Republican legislator Justin Amash has said he believes Donald Trump has engaged in “impeachable conduct”, becoming the first politician from his party to call for removing the US president.
The Michigan representative on Saturday also accused Attorney General William Barr of “deliberately” misleading the public over the actual content and tenor of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference aimed at tipping the election to Trump.
In a series of tweets, Amash – a member of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus – said “few members of Congress even read Mueller’s report,” which identified “multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice”.
“Undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence,” he posted.
“Contrary to Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behaviour that met the threshold for impeachment.”
Here are my principal conclusions:
1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report.
2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.
3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances.
4. Few members of Congress have read the report.
Amash’s comments went even further than those by most Democratic leaders in Congress.
Fellow Michigan legislator Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat, urged Amash to co-sponsor her impeachment resolution.
“@justinamash come find me in 1628 Longworth. I’ve got an impeachment investigation resolution you’re going to want to cosponsor,” she wrote in response to Amash’s thread.
Trump has proclaimed he was fully exonerated by Mueller’s report.
But some Democrats, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 presidential candidate who has called for impeachment proceedings, argue that the document lays out multiple occasions in which the president may have obstructed justice.
Other senior Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have cautioned against such a move, stressing it could deeply divide the nation of about 325 million people.
These Democrats warn it could backfire politically in the run-up to the 2020 election, especially with the Republican-controlled Senate likely to acquit the president in the event of impeachment by the House of Representatives.
Hi All, Today Cheri Honkala and the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign will arrive and are plan [see below] to go to the Water Company to try to get the water back on. There will be a Press Conference with the Lawyer’s Guild at 12 Noon today. There is a lot of info below. The first video has a lot of information and if you can listen to it I suggest you so. I hope to get more info out today. And if any of you can get to DC please do and share this widely. The main media is not covering it at all so you know they are being told not to because this is huge!
PS As always if you want to no longer receive these updates let me know.
DC Water Company 9am 5/13 today 125 -O street SE Water for Venezuelan Embassy now
Protests continue on both sides as the standoff at the Venezuelan Embassy continues. With access to water shut o…
“Statement from the Embassy Protection Collective after US authorities cut the power to the besieged Venezuelan …
We are reading the new Mother’s Day proclamation at the side of the Venezuelan embassy in Washington DC which is under siege by the coup supporters but we are protecting it’s
We are reading the new Mother’s Day
Another Mothers Day call for peace is being ignored by the war profiteers who are eager for a war in Venezuela. Call your legislators and ask them to tell the Secret Service and the DC police to protect peaceful citizens who need to take food and supplies into the Venezuelan Embassy that they have been empowered to hold legally by the Venezuelan government. Love, Eliz
We would think the U.S. state would be embarrassed.
All three of Venezuelan neo-fascist Juan Guaido’s coup attempts have failed. Donald Trump appears to be raising questions regarding the effectiveness of National Security Advisor John Bolton’s pro-coup strategies in Venezuela.
Yet the assault on the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C., continues unabated.
The electricity and water were turned off this week in an attempt to smoke the Embassy Protection Collective out of the building in the upscale Washington, D.C., neighborhood of Georgetown.
The state still appears to be hot to blame Russia for its ills. Journalist Anya Parampil tweeted a Secret Service officer said anti-interventionists are “paid by Russia or whatever.”
This is a curious statement: “… paid by Russia or whatever.”
It not only shows the U.S. state is still scapegoating Russia after the Mueller report demonstrated Russia did not meddle in the 2016 U.S. election.
Embedded in that statement is the assumption that forms the foundation of U.S. mythology: That in order to be good, one must be aligned with the white supremacist imperialist project. Those who are not white and/or not in alignment with that project are otherized.
