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Trump repeatedly tried to impede the Russia probe, Mueller report said. Was it obstruction?

Trump repeatedly tried to impede the Russia probe, Mueller report said. Was it obstruction?Special counsel Robert Mueller detailed episodes in which President Trump sought to frustrate the investigation of Russian election interference.

POSTED APRIL 19, 2019 11:07 AM

The Latest: Crown of Thorns presented at Paris service

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):

POSTED APRIL 19, 2019 5:41 PM

Israel destroys family apartments of accused Palestinian killer

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.

POSTED APRIL 19, 2019 3:50 AM

The 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster Isn't Even Out Yet, and There's Already a Factory Trim Package for It

The 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster Isn't Even Out Yet, and There's Already a Factory Trim Package for ItHey buddy, wanna buy a really nice Porsche Design watch? It comes with a car.

POSTED APRIL 18, 2019 1:42 PM

U.S. arrests former Marine connected to North Korea embassy raid in Spain

U.S. arrests former Marine connected to North Korea embassy raid in SpainChristopher Ahn was arrested and is expected to be arraigned on Friday in federal court in Los Angles, according to a law enforcement official and a source close to the group. The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment. In April, investigators said the intruders, self-professed members of a group seeking the overthrow of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, removed computers and hard drives from the embassy before fleeing to the United States, where they handed the material to the FBI.

POSTED APRIL 19, 2019 6:11 PM

Driver with STAYUMBL license plate, notorious for cutting people off around Durham, charged in incident with bus

Driver with STAYUMBL license plate, notorious for cutting people off around Durham, charged in incident with busThe STAYUMBL license plate is notorious on the road and social media. Folks say the driver behind the wheel will speed up, cut people off and then slam on her brakes, sometimes causing a crash.

POSTED APRIL 19, 2019 8:15 AM

Bereft Catholics to be greeted by 'ephemeral wooden' Notre-Dame in front of the charred original

Bereft Catholics to be greeted by 'ephemeral wooden' Notre-Dame in front of the charred originalCatholics and tourists who can no longer approach Notre-Dame after Monday’s devastating fire will be consoled by an “ephemeral cathedral” made of wood until the stricken cathedral reopens, its chief priest has announced. Notre-Dame’s 12 million annual visitors will still be able to marvel at Europe’s most visited historic building from the outside, but Monseigneur Patrick Chauvet said for the faithful something more was needed. “We mustn’t say ‘the cathedral is closed for five years’ and that’s it,” he told CSNews TV. The prospect led him to ask the question: “Can I not build an ephemeral cathedral on the esplanade (in front of Notre Dame)?” Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, has backed the idea, he said. The wooden “cathedral” will host priests who will be able to address the crowds during reconstruction works, which President Emmanuel Macron said wanted to be complete within five years. As experts continued to assess the damage to the building, which lost its roof and “forest” of ancient wooden beams, along with its famed spire, President Macron led a day of tribute to the Paris firefighters who saved the Gothic edifice from collapse and rescued its treasures from the flames. They were to be awarded a special gold medal for “bravery and devotion”. Later, Paris town hall will stage a ceremony in the firefighters’ honour, with a Bach concert, two giant banners and readings from Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. More than 400 firefighters took part in the nine-hour fight to save the 12th-century cathedral.  Despite a delay reportedly due to a computer glitch in the fire alarm sending security agents to the wrong part of the cathedral, its iconic towers, rose windows, huge organ and artworks were saved thanks to the quick and valiant work of Paris firemen. The building was only minutes from burning to the ground in a "chain-reaction collapse", said Jose Vaz de Matos, a fire expert with France's culture ministry. Miraculously, no one was killed in the fire, which occurred during a Mass. “The worst has been avoided,” said Franck Riester, the culture minister. But he warned that there was still a risk of collapse of three weak spots. “The main structure is out of danger but three areas remain fragile,” he told BFM TV. While the upper level and northern gable had been secured overnight, the western gable between the two bell towers remains “extremely weakened”, he warned. Another weak spot is the corner of the southern belfry, where the intense heat from the fire had turned the stone “crumbly”. The vault is also not out of danger. “Scaffolding will be installed to remove the debris from the vault because if it rains, water will gather and weigh down on it,” he said. With around €900 million (£780m) already donated to rebuild the cathedral from around the world, officials warned that fraudsters are taking advantage of the Notre-Dame fire to fool well-wishers into handing over cash. The French Heritage Foundation, which has so far collected more than €13 million from individual donors, said: "A number of scams have been flagged to us both in France and abroad.” It urged people to donate only to official sites.

POSTED APRIL 18, 2019 12:55 PM

France salutes 'exemplary' firefighters for saving Notre-Dame

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.

