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U.S. lawmakers reach tentative deal to avoid government shutdown

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U.S. lawmakers reach tentative deal to avoid government shutdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. congressional negotiators said late on Monday they had reached a tentative deal on border security funding that would avert another partial government shutdown due to start on Saturday, but provided no details.

“We reached an agreement in principle” on funding border security programs through Sept. 30, Republican Senator Richard Shelby told reporters.

“Our staffs are going to be working feverishly to put all the particulars together,” Shelby said. He did not say whether President Donald Trump would get any money for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Asked if Trump had signed off on the pact, Shelby said the negotiators talked periodically with “White House representatives.” Although not saying Trump had endorsed the outline, he added he thought and hoped the president could support the deal.

Trump’s December demand for $5.7 billion to help construct the border wall triggered a 35-day partial government shutdown that ended last month without him getting wall funding.

Trump agreed to reopen the government for three weeks to allow congressional negotiators time to find a compromise on government funding for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, to avert another shutdown.

Democratic Representative Nita Lowey said on Monday night: “I hope by Wednesday we’ll have a finished product.” Lowey said she had been in touch with House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who she said “has confidence I have made the right decision.”

The stalled talks restarted in the U.S. Capitol just hours before a scheduled rally in the Texas border city of El Paso, where Trump will promote his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a proposal opposed by Democrats.

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A counter-rally was greeting the Republican president, led by hometown Democrat Beto O’Rourke. The former congressman, who is considering seeking his party’s 2020 presidential nomination, gained national prominence by nearly unseating Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz in last November’s elections.

In Washington, the small group of lawmakers leading the negotiations met for about two hours. They said they wanted to seal a plan by Monday night to allow time for the legislation to pass the House and Senate and get Trump’s signature by Friday, when funding is due to expire for the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and several other federal agencies.

Reporting by Richard Cowan; Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell and Steve Holland; writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Will Dunham and Peter Cooney

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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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