Trump 'tried to fire Mueller' – BBC News

Trump ‘tried to fire Mueller’ – BBC News

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Why no charge of obstruction of justice? A law professor breaks down the legal questions. US President Donald Trump tried to get the man appointed to investigate his links to Russia fired, a long-awaited report has revealed.
The 448-page redacted document, collated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, was finally released on Thursday.
Mr Trump’s legal team has described the report as a “total victory”.
But the country’s top lawyer, William Barr, is facing heavy criticism of his handling of the report’s release.
Senior democrats have accused the attorney general of “misleading” them with an earlier summary of the report’s findings regarding whether Mr Trump obstructed justice.
The mammoth document is the product of a 22-month investigation by Mr Mueller – who was appointed to probe Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Reaction to the Mueller report as it happened What’s new in the Mueller report? Pro-Trump Santas and other Mueller oddities The Trump-Russia saga in 350 words His team’s investigation has led to 35 people being charged, including several who were a part of the president’s campaign and administration.
What does the report reveal? Mr Mueller’s report says he found no criminal conspiracy between Mr Trump’s campaign and Russia, but could not reach a concrete legal conclusion on whether Mr Trump tried to obstruct the investigation.
“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,” the report says. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgement.
“Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
The report says that in June 2017, Mr Trump called Don McGahn – then a White House lawyer – to try to get Mr Mueller removed over alleged “conflicts of interest”.
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption US Attorney General William Barr on Mueller report findings Mr McGahn told the special counsel he resigned after feeling “trapped because he did not plan to follow the President’s directive” and would not have known what to say to Mr Trump had he called again.
The report also reveals:
Mr Trump reportedly used an expletive when the investigation was announced, adding: “Oh my god. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency” Mr Mueller examined 10 actions by the president in regards to obstruction of justice, which he said largely “took place in public view” The report says that potential obstruction of justice by the president only failed because members of his administration, including former FBI Director James Comey, refused to “carry out orders” Investigators viewed the president’s written responses to their questions as “inadequate” but chose not to pursue a potentially lengthy legal battle to interview him Mr Trump dictated a misleading response as to what the June 2016 meeting between Russian intermediaries and Trump campaign officials in Trump Tower was about – this had earlier been denied by Mr Trump’s lawyer and White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders The special counsel considered charging the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, and son-in-law Jared Kushner but did not think they could meet the Department of Justice’s burden of proof that they wilfully broke the law Read more on the new findings Why no charges for Trump? Robert Mueller has said that the written answers provided by Donald Trump were inadequate, but if that’s the case, why didn’t he use his subpoena powers to demand the president come before his investigating committee and answer questions directly?
That was an arm wrestle he chose not to get into with the president for fear that it may lead to the permanent death of his investigation.
So he ducked that one.
Others may ask: “Well, if you thought there was a level of obstruction why didn’t you say there should be an indictment?”
I’d say what he’s done here – to use an American analogy – is he’s taken the baseball bat, he’s put it on home plate and he’s leaving it for other people to pick up and take a swing.
He’s saying to Congress essentially: “I’ve looked at it. I didn’t resolve this question. I didn’t exonerate him. But if you want to have a go, that’s a different thing.”
Read more analysis from Jon How has Mr Trump reacted? Speaking at an event for veterans earlier, Mr Trump said he was having a “good day” – adding that there was “no collusion” and “no obstruction”.
Who’s who in the Trump-Russia saga? Mueller: America’s most mysterious public figure Trump’s other legal headaches Representatives for the president have also reiterated his view that the investigation was a “hoax” and called for reprisal inquiries.
“President Trump has been fully and completely exonerated yet again,” Mr Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement.
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Trump on Mueller report: “This should never happen to another president again” “Now the tables have turned, and it’s time to investigate the liars who instigated this sham investigation into President Trump, motivated by political retribution and based on no evidence whatsoever.”
His comments followed a stream of social media posts by the president on Thursday regarding the report’s release.
In one tweet, he said had the right to “end the whole witch hunt” and fire Mr Mueller had he wanted to.
How are the Democrats responding? Representative Jerry Nadler confirmed that the House Committee on the Judiciary had already requested the special counsel to appear “as soon as possible”.
Senior Democrats have called on Mr Mueller to testify to them directly in order to “restore public trust” after what they described as Mr Barr’s “partisan behaviour” regarding the report.
The attorney general, who was appointed by Mr Trump, held a news conference before the report was made public in which he backed the president.
His actions have provoked top Democrats to publicly question his impartiality and independence.
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Democrat Jerry Nadler accuses the attorney general of “waging a media campaign” for Trump “Attorney General Barr appears to have shown an unsettling willingness to undermine his own department in order to protect President Trump,” Mr Nadler said on Thursday.
He also said he would issue a subpoena for a copy of the full uncensored version of Mr Mueller’s findings.
A joint statement by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, who lead the Democrats in Congress, said it was “clear” the report “appears to undercut” Mr Barr’s characterisation of it.
Some have called on the attorney general to resign.
Skip Twitter post by @RepSwalwell Russia attacked us. The #MuellerReport details a multiplicity of contacts b/w Russia & @realDonaldTrump ’s team and that Trump & his team “materially impaired” the investigation. Yet, OUR Attorney General acts as Trump’s defense attorney. He can’t represent both. Barr must resign.
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) April 18, 2019 Report End of Twitter post by @RepSwalwell

