Democrats to prepare subpoenas for full Mueller report

The House Judiciary Committee will prepare subpoenas this week seeking special counsel Robert Mueller’s full Russia report as the Justice Department appears likely to miss an April 2 deadline set by Democrats for the report’s release.

The Judiciary panel plans to vote on subpoenas Wednesday, a day after the deadline. The chairmen of several House committees asked for the full report last week after Attorney General William Barr released a four-page summary laying out the report’s “principal conclusions.” Barr said in a letter to the House and Senate Judiciary committees on Friday that a redacted version of the full 300 page report would be released by mid-April, “if not sooner.”

The planned committee vote, announced Monday morning, would not automatically issue subpoenas but authorize House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., to send them.

The panel will also vote to authorize subpoenas related to a number of President Donald Trump’s former top advisers, including strategist Steve Bannon, Communications Director Hope Hicks, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, White House Counsel Donald McGahn and counsel Ann Donaldson. Donaldson served as McGahn’s chief of staff before both left the administration.

The five were probably key witnesses in Mueller’s probe of possible obstruction of justice. The meeting notice says they “may have received documents from the White House relevant to the special counsel investigation, or their outside counsel may have, waiving applicable privileges under the law.” The subpoenas would be related to documents where executive privilege was waived “and related matters,” the notice says.

The former White House advisers were included in a massive document request the committee made last month. Nadler sent requests to 81 people connected to Trump’s political and personal dealings as he launched a wide-ranging investigation into possible obstruction of justice, public corruption and abuses of power.

Democrats have said they will not accept a redacted version of the report, which is what Barr is preparing. Barr said in the letter Friday that he is scrubbing the report to avoid disclosing any grand jury information or classified material, in addition to portions of the report that pertain to ongoing investigations or that “would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties.”

Democrats want all of that information, even if some of it can’t be disclosed to the public. They are citing precedents from previous investigations involving presidents and also information disclosed about the Russia investigation to Republicans last year when they held the House majority.

Barr wrote in his summary that the special counsel did not find that Trump’s campaign “conspired or coordinated” with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election. He said Mueller reached no conclusion on whether Trump obstructed the federal investigation, instead setting out “evidence on both sides” of the question.

Barr himself went further than Mueller in his summary letter, declaring that Mueller’s evidence was insufficient to prove in court that Trump had committed obstruction of justice to hamper the probe.

Democrats say they want to know much more about both conclusions and they want to see the evidence unfiltered by Barr.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.apnews.com/92c7fbd47c88463ba308ecd573de4b55

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President Xi Orders Chinese Army To “Prepare For War”

In just a few short days, China has proved that investors who have been underestimating the geopolitical risks stemming from the simmering tensions between the US and China over the latter’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and paranoia over the fate of Taiwan – a de facto independent state that President Xi Jinping is aggressively seeking to bring under the heel of Beijing – have done so at their own peril.

Earlier this week Xi Jinping, the Chinese emperor for life president provoked an angry rebuke from Taiwan’s pro-independence president when he demanded during a landmark speech earlier this week that Taiwan submit to “reunification” with Beijing.

Xi

And as if tensions between China and the international community weren’t already high enough amid a worsening economic slowdown that’s hurting global economic growth and a tenuous trade “truce” with the US, in another speech delivered on Friday during a meeting of top officials from China’s Central Military Commission which he leads, Xi took his belligerent rhetoric one step further by issuing his first military command of 2019: that “all military units must correctly understand major national security and development trends, and strengthen their sense of unexpected hardship, crisis and battle.”

“The world is facing a period of major changes never seen in a century, and China is still in an important period of strategic opportunity for development,” Xi said and added that China’s armed forces must “prepare for a comprehensive military struggle from a new starting point,” Xi said adding that “preparation for war and combat must be deepened to ensure an efficient response in times of emergency.”

Xi’s order prioritizes training with a focus on combat readiness, drills, troop inspections and resistance exercises.

It applies to all units of the PLA, including troops, academies and armed police, and is designed to “ensure new challenges are met and battles are won,” according to a copy of the guidelines seen during the television report.

In other words, Xi just ordered the Chinese military to prepare for war.

According to the South China Morning Post, the order “will kick-start a year of enhanced military training and exercises.” Which, of course, will build on the expansive military exercises carried out in 2018, where China flexed its military muscle in the South China Sea and Strait of Taiwan to show foreign powers that might support Taiwanese independence (i.e. the US) that China still takes the “One China” policy very, very seriously.

