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Senate Intel panel chair rips Michael Cohen for asking to postpone hearing

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Michael Cohen appearance before Senate Intelligence Committee postponed

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee told reporters Tuesday that members have lost patience with Michael Cohen after he asked to postpone his scheduled appearance due to illness.

Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, said Monday that the committee had accepted Cohen’s request to postpone his scheduled Tuesday appearance “due to post-surgery medical needs.” But Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., appeared far less agreeable when he spoke to the media.

“I can assure you that any good will that might have existed in the committee with Michael Cohen is now gone,” Burr said. “… He’s had a letter for six months asking for his return. He’s already stiffed us on being in Washington today because of an illness. You got on Twitter, a reporter reported he was having a wild night Saturday night, eating out in New York with five buddies. [He] didn’t seem to have any physical limitations and he was out with his wife last night.”

Cohen, President Trump’s onetime personal attorney, previously testified before the committee in August 2017 but pleaded guilty to lying during that deposition this past November as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

Burr said it would be “prudent” to interview Cohen before the Intelligence Committee wraps up its own investigation. Cohen is scheduled to report to prison next month to begin a three-year sentence after he pleaded guilty this past August to federal campaign finance and other violations.

“I would prefer to get him before he goes to prison,” Burr said. “But, you know, the way he’s positioning himself [by] not coming to the committee, we may help him go to prison.”

Cohen was originally scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee on Friday, but that appearance has been postponed until Feb. 28. Last month, Davis announced that Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee would be rescheduled due to “ongoing threats” against Cohen’s family from Trump and his current attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Fox News’ Jason Donner contributed to this report.

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Barr to discuss executive privilege in Russia report: spokeswoman

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Barr to discuss executive privilege in Russia report: spokeswoman

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Attorney General William Barr testifies before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in Washington, U.S. April 10, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General William Barr plans to address whether executive privilege was invoked by the White House in the Russia report to be released on Thursday and also elaborate on Justice Department communications with the White House over the past several weeks, a Justice Department spokeswoman said on Thursday.

“He’ll address whether that was invoked and what that looked like,” spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said. Barr and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, have planned a news conference on Thursday morning before the release of a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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Top Congressional Democrats call for Mueller to testify publicly

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Top Congressional Democrats call for Mueller to testify publicly

Special Counsel Robert Mueller arrives at his office in Washington, U.S., April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate on Thursday called on Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify publicly about his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer criticized Attorney General William Barr for writing what they called a “slanted” summary letter and for planning a press conference before the expected release of the report detailing the probe’s findings on Thursday.

“We believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the Special Counsel’s investigation is for Special Counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony in the House and Senate as soon as possible,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a statement.

(This story has been refiled to correct the sequence of events of press conference and report.)

Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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Left will continue to ‘believe in Russia collusion’ even after Mueller report release, Byron York says

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Left will continue to 'believe in Russia collusion' even after Mueller report release, Byron York says

The Russia collusion narrative is unlikely to go away even after the Robert Mueller report is released later today, Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York predicts.

“A lot of Democrats have invested the last two years of their life in believing that there was collusion between Russia to fix the 2016 election. Don’t think they gonna give it up just because of this,” York told “Fox and Friends”.

“A lot of Democrats have invested the last two years of their life in believing that there was collusion between Russia to fix the 2016 election. Don’t think they gonna give it up just because of this.”

— Byron York

The prediction comes as Washington, D.C. is bracing for the release of the Mueller report that according to Attorney General William Barr didn’t establish collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

IN MUELLER REPORT’S RELEASE, TRUMP LOOKS FOR VINDICATION, BUT NEW FIGHTS LOOM

York pointed out that after Barr outlined the report’s conclusions in a letter and quoted Mueller stating that the evidence didn’t establish a conspiracy or coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, many Democrats began doubling-down on the collusion charges.

“Immediately people on the left said maybe he couldn’t prove a criminal conspiracy but maybe there was some other sort of conspiracy. Or maybe he couldn’t prove to beyond a reasonable doubt but maybe there is evidence that the rest of us can believe,” York said.

“I really think we have already seen and they already tipped their hands that they are going to continue to believe in collusion.”

“I really think we have already seen and they already tipped their hands that they are going to continue to believe in collusion.”

— Byron York

On the obstruction of justice charges, York says those opposing President Trump will have even more to talk about after the report release as Mueller himself didn’t reach a conclusion about obstruction charges.

“If the Barr summary is pretty accurate, Mueller did not reach a conclusion about obstruction. That’s a question right there. He is a prosecutor. He has all the evidence. Why didn’t he reach some sort of conclusion?” he said.

FOX NEWS POLL: TRUMP POPULARITY HOLDING STEADY AFTER MUELLER SUMMARY RELEASE

“There will be a lot of ammunition, we know that already for Trump’s critics who say that firing James Comey or the Lester Holt interview or something else was proof of obstruction right there in front of our eyes. So I don’t think that argument is going to go away at all.”

Lastly, even if the Mueller report doesn’t find wrongdoing by Trump, it’s unlikely to end the talk of impeachment by Democrats even as the 2020 election nears.

“If you believed in impeachment before the Mueller report, why would you stop believing in it now?,” York said, pointing that there’s a conflict within the Democratic Party on how to proceed with this.

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“You have a lot of the leadership like Nancy Pelosi wanting to move on, these are the more senior people wanting to move on, wanting to focus on the legislative agenda,” he continued.

“But you are going to have the investigative committees, the judiciary committee, the intelligence committee investigating this stuff all the way until the next election.”

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