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U.S. Democrats seek up to $2 trillion to invest in aging infrastructure

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U.S. Democrats seek up to $2 trillion to invest in aging infrastructure

LEESBURG, Va./WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic leaders in Congress said they will seek President Donald Trump’s support in coming weeks for legislation to invest up to $2 trillion to rebuild U.S. infrastructure, including roads, bridges and schools.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) addresses the North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) 2019 legislative conference in Washington, U.S., April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said at separate news conferences that they would try to revive an effort that sputtered early into Trump’s presidency for major investments in aging public works.

Democrats have been seeking a much larger investment than Trump and fellow Republicans in Congress have suggested.

“Has to be at least $1 trillion, I’d like it to be closer to $2 trillion,” Pelosi, a Democrat, said to reporters at a House Democratic meeting in Leesburg, Virginia. She said there would be discussions on how such an amount could be financed.

Schumer, speaking to reporters outside the U.S. Senate, said the three-way meeting would occur within the next several weeks.

“The bottom line is this: If they’re not going to put real money and have real labor and environmental protections, we’re not going to get anywhere,” Schumer warned.

Past bipartisan efforts by Democrats and Trump have brought mixed results. A criminal justice bill was enacted, but an immigration reform effort was a dismal failure, as were border security talks.

“The president calls people and says, ‘Why don’t we do something,’ but then he’s unwilling to really do anything beyond his hard-right base and nothing gets done,” Schumer complained.

But as Republicans and Democrats gear up for the 2020 presidential and congressional elections, they could be eager to show voters accomplishments.

Last month, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao urged Congress to act promptly.

Pelosi told The Associated Press in an interview on Thursday that she had a productive telephone conversation with Trump last week about infrastructure.

She was dismissive of Trump’s plan unveiled in February 2017 designed to encourage spending on improvements by states, localities and private investors. Trump had asked Congress to authorize $200 billion over 10 years to spur a projected $1.5 trillion in projects, but it had no new direct federal spending and never got a vote in Congress.

“We have to put aside any negative attitudes. We are going there with a positive attitude, how much do you want to invest? How do we prioritize, because we want to do school construction, we want to do public housing, there are other things too,” Pelosi said.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell and Richard Cowan; editing by Susan Thomasand Leslie Adler

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Ex-Trump attorney Dowd disputes Mueller report, says president never tried to oust special counsel

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Ex-Trump attorney Dowd disputes Mueller report, says president never tried to oust special counsel

President Trump never said he wanted to “get rid” of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and instead cooperated fully with his investigation, according to one of the president’s former attorneys.

John Dowd, who served as a member of President Trump’s legal team from June 2017 until March 2018, discussed Trump’s approach to Mueller during an interview on “Fox & Friends” Monday.

Frequent media accounts prior to the release of the report suggested Trump tried to fire Mueller at times during the Russia investigation. The report itself said Trump told then-White House Counsel Don McGahn in June 2017 to tell the acting attorney general that Mueller “must be removed.” McGahn refused.

But asked on Monday when Trump said to fire Mueller, Dowd said: “He never did. I was there at the same time that the report says McGahn mentioned this, and I was assigned to deal with Mueller and briefed the president every day.

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“At no time did the president ever say, ‘you know, John, I’m going to get rid of him.’ It was the opposite.

“Here’s the message the president had for Bob Mueller, he told me to carry — number one, you tell him I respect what he is doing; number two, you tell him he has my full cooperation; number three, get it done as quickly as possible; and number four, whatever else you need, let me know.

“That was always the message and that is exactly what we did.”

Dowd continued, saying he spoke to Mueller about the president’s frequent public criticism of the investigation.

GIULIANI SLAMS ‘CONFLICTS OF INTEREST’ IN SPECIAL COUNSEL’S OFFICE: ‘WHEN DID MUELLER BECOME GOD?’

“I talked to Bob about that. I said, ‘do you understand what’s going on?’ and he said, ‘oh, it’s political, he has to do that for political reasons’.

“I said, ‘I tell you what, the president and I will make sure, we’ll say publicly cooperate with Bob Mueller’ and we did early on. So that was it.”

Host Steve Doocy then asked Dowd about “the suggestion from the report that Don McGahn, the president’s attorney, was told go out and fire him” Mueller.

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“I just I think there was a misunderstanding,” Dowd said.

“I just don’t believe it. I think the president simply wanted McGahn to call Rosenstein, have him vetted, because the president believed Mueller did have some conflicts.”

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Trump sues to block Democrats’ subpoena for financial information

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Republican convention set for August 2020 in Charlotte

Lawyers for President Trump on Monday sued to block a subpoena issued by members of Congress that sought the business magnate’s financial records.

The complaint named Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Democratic chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Peter Kenny, the chief investigative counsel of the House committee, as its plaintiffs.

“We will not allow Congressional Presidential harassment to go unanswered,” said Jay Sekulow, counsel to the president.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

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Congressman Moulton enters Democratic 2020 presidential race

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Congressman Moulton enters Democratic 2020 presidential race

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Seth Moulton entered the 2020 Democratic presidential race on Monday as a long-shot contender in a contest that now includes almost 20 candidates.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) speaks at a Merrimack County Democrats Summer Social at the Swett home in Bow, New Hampshire, U.S., July 28, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

A 40-year-old Iraq War veteran who represents a district in Massachusetts, Moulton enters the race as an underdog, with little national name recognition and a shorter track record than some rivals who have spent years in the U.S. Senate or as state governors.

Moulton has built a political career by challenging the party’s establishment. He entered Congress in 2015 after winning a Democratic primary challenge against John Tierney, who had held the seat for 18 years.

After Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, Moulton helped organize opposition to Representative Nancy Pelosi’s bid to again become Speaker of the House.

He ended his opposition to Pelosi with a statement saying: “Tough conversations make us stronger, not weaker, and we need to keep having them if we’re going to deliver on the change that we’ve promised the American people.”

In a YouTube video announcing his presidential candidacy, he said: “Decades of division and corruption have broken our democracy and robbed Americans of their voice.”

“While our country marches forward, Washington is anchored in the past,” he said.

In the video, Moulton said he wants to tackle climate change and grow the U.S. economy by promoting green jobs as well as high tech and advanced manufacturing.

Moulton served in the Marines from 2001 to 2008. During his 2014 congressional bid, he became a vocal critic of the Iraq War in which he served, saying no more troops should be deployed to the country.

He has advocated stricter gun laws, saying military-style weapons should not be owned by civilians.

Moulton supports the legalization of marijuana and told Boston public radio station WGBH in 2016 that he had smoked pot while in college.

He graduated from Harvard University with an undergraduate degree in physics in 2001 and returned to receive a master’s degree in business and public policy in 2011.

For a graphic of the 2020 presidential candidates, see: tmsnrt.rs/2Ff62ZC

Reporting by Ginger Gibson; additional reporting by Rich McKay; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Jonathan Oatis, Kirsten Donovan and David Gregorio

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