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#Mueller investigation was not a witch hunt, but vindicated #Trump

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After a two-year investigation and an unlimited budget, the Mueller team decided to issue no indictments involving Russian collusion by the Trump campaign. While this does vindicate the President, I disagree with fellow conservatives who call this investigation a ‘witch hunt’ because the revelations about Russian meddling and the indictments that were issued are important in protecting our Democracy - writes  John Pudner, Executive Director of Take Back Our Republic

 

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Former Trump campaign head Paul Manafort’s conviction involving massive payouts from overseas interests while hiding of that money from the US is a very important revelation for the public to learn.

 

On top of that, the less publicized indictment of the California businessman who set up a system to collect illicit campaign money proved to be even more important news. The evidence showed that he was offering services meant to get around the security requirements set by online payment companies. This strategy was similar to the practice of unverified credit card contributions that watchdog organizations have attempted to outlaw for the past few years.

 

Everyone on both sides of the aisle should agree that the Russians are trying to divide all Americans. I believe Russians sent out the edited video of the Covington students with the Native American veteran that led to such unfair and terrible attacks by liberals on the high school students. It was good to have that investigated to send a message to others who would profit by helping Russian meddling as well as helping us protect our system from foreign influence and money.

 

A similar investigation is needed into the $1.5 billion that ActBlue gave Democratic candidates through unverified credit card systems.

 

The left is going crazy over the term “vindication for the President.” While they can certainly make the argument that Attorney General Barr said that Mueller’s report does not definitively claim no wrongdoing on Trump’s part, the fact is the report backs up President Trump’s central argument during the whole investigation that he did not collude with Russians to influence the election. As the report revealed, 500 witnesses; 2800 subpoenas, and no collusion.

 

After two years of so many Democrats charging that Trump would try to fire Mueller before the investigation could nail him, they were wrong on both counts. Now, they’re back-up spin is similar to someone saying that just because someone is found “not guilty” it does not mean they are proven “innocent.” That is true, but it will always be true unless you live under the Napoleonic code in Louisiana, where you must prove yourself innocent. To make that argument you need to say anyone ever accused of a crime and found “not guilty” has not been vindicated and could still be guilty.

 

Trump came out with an even better result than “not guilty.” He received a “not even enough to indict.”

 

Waiting for the Mueller report was de ja vu for me from the Presidential election. After my September 9 prediction of a Trump win, Democrats asked me if I thought Republicans would accept the validity of a Clinton win. I would always respond that I thought millions of Democrats would not accept the validity of a Trump win. In the past two years I’ve found myself asking Democrats if they are ready to accept a Mueller report that did not include indictments against the Trump family.

 

To Republicans I say stop complaining about investigations into Russian meddling and illicit foreign payments like Manafort’s situation, or Democrats like Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who take huge payments from foreign entities with an interest in US policy.

 

To Democrats, if you believe that the best Plan B, after the disappointment of Mueller not indicting Trump or his family, is to ramp up more partisan investigations against a President from the opposing party with the addition of harassment from local prosecutors in liberal havens like the Southern District of New York to liberal judges ruling against him from California and Hawaii, you’re living a fantasy. You are not protecting Democracy, but undermining it, and should instead focus on trying to win through the Democratic process in the 2020 elections.

 

 

 

Economy

Issuance of green bonds will strengthen the international role of the euro

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Eurogroup ministers discussed the international role of the euro (15 February), following the publication of the European Commission's communication of (19 January), ‘The European economic and financial system: fostering strength and resilience’.

President of the Eurogroup, Paschal Donohoe said: “The aim is to reduce our dependence on other currencies, and to strengthen our autonomy in various situations. At the same time, increased international use of our currency also implies potential trade-offs, which we will continue to monitor. During the discussion, ministers emphasized the potential of green bond issuance to enhance the use of the euro by the markets while also contributing to achieving our climate transition objective.”

The Eurogroup has discussed the issue several times in recent years since the December 2018 Euro Summit. Klaus Regling, the managing director of the European Stability Mechanism said that overreliance on the dollar contained risks, giving Latin America and the Asian crisis of the 90s as examples. He also referred obliquely to “more recent episodes” where the dollar’s dominance meant that EU companies could not continue to work with Iran in the face of US sanctions. Regling believes that the international monetary system is slowly moving towards a multi-polar system where three or four currencies will be important, including the dollar, euro and renminbi. 

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European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, agreed that the euro’s role could be strengthened through the issuance of green bonds enhancing the use of the euro by the markets while also contributing to achieving our climate objectives of the Next Generation EU funds.

Ministers agreed that broad action to support the international role of the euro, encompassing progress on amongst other things, Economic and Monetary Union, Banking Union and Capital Markets Union were needed to secure the euros international role.

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EU

European human rights court backs Germany over Kunduz airstrike case

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An investigation by Germany into a deadly 2009 airstrike near the Afghan city of Kunduz that was ordered by a German commander complied with its right-to-life obligations, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday (16 February), writes .

The ruling by the Strasbourg-based court rejects a complaint by Afghan citizen Abdul Hanan, who lost two sons in the attack, that Germany did not fulfil its obligation to effectively investigate the incident.

In September 2009, the German commander of NATO troops in Kunduz called in a U.S. fighter jet to strike two fuel trucks near the city which NATO believed had been hijacked by Taliban insurgents.

The Afghan government said at the time 99 people, including 30 civilians, were killed. Independent rights groups estimated between 60 and 70 civilians were killed.

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The death toll shocked Germans and ultimately forced its defence minister to resign over accusations of covering up the number of civilian casualties in the run-up to Germany’s 2009 election.

Germany’s federal prosecutor general had found that the commander did not incur criminal liability, mainly because he was convinced when he ordered the airstrike that no civilians were present.

For him to be liable under international law, he would have had to be found to have acted with intent to cause excessive civilian casualties.

The European Court of Human Rights considered the effectiveness of Germany’s investigation, including whether it established a justification for lethal use of force. It did not consider the legality of the airstrike.

Of 9,600 NATO troops in Afghanistan, Germany has the second-largest contingent behind the United States.

A 2020 peace agreement between the Taliban and Washington calls for foreign troops to withdraw by May 1, but U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is reviewing the deal after a deterioration in the security situation in Afghanistan.

Germany is preparing to extend the mandate for its military mission in Afghanistan from March 31 until the end of this year, with troop levels remaining at up to 1,300, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.

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EU

Digitalization of EU justice systems: Commission launches public consultation on cross-border judicial co-operation

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On 16 February, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the modernization of EU justice systems. The EU aims to support member states in their efforts to adapt their justice systems to the digital age and improve EU cross-border judicial co-operation. Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders (pictured) said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of digitalization, including in the field of justice. Judges and lawyers need digital tools to be able to work together faster and more efficiently.

At the same time, citizens and businesses need online tools for an easier and more transparent access to justice at a lower cost. The Commission strives to push this process forward and support member states in their efforts, including as regards facilitating their cooperation in cross-border judicial procedures by using digital channels.” In December 2020, the Commission adopted a communication outlining the actions and initiatives intended to advance the digitalization of justice systems across the EU.

The public consultation will gather views on the digitalization of EU cross-border civil, commercial and criminal procedures. The results of the public consultation, in which a broad range of groups and individuals can participate and which is available here until 8 May 2021, will feed into an initiative on digitalisation of cross-border judicial cooperation expected at the end of this year as announced in the 2021 Commission's Work Programme.

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