As African/Black internationalists, we reject that position and continue to stand with the colonized peoples of the world. (Check out BAP Coordinating Committee member Netfa Freemanbreaking down the connection between Pan-Africanism and liberation movements throughout the world in an interview with Eleanor Goldfield of Act Out.) That is why our folks have consistently shown up at the Venezuelan embassy. We understand what it’s like to be under siege by militarized forces, to be deprived of our basic needs, our human rights violated, and demonized by the First World imperialists right here in the belly of the beast. We released an official statement on the matter.
Below, you can see Garrett Harris and Toby Robert of Pan-African Community Action, a BAP member organization, alongside Maurice Carney of BAP member organization Friends of the Congo, and BAP Coordinating Committee member Margaret Kimberley—all willing to stand in the rain for hours yesterday, across the street from the embassy.
The Real News Network interviewedGarrett on the scene last week, when neo-fascist forces first swarmed the scene with their violence.
Now we must ask you to take action to help restore water and electricity at the Venezuelan embassy, and end the neo-fascist siege on the building. Copy and paste the letter below and send it to the following email addresses for Washington, D.C., officials and agencies:
Please restore water and electricity to 1099 30th Street NW, Washington, D.C., aka the Venezuelan embassy. It is a human rights violation to cut off water and electricity. Your top officials can be sued and hauled off to jail.
An embassy is considered a sovereign country inside the United States. You are obligated per Article 25 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to provide resources so that a diplomatic building can function. You are obligated per Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to protect the building from the neo-fascist siege currently underway.
The people inside the building are lawful tenants, having met the 14-day threshold of D.C. tenancy. They are also skilled attorneys. When you are sued, the people of D.C. will blame you for being complicit with U.S. gangsterism, the same gangsterism that the United States demonstrates around the world, cutting off access to resources, bombing people of color all over.
These neo-fascists are the same type of people who last year burned an Afro-Venezuelan man alive.
It is unprecedented for the U.S. government to cut off water and electricity to an embassy and allow neo-fascist thugs to damage the outside of an embassy. This siege will have a ripple effect on international relations. Even during wartime, embassies are hands-off zones. Now, how can other embassies expect their buildings to be protected and fully functioning in D.C.? Why wouldn’t another country attack a U.S. embassy abroad after what you have allowed?
Secret Service and Metropolitan Police Department only stand by, watching the thuggery and arresting peaceful people who are being assaulted.
It is in the best interests of PEPCO, D.C. Water and the District of Columbia to stay out of the war the United States is waging on the majority Black and Brown country of Venezuela and its embassy. Immediately restore water and electricity to the lawful tenants of the Venezuelan embassy. Then end the neo-fascist siege on the embassy.
Sincerely, [Your name] [City, state, country]
Struggle to win, Ajamu, Jaribu, Margaret, Netfa, Paul, Vanessa and YahNé Coordinating Committee Black Alliance for Peace
National Mobilization — Saturday, May 18, 12:00 p.m. Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C. 1099 30th St. NW
The Embassy Protection Collective is calling on all peace and social justice organizations and people from all over the United States to join together next Saturday, May 18, for a massive mobilization in Washington D.C. at the Venezuelan Embassy.
Right-wing and fascist thugs have laid siege to the Venezuelan Embassy. The electricity has been cut off. The water has been cut off and people attempting to bring food were violently attacked and arrested. The Secret Service and the D.C. Police Department, under orders of the Trump Administration, have created a humanitarian crisis in the heart of Washington D.C. at a diplomatic compound that is protected by the Vienna Convention.
Momentum is building all over the country in defense of the Embassy Protection Collective and in opposition to the Trump Administration’s lawless attempt to seize Venezuela’s Embassy.
Peace activists have been residing inside the Venezuelan Embassy, since mid-April to protect it from takeover by the Trump Administration as part of the U.S. orchestrated coup, they are there as the invited guests of the owner of the building, the Venezuelan government. Organized by CODEPINK, Popular Resistance and ANSWER Coalition, they formed the Embassy Protection Collective. They are demanding that the electricity and water be turned back on, and that food and medicines be allowed inside.
