(Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin told the leaders of France and Germany in a phone call on Saturday that Russia was willing to discuss ways to make it possible for Ukraine to resume shipments of grain from Black Sea ports, the Kremlin said. Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a third of global wheat supplies, while Russia is also a key global fertilizer exporter and Ukraine is a major exporter of corn and sunflower oil. "For its part, Russia is ready to help find options for the unhindered export of grain, including the export of Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports," the Kremlin...
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Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales specified multiple potential crimes committed by Donald Trump that should be investigated by Merrick Garland, the man who currently holds his old job.
Gonzales, the Dean of Belmont University College of Law, was interviewed on Thursday afternoon by CNN's Jake Tapper.
Tapper noted a speech Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) gave on Wednesday evening at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
"The reality we face today as Republicans, as we think about the choice in front of us, we have to choose, because Republicans cannot be loyal to both Donald Trump and to the Constitution at this moment," Cheney said.
"Do you agree?" Tapper asked. "Do you see it that way?"
"I think that that is a very accurate statement, quite frankly," Gonzales replied.
He went on to say, "I believe that the Department is going to move forward with a more serious investigation now that this new information and there may be some indictments."
Tapper pushed him on which crimes may result in indictments.
"Have you seen evidence or at least possible evidence that leads you to wonder whether Donald Trump committed a crime?" Tapper asked. "And if so, which crime?"
"Yeah, I think that if you can tie him -- he knew about -- he knew the crowd was dangerous, he encouraged the crowd to go to the Capitol and he knew the crowd was armed, and he knew that the purpose of the -- what was going on in Congress, which was to certify the Electoral College count, and yeah, I think one might make the argument that there is certainly the beginnings of a case full of seditious conspiracy, obstruction of Congress," Gonzales replied. "So there are some things there that I think the attorney general will look at, along with witness tampering."
"So there is a lot there, Jake," he added.
Watch video below.
Alberto Gonzales www.youtube.com
For two hours Tuesday, former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson calmly, matter-of-factly testified to the commission of high crimes by the former president and by many of those around him.
She told her fellow Americans that Trump had been informed on the morning of Jan. 6 that the mob assembled by his command had armed itself with “knives, guns in the form of pistols and rifles, bear spray, body armor, spears, and flagpoles.” She spoke of efforts within the Trump White House to remove violent language from the president’s speech that day, to prevent incitement, and she told us that Trump had refused to change that language.
“I – – I don’t effing care that they have weapons,” she quoted Trump as saying about the mob. “They’re not here to hurt me.”
She talked of Trump planning to lead the armed mob to the Capitol, even after repeated, almost desperate warnings from Trump’s own White House counsel that “We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.” And according to Hutchinson, only the stubborn refusal of the Secret Service to participate in that part of the plot prevented Trump from taking part.
She recalled the strange indifference from Trump and her boss, chief of staff Mark Meadows, to news that the Capitol was being assaulted. And she talked about the planning that had preceded Jan. 6, including what to do after the Capitol had been taken.
“You know, I — I know that there were discussions about him having another speech outside of the Capitol before going in,” Hutchinson told the January 6 special committee. “I know that there was a conversation about him going into the House chamber at one point.”
Imagine, for a moment, that scenario. The mob has taken the Capitol; Congress has fled. And into the abandoned House chamber marches a triumphant Trump, ready to begin his second, maybe never-ending term.
In one of many other chilling moments, Hutchinson also describes a conversation she witnessed between Meadows and White House counsel Pat Cippolone after they and Trump had learned that the crowd was calling for Vice President Mike Pence to be hung:
“I remember Pat saying something to the effect of, ‘Mark, we need to do something more. They’re literally calling for the vice president to be f’ing hung,’” Hutchinson recalled. “And Mark had responded something to the effect of, ‘You heard (Trump), Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.’”
He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they were doing anything wrong.
As some have pointed out, it’s true that neither the committee nor the American people are hearing much from the other side, so to speak, from those who might defend Trump’s actions or contradict the storylines laid out so emphatically by the committee. But why is that?
Most of those who might conceivably offer such testimony – everyone from Republican congressmen to former generals to Trump’s White House counsel to the spouse of a Supreme Court justice — are fighting subpoenas, taking the Fifth or simply refusing to testify. And if they don’t want to tell their story to the committee, under oath, every reporter and TV outlet in the world would love to give them an opportunity to do so without such an oath. Apparently, they’re afraid that revealing what they did, what they witnessed and what they heard wouldn’t be all that helpful to Trump or to their own situation.
I think they’re probably right.
