first_imgIt’s true, of course, that some Republican leaders in Congress have expressed support for Mueller, and that even more have continued to defend Sessions against Trump’s occasional public bullying.But there’s a Beltway-size chasm between saying the right thing and taking action to do the right thing.And it is not at all clear, especially with the 2018 primary season approaching, that a repeat of the Saturday Night Massacre would actually awaken the relevant House committees from their Trumpian torpor — or distract them from their apparently far-more-important ongoing investigations into the Clintons.Indeed, with several Republican incumbents facing (and fearing) primary challenges from their right, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which Trump dismantles the Russia investigation and forces GOP members of Congress to choose between their political future and standing up to the president.We can certainly hope that, like Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), our elected representatives opt for the latter.NO GUILT, NO PROBLEMOf course, if Trump (and those closest to him) really did nothing wrong, then there’s no need to take such a drastic step.If there is something to hide, it’s worth stressing how dangerous and unhealthy it would be to our constitutional system for the president to use his authority in this manner. Although the special counsel can only be removed for cause by the attorney general (here, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, because Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself), the same doesn’t follow for either Sessions or Rosenstein, both of whom serve at the pleasure of the president.Ditto for the third in line at the Justice Department — Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand.Trump can request that any of those three fire Mueller, and he can fire each of them for refusing to do so in favor of someone who will.It’s not difficult to believe that there is at least one such officer who would agree to do the president’s bidding and shut down the investigation.In Nixon’s case, such a move was a huge political mistake, at least in part because he faced a Congress controlled by Democrats.As Anthony Lewis wrote about the events of that fateful Saturday night, “Even Congress, which so often rolls on its back like a spaniel, is beginning to face the necessity of impeachment.”REPUBLICANS VULNERABLEHere, by contrast, Trump faces a Congress controlled by the same Republican Party through which he steamrolled to win the presidential nomination — and a Congress that has shown little meaningful interest in his potential complicity in Russian interference in last year’s campaign. For as much as this administration has run roughshod over well-established norms protecting the Justice Department from White House interference, a modern Saturday Night Massacre would cement those norms’ evisceration — with long-term, and deleterious, consequences for those of all political stripes.But if the president and his advisers are truly worried about what Mueller might uncover or what evidence he has received from Papadopolous (and others who might already — or soon — be cooperating), it seems like the time to act is sooner, rather than later.The more indictments Mueller hands down, and the closer he gets to Trump’s inner circle, the more likely it becomes that Republicans in Congress will suddenly find the courage to stand up to the president.If, instead, Trump uses Monday’s news as provocation to shut Mueller down, he’ll be calling Congress’s bluff — and daring his own party to stand up to him based solely on the existing record.It’s just not that difficult to see how a rational president could view that as his best option — even (if not especially) if it’s the country’s worst.Steve Vladeck is a professor of law at the University of Texas and a CNN legal analyst.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristscenter_img Categories: Editorial, OpinionIt has long been conventional wisdom that the “Saturday Night Massacre” — the October 1973 episode in which President Richard M. Nixon tore apart his Justice Department to fireWatergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox — badly backfired against Nixon.Not only did the move produce blowback from the public and on Capitol Hill, but it effectively required the White House to accept the appointment of another special prosecutor, whose investigation, along with parallel efforts in Congress, eventually provoked Nixon’s resignation just ahead of impeachment charges less than 10 months later.The news Monday that Robert Mueller’s investigation of possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russia had yielded indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates and a plea deal with George Papadopolous will no doubt reinvigorate discussions within the White House about repeating history and cutting off Mueller’s investigation before it can go any further.TRUMP HAS POWER TO ACTFor as bad an idea as this might seem to be at first blush, if President Trump really is worried about where Mueller’s investigation might lead, now may be the best possible moment for him to take such a step — and to dare the members of his own party in Congress to respond.There’s little question that, legally, Trump has the authority — at least indirectly — to do just that.last_img read more