Xi

In addition to prioritizing training for military readiness, the CMC issued a separate set of guidelines intended to boost morale, affirming that military personnel would be promoted on the basis of merit while promising greater leniency and understanding for mistakes made during training.

As one Chinese “military expert” quoted by the SCMP pointed out, the order was probably intended as a warning to foreign powers who might try to interfere in its affairs.

Shanghai-based military expert Ni Lexiong said the recent “high-profile gestures” were probably intended as a warning to those who sought to obstruct the mainland’s plans for the reunification of Taiwan.

“[They] show how seriously Xi is taking China’s military training and its preparations for war, while also flexing its strength,” he said.

A former PLA officer was more explicit: a retired PLA colonel Yue Gang said that as well as the rising tensions between Beijing and Taipei,Xi’s rallying call to the military was a response to the growing uncertainty over the geopolitical struggle between China and the United States.

“China is increasing its military training so that it has the best solutions for the worst outcomes, either related to the US or across the [Taiwan] strait,” he said.

“Over the coming year, the US might use Taiwan and the South China Sea as bargaining chips to get what it wants from China with regards to the trade war,” he said.

“And there is always the possibility of increased independence calls from Taiwan.”

Meanwhile, China’s People’s Daily, the official publication of the Communist Party, reported Thursday that the PLA has begun an extensive “realistic training exercise” with live fire in Shandong, eastern China. The publication did not specify what the objective of this live-fire exercise was, nor did Chinese agencies report whether Xi mentioned any particular acts to improve combat readiness that the PLA either has already begun to take or will do so in the future.

That same day, the nationalistic Chinese state-run Global Times highlighted comments by acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan, who told reporters that his top priorities were “China, China, China.” The publication warned American officials against anti-Chinese “paranoia” while also threatening to make America “pay an unbearable price if the U.S. infringes on China.”

“When Shanahan shouts ‘China, China, China,’ Beijing must respond by accelerating construction of a deterrent against the U.S. China must make good use of deterrence, learning to make others feel fearful without being furious.”

Despite these explicit warnings and military ambitions, we are confident that in the eyes of the market and general population, the prospects for a prolonged “trade war” with China will remain completely distinct from speculation about the possibility of a hot war – that is, until it’s too late to heed the warnings from US military personnel in the Pacific, who have been outspoken about the threat posed by the Chinese and their growing military ambitions.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.infowars.com/president-xi-orders-chinese-army-to-prepare-for-war/

Chinese paper says China should prepare for military action over Taiwan

– A widely read Chinese state-run newspaper said on Thursday China should prepare for military action over self-ruled Taiwan, and pressure Washington over cooperation on North Korea, after the United States passed a law to boost ties with Taiwan.

Beijing was infuriated after U.S. President Donald Trump signed legislation last week that encourages the United States to send senior officials to Taiwan to meet Taiwanese counterparts and vice versa.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.yahoo.com/news/chinese-paper-says-china-prepare-military-action-over-001031625.html

Immigrants prepare to become untraceable

The lack of an immigration solution by Congress has generated uncertainty among those with DACA, also known as “Dreamers,” as well as those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and those without legal status. As a result, many undocumented immigrants or those who could lose their legal protection, have started to move to other neighborhoods or cities, close bank accounts and register their vehicles, houses and even businesses in the names of others.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/haiti/article204035729.html

Migrants Are Hot-Button Issue as Italians Prepare to Vote

Armando Paolucci, an itinerant butcher from this rugged town in central Italy, voted for left-wing parties all his life. Once, he even ran as a Communist candidate for the local council.

But on March 4, besides celebrating his 65th birthday, he will vote for the anti-immigration Lega (League) party in Italy’s national elections. The country’s center-left incumbents, he says, have lost touch with ordinary people and are devoting too many resources to support migrants.

“We who are from here are worth less to them than the new arrivals,” Mr. Paolucci said, standing beside his van where he sells porchetta roast pork at Umbertide’s weekly market.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.wsj.com/articles/migrants-are-hot-button-issue-as-italians-prepare-to-vote-1519563600

Olympics 2018: Drills held in Pyeongchang prepare for threats of terrorism, war

When Pyeongchang was awarded the 2018 Winter Olympic Gamesmore than seven years ago, tensions in this region were much lower and North Korea did not have nuclear weapons thought capable of hitting the United States. But the situation here is now very different, as security concerns involve everything from terrorism to war.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/olympics-2018-drills-held-in-pyeongchang-prepare-for-threats-of-terrorism-war/