In fact, the same instincts of self-preservation that drove these people to stay silent or play along while Trump tried to end American democracy are still telling them, even after all this, that cowardice remains the best course. They are victims of their character.
As Hutchinson made clear, many of the now-silent had sought pardons for their actions from Trump, another indication that the stories they might tell aren’t exactly exonerative. Trump did not grant those pardons, probably because doing so would have been an admission of his own criminal behavior, and as always the only hide he was interested in protecting was his own.
However, as stunning as Hutchinson’s testimony was, it suggested that even more serious revelations are yet to come. Throughout her appearance, she referred to secret meetings to which she had not been invited, and ominous hints and clues that she did not fully understand at the time.
“I recall hearing the word Oath Keeper and hearing the word Proud Boys closer to the planning of the Jan. 6 rally, when (Rudy) Giuliani would be around,” she said at one point. At another, she recalled Trump issuing an order for Meadows “to speak with Roger Stone and General (Mike) Flynn on Jan. 5.” She mentioned the existence of a “war room” at a Washington hotel where Stone, Giuliani, Flynn, John Eastman and other plotters were meeting the night of the 5th, and she pleaded with her boss not to attend.
“I wasn’t sure everything that was going on at the Willard Hotel, although I knew enough about what Mr. Giuliani and his associates were pushing during this period. I didn’t think that it was something appropriate for the White House chief of staff to attend or to consider involvement in, and made that clear to Mr. Meadows.”
Meadows heeded that advice, according to Hutchinson. Instead of attending that meeting in person, he participated by telephone, and I think he’s going to very much regret doing even that much.
Georgia Recorder is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Georgia Recorder maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John McCosh for questions: email@example.com. Follow Georgia Recorder on Facebook and Twitter.
A Topeka man who faces federal charges for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol wants to represent himself because his court-appointed attorney lacks computer skills.
Will Pope, in a letter to the Washington, D.C., judge who is handling his case, also claims his indictment was based on inaccurate information presented by prosecutors.
A grand jury indicted Pope and his brother on eight federal charges related to disruptive conduct inside the U.S. Capitol building, including interfering with a law enforcement officer, impeding passage inside the building, obstructing congressional proceedings and unlawfully entering a restricted area.
Pope’s attorney, Greg English, asked the judge on Wednesday to withdraw from the case. English included a copy of Pope’s letter, dated Tuesday, in his motion.
In the year and a half since his arrest, Pope wrote in the letter, he still has not seen all of the evidence prosecutors have against him. Pope said his previous court-appointed defense attorney closed his practice earlier this year, and his new attorney “began practicing law before computers were widely used” and “never developed the skills needed” to access the government’s database of evidence.
“As you know, the January 6 cases are highly dependent on digital files, especially digital video,” Pope said. “Without access to this discovery, it is impossible for me to mount a defense.”
Pope blocked law enforcement officers from closing the Senate doors on the East side of the Capitol to prevent other rioters from entering, according to evidence presented to the grand jury in Washington, D.C.
Video also showed Pope attempting to break into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office by striking the door several times with his flag pole.
The evidence presented to the grand jury also included a Jan. 11, 2021, story from Kansas Reflector, which first reported on Pope’s involvement in the insurrection. Pope said at the time that he had turned himself into the FBI. Prosecutors, however, said Pope turned himself in a day after the Reflector published its initial story.
In his letter to the judge, Pope says “the prosecution has a track record of not accurately presenting the facts of this case.”
“The prosecution’s charging documents incorrectly state that I reported myself after initial media reports about me came out,” Pope said. “Whether that false information was intentionally included by the DOJ, or included by error, the result is the same. Local and national publications have since perpetuated false and defamatory information about me which increases negative bias towards me as a defendant. This lack of factual accuracy could taint a jury and deprive me of my constitutional right to a fair trial.”
Pope said it is “highly concerning” that the government hasn’t issued a public correction. A spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor’s office in Topeka didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment for this story.
Court documents indicate the prosecution hasn’t released all of the video evidence to Pope because there is so much of it. Pope said in his letter that prosecutors have tried to arrange a “reverse proffer” with his new defense attorney. The legal maneuver is designed to present such overwhelming evidence that a defendant agrees to a plea deal.
“Since the only way to counter the false narratives presented by the prosecution is to understand the facts of this case, I cannot allow my council to go into a reverse proffer unaware of the actual facts,” Pope said. “I believe defense council should first assess discovery and establish their own unbiased, uninfluenced understanding of the facts.”
Pope told the judge he will exercise his constitutional right to represent himself in the case.
Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.