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Farmers struggling with mental health – BBC News

Media playback is unsupported on your device Video Farmers struggling with mental health
Poor mental health is emerging as one of the biggest, yet unspoken challenges in the farming industry.
BBC analysis of the latest figures show that about one agricultural worker a week takes their own life across the UK.
For details of organisations which offer advice and support, go to BBC Action Line .
Reporter: Gareth Barlow
Video Journalists: Tony Smith & Ameer Ahmed
Executive Producer: Chris Gibson

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Trump ‘tried to fire Mueller’ – BBC News

His team’s investigation has led to 35 people being charged, including several who were a part of the president’s campaign and administration. What does the report reveal?
Mr Mueller’s report says he found no criminal conspiracy between Mr Trump’s campaign and Russia, but could not reach a concrete legal conclusion on whether Mr Trump tried to obstruct the investigation.
“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,” the report says. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgement.
“Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
The report says that in June 2017, Mr Trump called Don McGahn – then a White House lawyer – to try to get Mr Mueller removed over alleged “conflicts of interest”. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption US Attorney General William Barr on Mueller report findings
Mr McGahn told the special counsel he resigned after feeling “trapped because he did not plan to follow the President’s directive” and would not have known what to say to Mr Trump had he called again.
The report also reveals: Mr Trump reportedly used an expletive when the investigation was announced, adding: “Oh my god. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency” Mr Mueller examined 10 actions by the president in regards to obstruction of justice, which he said largely “took place in public view” The report says that potential obstruction of justice by the president only failed because members of his administration, including former FBI Director James Comey, refused to “carry out orders” Investigators viewed the president’s written responses to their questions as “inadequate” but chose not to pursue a potentially lengthy legal battle to interview him Mr Trump dictated a misleading response as to what the June 2016 meeting between Russian intermediaries and Trump campaign officials in Trump Tower was about – this had earlier been denied by Mr Trump’s lawyer and White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders The special counsel considered charging the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, and son-in-law Jared Kushner but did not think they could meet the Department of Justice’s burden of proof that they wilfully broke the law Read more on the new findings Why no charges for Trump?
Robert Mueller has said that the written answers provided by Donald Trump were inadequate, but if that’s the case, why didn’t he use his subpoena powers to demand the president come before his investigating committee and answer questions directly?
That was an arm wrestle he chose not to get into with the president for fear that it may lead to the permanent death of his investigation.
So he ducked that one.
Other may ask: “Well, if you thought there was a level of obstruction why didn’t you say there should be an indictment?”
I’d say what he’s done here – to use an American analogy – is he’s taken the baseball bat, he’s put it on home plate and he’s leaving it for other people to pick up and take a swing.
He’s saying to Congress essentially: “I’ve looked at it. I didn’t resolve this question. I didn’t exonerate him. But if you want to have a go, that’s a different thing.” Read more analysis from Jon How has Mr Trump reacted?
Speaking at an event for veterans earlier, Mr Trump said he was having a “good day” – adding that there was “no collusion” and “no obstruction”.

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Facebook bans UK far right groups and leaders – BBC News

Facebook bans UK far right groups and leaders 18 April 2019 These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Former BNP leader Nick Griffin and ex-Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen are among those affected Facebook has imposed a ban on a dozen far-right individuals and organisations that it says “spread hate”.
The ban includes the British National Party and Nick Griffin, the English Defence League and the National Front.
The list also includes Britain First, which was already banned, but this latest action will prohibit support for it on any of the US firm’s services.
It said it had taken the action because those involved had proclaimed a “violent or hateful mission”.
“Individuals and organisations who spread hate, or attack or call for the exclusion of others on the basis of who they are, have no place on Facebook,” the social network added in a statement. Image copyright Facebook Image caption The pages of some organisations named were still present on Facebook before the announcement
The ban includes: The British National Party and its ex-leader Nick Griffin Britain First, its leader Paul Golding and former deputy leader Jayda Fransen English Defence League and its founding member Paul Ray Knights Templar International and its promoter Jim Dowson National Front and its leader Tony Martin Jack Renshaw, a neo-Nazi who plotted to murder a Labour MP
A spokesman for Facebook clarified what would now be done to the pages the groups and individuals had run on its site. All those named would be prevented from having a presence on any Facebook service.
In addition, praise and support for the groups or named individuals would no longer be allowed.
The ban was “long overdue” said MP Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Select committee.
“For too long social media companies have been facilitating extremist and hateful content online and profiting from the poison,” she added.
“They have particularly failed on far-right extremism as they don’t even have the same co-ordination systems for platforms to work together as they do on Islamist extremism,” she added.
Ms Cooper said the measures were a “necessary first step” and should be strengthened by independent regulation and financial penalties for firms that were sluggish to remove material.
“We all know the appalling consequences there can be if hateful, violent and illegal content is allowed to proliferate,” she said. Image copyright Facebook
This current action, said Facebook, went further than the restrictions placed on Britain First last year when its official pages were removed for breaking the site’s community standards.
The latest move comes soon after Facebook said it would block “praise, support and representation of white nationalism and separatism” on its main app and Instagram.
Some controversial figures, such as Tommy Robinson, are already subject to bans on the social network. Related Topics