POSTED APRIL 19, 2019 1:24 AM

How the U.S. Navy Sunk Imperial Japan's Top Secret Aircraft Carrier

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”

POSTED APRIL 19, 2019 10:00 PM

What the Mueller report tells us about Trump, Russia and obstruction

What the Mueller report tells us about Trump, Russia and obstructionThe special counsel found 11 instances in which Trump and his campaign’s actions may have amounted to obstruction of justice * Mueller report latest – live updates * Support the Guardian’s independent journalism and make a contribution The special counsel Robert Mueller’s highly anticipated report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was made public on Thursday, examining potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow and whether Donald Trump obstructed justice.The special counsel found 10 episodes in which Trump’s own actions may have amounted to obstruction of justice, detailing several instances in which the president’s demands to interfere with the investigation were blocked by his aides. And in a separate instance, it was found there were additional efforts by the Trump campaign before the election to obscure its contacts with Russian figures.The report separately examined the repeated contacts between the Trump campaign and individuals with ties to the Russian government. While Mueller did not find evidence of a criminal conspiracy, investigators made clear the Trump campaign was “receptive” to offers of assistance from the Russians.Here are the key takeaways:default Obstruction inquiry finds numerous ‘episodes’ involving TrumpMueller investigated 10 instances in which Trump sought to use the power of the presidency to obstruct justice by either personally interfering with the Russia investigation or directing his aides to do so. They included Trump’s request that the then FBI director, James Comey, drop the investigation of the former national security adviser Michael Flynn; Trump’s attempts to stop the then attorney general Jeff Sessions’ recusal from overseeing the Russia investigation; Trump’s demand that the special counsel’s investigation be limited to election meddling only; and Trump’s efforts behind the scenes to fire Mueller.“The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful,” the report states, “but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”In other words, Mueller ultimately did not definitively conclude that Trump obstructed justice, but it was not for a lack of trying. Mueller made clear he was not exonerating Trump of obstruction, writing:> The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards however we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.Mueller separately noted that as a candidate, Trump repeatedly denied any connections to Russia even as his business was pursuing a potential real estate deal in Moscow. Trump also voiced skepticism that Russia had hacked Democratic party emails “at the same time as he and other Campaign advisors privately sought information … about any future planned WikiLeaks releases”, the report states. Trump campaign was ‘receptive’ to help from the RussiansAlthough Mueller did not find evidence amounting to a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow, the report makes clear that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election “in a sweeping and systematic fashion”. It also notes that Russia was keen for Trump to win the 2016 election, beating Hillary Clinton. “The investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome.”Investigators found multiple ties between the Trump campaign and the Russians, which were described as follows:> The Russian contacts consisted of business connections, offers of assistance to the Campaign, invitations for candidate Trump and Putin to meet in person, invitations for Campaign officials and representatives of the Russian government to meet, and policy positions seeking improved U.S.-Russian relations. Some of the earliest contacts dated back to 2015 and were in connection to a potential real estate project, known as Trump Tower Moscow and negotiated by the Trump Organization. Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen was convicted in part for lying to Congress about the timeline and nature of those discussions, which reportedly entailed gifting Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, a $50m penthouse. The project ultimately did not come to fruition.Among the most notable early contacts with the Russians was through the Trump campaign’s foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, who learned that the Kremlin had “dirt” on Clinton “in the form of thousands of emails”. Although Mueller did not prove that the contacts resulted in collusion, the report states that the Trump campaign “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts”.> The investigation established multiple links between Trump Campaign officials and individuals tied to the Russian government. Those links included Russian offers of assistance to the Campaign. In some instances , the Campaign was receptive to the offer, while in other instances the Campaign officials shied away. Ultimately, the investigation did not establish that the Campaign coordinated or conspired with the Russian government in its election-interference activities. Trump believed Mueller’s appointment would end his presidencyOne of the most damning revelations in the 400-plus-page report is how Trump reacted to the appointment of a special counsel. Mueller was appointed by the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, on 17 May 2017, following the recusal of Sessions and the firing of Comey.Trump was informed of Mueller’s appointment by Sessions while in the midst of conducting interviews for a new FBI director. According to notes written by Jody Hunt, who served at the time as Sessions’ chief of staff, Trump did not take the news well:> When Sessions told the President that a Special Counsel had been appointed, the President slumped back in his chair and said, ‘Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked.’Trump then “became angry” and lambasted his attorney general for recusing himself from the investigation after it was revealed Sessions misled Congress about his own contacts with the Russians. “How could you let this happen, Jeff?” Trump asked Sessions. According to Sessions’ recollection, Trump then told him: “You were supposed to protect me,” or words to that effect.> The President returned to the consequences of the appointment and said, ‘Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency. It takes years and years and I won’t be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.’ Mueller could not prove Donald Trump Jr ‘willfully’ violated the lawMuch was made of Donald Trump Jr’s role in arranging the infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York with the prospect of receiving incriminating information about Clinton. (According to emails released by the president’s eldest son, when informed of an effort by the Russian government to help elect his father, Trump Jr said: “If it’s what you say I love it.”)Participants included Trump Jr; the president’s son-in-law and senior campaign adviser Jared Kushner; the then campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; and the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. The Mueller report states that Trump Jr had informed top campaign officials and Trump family members in advance that “he had a lead on negative information about the Clinton Foundation”.The 9 June 2016 meeting, according to the report, raised “difficult statutory and constitutional questions” relating to “schemes involving the solicitation or receipt of assistance from foreign sources”. But the special counsel ultimately concluded that they could not prove Trump Jr or other participants were knowingly in violation of the law: > The Office ultimately concluded that, even if the principal legal questions were resolved favorably to the government, a prosecution would encounter difficulties proving that Campaign officials or individuals connected to the Campaign willfully violated the law. > Sarah Sanders admitted she lied to press about Comey’s firingThe White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, has long come under fire for making public statements that are untruthful or misleading. But her role in covering up Trump’s motivations for firing Comey were laid bare in the report, which cited how her statements at a press briefing days after the FBI’s firing were at odds with the facts. Sanders insisted at the briefing that Trump fired Comey at the justice department’s recommendation and repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that rank-and-file members of the FBI had lost confidence in Comey. Sanders acknowledged to the special counsel’s office that her assertion “was not founded on anything”.According to the Mueller report, Trump actually decided to fire Comey before hearing the recommendation of the justice department and further pointed to the Russia investigation in his rationale:> The day after firing Comey, the President told Russian officials that he had ‘faced great pressure because of Russia’, which had been ‘taken off’ by Comey’s firing. Mueller lays out case for Congress to investigate Trump on obstructionThe attorney general, William Barr, made his own determination that the special counsel lacked sufficient evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of justice. He also said he did not know if Mueller intended for Congress to be the arbiter of the matter.Mueller, in fact, left little room for interpretation on Congress’s authority to evaluate the evidence and reach its own decision on obstruction:“We concluded that Congress has authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice,” the report states, adding: > The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.