Rod Rosenstein: “We enforce the law without fear or favour”
Rod Rosenstein, the US deputy attorney general who oversaw the special counsel inquiry into President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, has resigned.
Mr Rosenstein, who had a fraught working relationship with Mr Trump, will step down on 11 May in a departure that had been expected for months.
In his letter, he paid tribute to Mr Trump, even praising the president’s “courtesy and humour”.
Mr Trump once tweeted an image showing Mr Rosenstein jailed for treason.
Mr Rosenstein – who was originally appointed by Republican President George W Bush – had been expected to resign in March following the appointment of William Barr as attorney general.
But the justice department second-in-command stayed in the job a while longer to help Mr Barr manage a redacted public release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
The report did not determine that the Trump campaign had conspired with Russia to sway the 2016 election, and did not find sufficient evidence for an obstruction-of-justice case against the president.
What does Rosenstein’s resignation letter say?
In his letter, Mr Rosenstein praises some of what he calls the Department of Justice’s achievements and its employees’ “devotion to duty”.
“I am grateful to you for the opportunity to serve; for the courtesy and humour you often display in our personal conversations; and for the goals you set in your inaugural address: patriotism, unity, safety, education, and prosperity,” he wrote, addressing the president directly.
“The Department of Justice pursues those goals while operating in accordance with the rule of law. The rule of law is the foundation of America. It secures our freedom, allows our citizens to flourish, and enables our nation to serve as a model of liberty and justice for all.”
He goes on to say that “truth is not determined by opinion polls”.
“We ignore fleeting distractions and focus our attention on the things that matter, because a republic that endures is not governed by the news cycle.”
In his conclusion, he echoes one of Mr Trump’s campaign slogans: “We keep the faith, we follow the rules, and we always put America first.”
The White House said Mr Trump had already nominated Deputy Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Rosen to replace Mr Rosenstein.
Rod Rosenstein is leaving the justice department, and he’s doing it on his own terms.
Not too long ago, such a dignified exit would have come as a real surprise to most observers.
Donald Trump frequently seemed to view Mr Rosenstein as an internal threat. It got so bad that Mr Rosenstein reportedly expressed fear that he would be unceremoniously sacked via presidential tweet.
Rosenstein managed to navigate the hazardous terrain of the Trump administration, however, seeing the special counsel investigation that he initiated to its conclusion. It is that Russia inquiry, with its no-Trump-conspiracy conclusion and open question on presidential obstruction, that will be Mr Rosenstein’s legacy.
Mr Rosenstein announced his departure with a six-paragraph mini-lecture on the importance of a justice department free of political influence and respect for the rule of law.
That could be viewed as a not-so-subtle rebuke of the president’s near-constant badgering of justice department officials, although it will almost certainly fall on deaf ears.
Perhaps, however, it will allow the long-time government lawyer a measure of satisfaction, believing he had the last word.
In this administration, that is a not unremarkable achievement.
Why were Rosenstein and Trump at odds?
In May 2017, Mr Rosenstein was left in charge of appointing someone to oversee the Russia investigation after Mr Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.
Jeff Sessions, who was attorney general at the time, had already recused himself, meaning that his deputy had to take on the responsibility.
Mr Rosenstein surprised the White House by appointing Mr Mueller, a former FBI director.
The deputy attorney general spent the past two years overseeing Mr Mueller’s work and defending the inquiry from attacks by Mr Trump, who continually condemned the probe as a “witch hunt”.
Mr Rosenstein’s departure seemed imminent after the New York Times last September reported that he had discussed ousting Mr Trump.
Citing anonymous sources, the newspaper said Mr Rosenstein had suggested secretly recording the president in order to prove he was dysfunctional.
He had supposedly cited the 25th amendment of the constitution, which allows for the removal of a president if deemed unfit for office.
Mr Rosenstein dismissed the claims as “inaccurate and factually incorrect”, and a justice department source told the BBC at the time that the comment had been sarcastic.