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North Korea test fires new ‘tactical guided weapon’ – BBC News

North Korea demands removal of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from talks 18 April 2019 These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Mike Pompeo (R) travelled to Pyongyang four times last year North Korea has demanded the removal of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from nuclear talks, accusing him of “talking nonsense” and being “reckless”.
A senior foreign ministry official said that further talks would be “lousy” if Mr Pompeo was involved, asking that he be replaced by someone “more careful”.
It comes after North Korea said it had tested a new “tactical guided weapon”.
The test is the first since a February summit in Hanoi between the countries’ leaders ended without an agreement.
Mr Pompeo visited North Korea four times last year – including for a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Why is Pompeo so controversial?
Last week, during a US Senate subcommittee hearing, Mr Pompeo was asked if he would agree with descriptions of Mr Kim as a “tyrant”, he then responded: “Sure, I’m sure I’ve said that.”
This was met with a strong reaction from North Korean foreign ministry official Kwon Jong-gun, who said that Mr Pompeo “spouted reckless remarks, hurting the dignity of our supreme leadership… to unveil his mean character”.
Mr Kwon also blamed Mr Pompeo for the abrupt ending to the Hanoi summit. What to make of the Hanoi summit collapse?
On Thursday, he said that if Mr Pompeo were to be involved in further talks, “the table will be lousy once again and the talks will become entangled”.
“Even in the case of possible resumption of dialogue with the US, I wish our dialogue counterpart would not be Pompeo but… [another] person who is more careful and mature in communicating with us,” Mr Kwon said, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
During discussions in Pyongyang in July, Mr Pompeo was condemned for his “gangster-like” insistence that the country move towards denuclearisation . Testing a ‘new weapon’
State media has given few details on Thursday’s reported test of a new “tactical guided weapon”, but analysts say it is unlikely to be a return to the long-range missile tests seen as a threat to the US.
According to KCNA, the test was overseen by Mr Kim himself. It said the test was “conducted in various modes of firing at different targets”, which analysts believe means the weapon could be launched from land, sea or air. Image copyright Reuters Image caption Kim Jong-un attending a flight training of Korean People’s Army Air Force on April 16
It is unclear if the weapon was a missile, but most observers agree that it was probably a short-range weapon. North Korea crisis in 300 words
Last year, Mr Kim said he would stop nuclear testing and would no longer launch intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Nuclear activity appears to be continuing, however, and satellite images at North Korea’s main nuclear site last week showed movement, suggesting the country could be reprocessing radioactive material into bomb fuel.
The country claims it has developed a nuclear bomb small enough to fit on a long-range missile, as well as ballistic missiles that could potentially reach the mainland US. ‘Pressure? What Pressure?’
This launch was fairly low-key by North Korean standards. It doesn’t appear to be a long-range missile, nor was it a nuclear test.
This means Kim Jong-un can say he’s keeping his promise not to fire these weapons – while developing new ones.
Perhaps it’s not a direct challenge to Donald Trump. But it could be designed to provoke some thought in the White House and warn them of what could follow if a deal isn’t done soon.
The current thinking in Washington seems to be that as long as there’s no testing, and the sanctions remain in place, there’s no rush. The US also seems to be under the impression that it’s holding all the cards in this negotiation. This launch is a reminder that North Korea is continuing to create weapons despite facing tough economic sanctions.
Pyongyang appears to be shrugging and saying, pressure? What pressure?!
Let’s not forget that these launches send a message to the people of North Korea. There are reports that the state is facing food shortages. Kim Jong-un needs to rally his people and his resources. A show of military strength and a reminder that they face a common enemy will aid that cause.
The test may also ensure North Korea’s military capabilities remain near the top of Mr Trump’s intelligence briefings. As he heads into an election year, he won’t want to see headlines on a series of missile tests – a problem the US president claimed to have solved. Where do the nuclear talks stand?
Very little has moved since the US and North Korean leaders walked out of talks in Hanoi – apart from rhetoric. Image copyright Reuters Image caption The North Korea and US summit in Vietnam in February ended without agreement
The US said talks broke down because North Korea wanted all sanctions lifted in exchange for scaling back its nuclear capacity, but Pyongyang disputes that.
In his most recent comments, Mr Kim urged Mr Trump to pursue a deal that was “mutually acceptable” but also spoke of his excellent ties with the US leader. Mr Trump responded by tweeting generous praise of Mr Kim and also welcomed the idea of another summit.
Earlier this week the State Department announced that Stephen Biegun, its special envoy for North Korea, was heading to Moscow for meetings “with Russian officials to discuss efforts to advance the final, fully verified” denuclearisation of North Korea.
It came as speculation of a possible future meeting between Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin intensified. Related Topics

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