Weed Day, and that means specials for cannabis fans across the country. Pizza Hut, Wing Zone, Lyft and Boston Market have deals.


4/19/2019 8:53:17 PM

How the U.S. Navy Sunk Imperial Japan's Top Secret Aircraft Carrier“No doubt he intends to act as a decoy at some point to lure away our screening destroyers. That accomplished, his comrades can approach Shinano unopposed. We must guard against any such ploy,” grumbled the thoughtful skipper.The first torpedo struck farthest aft. Over the next 30 seconds three more warheads detonated against the massive aircraft carrier’s hull, working their way forward. The explosions and instant flooding immediately killed scores of men, many asleep in their bunks.As tons of seawater cascaded into the wounded colossus, men below deck could see the extent of the damage, were seized with panic, and stampeded topside. The missiles had hit 10 feet below the water line, and on the bridge and upper levels the commander and his officers were not yet aware of how sorely they were hurt. Many had survived earlier torpedo attacks, and aboard less formidable vessels than this one. Even as their gargantuan ship began to list, they remained optimistic.“Expressing the Flavor of an Ancient Samurai”


4/19/2019 8:00:00 PM

Mueller Report’s Unwritten Chapter: Why Russians Were Courting Trump WorldPhoto Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/GettyThe Mueller report answers lots of questions but leaves one big one lingering: Why were so many Russians so eager to ingratiate themselves with Trump World?The report is in one sense a story of meetings, pitches, and introductions that were entertained but ultimately unfulfilled. “In some instances, the Campaign was receptive to the offers” of Russian help, “while in other instances the Campaign officials shied away," the report says. In any case, no one broke the law with a criminal conspiracy. Special counsel Robert Mueller reaffirmed the intelligence community’s conclusions that the Russian government directed an online campaign of hacking and trolling to help Donald Trump in 2016. What’s less clear are the intentions of the many Russians who reached out to the Trump campaign offline and whether they were well-connected covert emissaries of the Kremlin or just hucksters trying to latch onto the coattails of a potential president.  Parsing the motivations of the various Russian supplicants is difficult in part because many of them were a mirror image of their counterparts in Trump World: D-listers in their own political hierarchy for whom the line between state policy and personal gain is unclear. In previous court filings and in the special counsel’s final report, prosecutors wrote that the FBI believes Konstantin Kilimnik, a former partner in Paul Manafort’s consulting business in Ukraine who had worked for the Soviet army as a translator in the 1980s, has “ties to Russian intelligence.” Kilimnik held a Russian diplomatic passport as recently as 1997, and a number of his former associates relayed their belief that the dual Russian-Ukrainian national was, at least at some point, a spy.Kilimnik, the report reveals, received not just a single briefing from Manafort on Trump campaign polling and messaging strategy in August 2016 but continuous updates via text messages from Manafort’s aide Rick Gates. In turn, Kilimnik passed along a peace plan for Ukraine that Manafort himself recognized as a “backdoor” to recognizing Russia’s de facto annexation of rebel-held parts of the country. Prosecutors concluded they could “not reliably determine” why Manafort passed along the polling data. Viewed in one light, it certainly can appear as though Kilimnik, a former intelligence officer, was a mere cutout for Manafort to pass Trump campaign information to the Russian government. But prosecutors couldn’t determine what Kilimnik did with the information, and both Manafort and Gates suggested an alternate explanation for the exchange: money.Manafort had run afoul of Oleg Deripaska, a wealthy Russian oligarch, when an investment fund  he tanked lost Deripaska millions and prompted a lawsuit. The report says Manafort had been trying to get back in his good graces ever since he’d taken a job at the Trump campaign. At the Aug. 2, 2016, meeting where Manafort had raised polling and fielded a peace plan, he also discussed the possibility that Deripaska could drop the lawsuit filed after the collapse of the investment fund. Kilimnik, in that sense, was Manafort’s way to kiss up to Deripaska again.Deripaska’s deep pockets and litigiousness may have drawn Manafort’s focus, but he’s more than just a money man. The Trump administration sanctioned him in 2018 for acting as a representative of the Russian government. His aide, Victor Boyarkin, who the report says ferried messages to Manafort via Kilimnik, is a former GRU officer whom the Treasury Department sanctioned for “providing Russian financial support to a Montenegrin political party ahead of Montenegro’s 2016 elections” shortly before Russia allegedly tried to pull off a coup in the country. Deripaska’s interest in Manafort may have not been just money either. In January 2017, the report says Manafort traveled to Madrid to meet a Deripaska aide and discuss “recreating [the] old friendship” between the two men but also “global politics.” Manafort sent an email to Trump’s incoming deputy national security adviser, K.T. McFarland, when he got back to the U.S. three days later about “important information” he had picked up “on my travels over the last month.” Manafort claimed it was about Cuba; the special counsel’s office couldn’t say whether that was true. In any case, no one appears to have followed up.Not all of the Russians pitching the Trump campaign had sinister backgrounds in the spy world.When the special counsel’s office charged Michael Cohen with lying to Congress, it offered the tantalizing detail that he had met with someone who promised “political synergy” from the Russian government and the ability to set up a meeting with President Vladimir Putin and then candidate Trump. Stripped of his anonymity, synergy man seems a far less impressive operator. Mueller’s final report identifies him as Dmitry Klokov, the director of public relations for a Russian electrical transmission company who had once been a spokesperson for a former Russian energy minister. If he could’ve set up a Putin meeting, he didn’t try very hard—Cohen dumped him after a few phone calls.  Or Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer at the center of the infamous Trump Tower meeting in 2016. The Trump side of that meeting’s intentions were obvious enough from Donald Trump Jr.’s exclamation of “I love it” when Veselnitskaya claimed that she had dirt on the Clintons compliments of the Russian government. Her hints at government sources have since been borne out by an indictment in New York that alleges that she lied about ghostwriting correspondence for Russian officials to send to their American counterparts. And her clients—wealthy Russians who’ve had money seized on corruption charges—have interests that dovetail directly with one of Moscow’s most pressing foreign policy priorities: the removal of sanctions against Russian nationals and companies. So was she representing her clients at that meeting or the broader interests of the Kremlin? Mueller doesn’t say, but the bait she offered—unsupported allegations about money laundering she couldn’t connect to Hillary Clinton—was far short of tempting. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here


4/18/2019 4:32:16 PM

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