POSTED APRIL 18, 2019 1:45 PM

News – Insurance Journal

Car Sharing Lobbyists Battle Car Renting Lobbyists, Driving State Lawmakers Crazy
The bill that turned Illinois into the focal point of a bitter debate over car-sharing last year started as a proposal about what happens when a rental car is stolen. The legislation, which would allow rental companies to punish customers …

POSTED APRIL 19, 2019 5:00 AM
Official ESG Evaluations from S&P Coming to Insurance Sector in Near Future
If you’re among those who regard “Environmental, social and governance” as just another in a long line of trendy buzz-phrases, then you may have to rethink your thinking. ESG standards, which companies use to highlight operations that interest socially conscious …

POSTED APRIL 18, 2019 10:48 PM
Island Insurance in Hawaii Names Tanoue Vice President, General Counsel
Island Insurance Company Ltd. in Hawaii has named Michael Tanoue vice president and general counsel. In this Tanoue is responsible for strategic initiatives, policy management, legal strategy, compliance and regulatory filings. He has nearly 35 years of legal experience, most …

POSTED APRIL 18, 2019 6:05 PM
Oklahoma Prescription Drug ‘Step Therapy’ Bill Signed Into Law
A bill intended to protect patients from a harmful insurance practice known as ‘step therapy’ has been signed into law by Governor Kevin Stitt. Senate Bill 509, authored by Rep. Cyndi Munson (D-OKC) and Sen. Dave Rader (R-Tulsa), requires any …

POSTED APRIL 18, 2019 4:19 PM
Oklahoma Bill Increasing Highway Speed Limits Signed by Governor
Gov. Kevin Stitt today signed a bill into law that will increase the speed limit on Oklahoma turnpikes from 75 to 80 miles per hour and on certain state highways from 70 to 75 miles per hour. Rep. Daniel Pae, …

POSTED APRIL 18, 2019 4:18 PM
U.S. Senate Hearing Focuses on Missouri River Flood Prevention
The federal agency that manages dams along the Missouri River received stern criticism from several U.S. senators Wednesday during a hearing held in Iowa to examine the massive spring flooding this year that caused more than $3 billion in damage …

POSTED APRIL 18, 2019 4:16 PM
Waco Surf Park Hit with Suit Over Man’s Death From ‘Brain-Eating Amoeba’
The mother of a New Jersey man who died of a rare “brain-eating amoeba” after visiting a Texas surf resort has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the water park. Health officials say testing found evidence of the rare but …

POSTED APRIL 18, 2019 4:13 PM
ASSP Names Ballman Director of Professional Development
The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), based in Park Ridge, Illinois, has named Chris Ballman director of professional development. Ballman will oversee the Society’s comprehensive educational offerings that advance the careers of occupational safety and health professionals worldwide. He …

POSTED APRIL 18, 2019 4:11 PM
Stolen High-End Cars Recovered in Chicago Car-Sharing Fraud
Daimler AG and BMW AG’s joint car-sharing and mobility business has suspended service in Chicago after a fraud incident. Some vehicles may have been rented using deceptive means through Share Now’s mobile app, according to the Chicago Police Department. Multiple …

POSTED APRIL 18, 2019 4:08 PM
LA Archdiocese to Pay $8M Payment in Sex Abuse Case
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to pay $8 million to a teenager who was sexually abused by the athletic director at her Catholic high school who had continued to work despite prior allegations of misconduct, it was announced …

POSTED APRIL 18, 2019 2:15 PM

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