But former acting FBI chief Andrew McCabe said in a TV interview that Mr Rosenstein was serious when he suggested wearing a wire inside the White House to covertly tape the president.
Mr Trump accused Mr Rosenstein on Twitter of “illegal and treasonous” activity.
While the deputy attorney general managed to weather that controversy, Mr Trump in November retweeted an image of the deputy attorney general behind prison bars.
Federal agents have raided the homes of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh amid uproar over lucrative business deals for her self-published children’s book.
FBI and tax agents also searched city hall and a training centre associated with Ms Pugh on Thursday.
The Democrat earned hundreds of thousands of dollars through sales of Healthy Holly books to city entities.
She has been on a leave of absence since 1 April. Maryland’s Republican Governor Larry Hogan urged her to quit.
Earlier this month most of Baltimore City Council said Ms Pugh should resign.
The FBI confirmed to CBS News, the BBC’s US affiliate, that it is working with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), America’s tax-collection agency, on the inquiry into Ms Pugh’s book sales.
Official sources say the mayor’s deals for Healthy Holly books – which promote healthy eating and exercise – are part of the inquiry, but there is “more to the picture”.
The federal investigation has been ongoing for more than a year, law enforcement sources told CBS.
Ms Pugh received $500,000 (£388,000) from the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) for 100,000 copies of the books that would go to schools while she was on the hospital system’s board, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Baltimore still waiting for happy ending
Analysis by Jessica Lussenhop, BBC News
The FBI raid on Mayor Catherine Pugh’s homes and offices is the latest catastrophe at the city’s highest levels of power.
Fall-out from a sprawling corruption scandal in the city’s police department has been playing out since 2017 – eight police officers were found guilty of robbing citizens and stealing overtime pay.
The department has been under federal consent decree since 2016. Mayor Pugh’s pick to lead the agency out of its troubles was himself indicted for tax fraud just three months into the job, and sentenced to 10 months in prison last month.
Mayor Pugh’s legal woes instantly call to mind former Mayor Sheila Dixon, who in 2009 was found guilty of misdemeanour embezzlement and she was forced to resign.
Dixon ran for office again in 2015 and lost – to Catherine Pugh.
Baltimore has many pressing needs – an alarming homicide rate, personnel shortages in the fire and police departments, maintenance backlogs in the schools – yet the day-to-day business of running the city seems to take a back seat every time a new scandal breaks.
This morning, students at a job training site were unable to go to class – because the FBI had taken over the building. It was hard to imagine a more stark representation of how officials’ corruption is holding back a city perpetually struggling to get up on its feet.
Kaiser Permanente, another health provider, later revealed it paid over $100,000 for 20,000 copies of the books while it was negotiating a contract to become the medical insurance provider for Baltimore city employees.
Ms Pugh has called the book deal with the university medical system “a regrettable mistake”. She has since resigned from the board and the university has hired an independent auditor to review the case, local media say.
“I apologize that I have done something to upset the people of Baltimore,” she told reporters at City Hall in March.
The mayor added that she had returned a $100,000 payment from the UMMS for Healthy Holly books that had not yet been delivered.
Governor Hogan requested the state prosecutor’s office to begin the investigation the same day Ms Pugh took her leave, citing a bout of pneumonia.
Mr Hogan called the book sales “deeply disturbing allegations” in his letter to state prosecutor Emmet Davitt.
“I am particularly concerned about the UMMS sale because it has significant continuing ties with the State and receives very substantial public funding.”
The Baltimore Ethics Board and Inspector General are also conducting inquiries into Ms Pugh.
Ms Pugh became the city’s mayor in 2016. She has held public office since 1999, staring her political career with the Baltimore City Council, then moving to the state General Assembly, and the state Senate in 2005.
Her staff have insisted to local media that she will be returning to her role after recovering from her illness.
Currently, a Baltimore council member, Bernard Young, is serving as acting mayor during Ms Pugh’s leave of absence.
Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld announced his candidacy on Monday to challenge US President Donald Trump for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination.
Weld, 73, who served two terms as governor, from 1991-1997, enters as a long-shot candidate against an incumbent president who has remained popular within his party. Weld in February had said that he planned to challenge Trump.
“I really think if we have six more years of the same stuff we’ve had out of the White House the last two years that would be a political tragedy,” he said on CNN. “So, I would be ashamed of myself if I didn’t raise my hand and run.”
Weld has accused Trump of leaving the nation in “grave peril” and has said his “priorities are skewed towards promotion of himself rather than for the good of the country”.
Weld’s challenge marks the first against Trump by a member of his own party. Other Republicans have publicly flirted with their own challenges, including former Ohio Governor John Kasich, one of the many Republican candidates whom Trump defeated for the party’s presidential nomination in 2016.
But Republican leaders have signalled little tolerance for intra-party fights as Trump gears up for a potentially challenging bid for a second term. Trump’s campaign has taken extraordinary steps in cementing control over the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the broader nomination process as it seeks to minimise the risk of any potential challenger doing the same to the president. His campaign recently reported raising $30m in the first quarter of this year, while Democrats are raising less money than in previous cycles.
“Any effort to challenge the president’s nomination is bound to go absolutely nowhere,” the RNC said in a statement responding to Weld’s announcement, noting that its operation and the Republican Party are firmly behind Trump.
Weld, a former prosecutor and the vice presidential candidate in 2016 on the Libertarian ticket, has been a consistent critic of Trump. He told CNN that he does not plan to mount an independent bid if unsuccessful.
Fiscally conservative but socially liberal, Weld is known for an unconventional, at times quirky, political style and a long history of friction with the party he now seeks to lead.
Weld endorsed Democrat Barack Obama over Republican nominee John McCain in 2008, later saying it was a mistake to do so, and has enjoyed a decades-long friendship with the Clintons, which began early in his career when he served alongside Hillary Clinton as a lawyer for the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate proceedings.
Weld’s nomination by former President Bill Clinton to be US ambassador to Mexico touched off a bitter public spat with then-Senator Jesse Helms, a conservative Republican from South Carolina who chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Years earlier, Weld was among a handful of top Justice Department officials to resign in protest over alleged ethical violations by then-Attorney General Ed Meese, long a favourite of conservatives.
With little in the way of organisation or outside money, and at odds with a majority of Republican voters who solidly support Trump, Weld’s longshot campaign will target disaffected Republicans and independents who share his disdain for the president and embrace libertarian values of small government, free trade and free markets, and personal freedom.
Weld has not won a political race since being re-elected governor by a landslide in his heavily Democratic state in 1994. He was first elected to the office in 1990, defeating a conservative Democratic candidate, and quickly became one of Massachusetts’ most popular governors in recent history.
While holding the line on spending and taxes, Weld as governor embraced liberal positions at odds with national Republicans on abortion and gay rights. His low-key style and sharp wit also seemed to play well with voters as did his penchant for the unexpected: He once ended a news conference touting progress in cleaning up Boston’s polluted Charles River by diving fully clothed into the waterway.
A politician, federal prosecutor, investment banker, lobbyist and even novelist, Weld was a lifelong Republican before bolting the GOP to run on the Libertarian Party ticket with former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson in 2016.
Johnson and Weld received about 4.5 million votes, a little more than three percent of the national popular vote.
Despite a pledge to libertarians that he would remain loyal to the party going forward, Weld on January 17 walked into the clerk’s office of the Massachusetts town where he lives and re-registered as a Republican, adding to speculation that he would challenge Trump in the primaries.
Weld planned to kick off his campaign in New Hampshire, which holds an influential early nominating contest. He said the state’s voters would be receptive to his message and familiar with his record in neighbouring Massachusetts.
“Right now, all there really is coming out of Washington is divisiveness,” he said on CNN, calling both parties responsible but pointedly adding, “the grand master of that is the president himself.”