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion Proctors is not a gamble. I was so excited in November when I bought my tickets to see the Celtic Women at Proctors.A few days prior to the concert, I began receiving emails and phone calls informing me that my tickets were not valid. I called Proctors and spoke to Peter Delocis. Peter informed me that I had been hacked on the internet, mainly because I did not purchase my tickets on the Proctors website.Peter spoke to his manager, and together they ensured that we did get our tickets. I cannot express the joy and gratitude we have experienced as a result of Peter and his manager helping us to follow our dream. Thank you, Proctors.David Fitz SimonsJohnstownMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Cuomo calls for clarity on administering vaccineEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18last_img read more

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first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

first_imgForgot Password ? LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Topics : Google Log in with your social account Linkedin Facebook Dian Kurniati, a 27-year-old living in Matraman, East Jakarta, grew concerned when she an image of a flooded area on her Twitter timeline Tuesday morning. The picture, she said, showed thigh-high flooding at the Bank Indonesia traffic circle on Jl. MH Thamrin, Central Jakarta.She was confused as to how she would be able to get to work as her office was in a flooded area.  However, after reading many Twitter replies, her anxiety over the flooding gradually subsided.“Other Twitter users said that the picture was taken long before the flooding happened but that made me confused about the actual situation at the traffic circle. Later, I turned to Google to search about the condition in the area and found that the picture was somewhat a hoax,” Dian told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.Dian was not alone in coming across invalid information scattered on… fake-news hoax flood flooding Jakarta-administration netizens Twitter social-medialast_img read more

first_imgUnder an agreement set to be signed Saturday in Qatar, Trump is expected to start pulling out troops and leave the future of Afghanistan to negotiations between the Islamist militants and the internationally recognized government in Kabul.Adam Wunische, an Afghanistan expert at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a new Washington think tank that promotes military restraint, said that a “responsible withdrawal” from Afghanistan had been the major taboo in Washington.”There are some places where we accept the higher risk of terrorism, but politicians are terrified of the prospect of a terrorist attack originating from Afghanistan and then having to explain it to their constituents. And that’s because of the memory and scar of 9/11,” he said.”I think the election of Trump was not necessarily a shift in itself but it was an indication that the shift had occurred — that someone could run on ending endless war and win.” Topics : Wunische doubted that the United States could turn back to a pre-Trump policy, with even critics advocating a “more nuanced” interventionism rather than pushing for a return to massive military deployments.All Democrats seeking to replace Trump have supported some form of withdrawal from Afghanistan, with none facing the political pressures of Obama who toured Afghanistan and Iraq in the midst of his 2008 campaign.Representative Ro Khanna, a prominent supporter of Democratic presidential front-runner Bernie Sanders, pointed to Al-Qaeda’s expansion around the world and the Taliban’s dominant position in swathes of Afghanistan despite nearly 19 years of war.”Thinking we are going to bomb our way out of terrorism has just proven false,” Khanna said.”There was a very broad consensus that the initial strikes on Afghanistan were justified. But 20 years later? No one said that we were trying to reshape Afghanistan society.” In making peace with the Taliban, the United States is moving to end its longest-ever war and also signaling a major shift: After two decades, an era of global US military interventionism is winding down.Since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks killed 3,000 people and traumatized the American psyche, the debate in Washington has been not whether but how to wage a worldwide “war on terror.”The 2003 invasion of Iraq set off worldwide protests but Afghanistan had been cast in Washington as “the good war” with Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump both reluctantly ramping up troop levels.center_img Selective war Despite Trump’s campaign vows to finish “endless wars,” the United States still stations more than 200,000 troops overseas — and he has rushed 20,000 additional troops into the Middle East over the past year.The Trump administration, while saying its broader goals are to counter China and Russia, has engaged in rising confrontation with Iran, in January killing the clerical state’s most prominent general in a drone strike as he visited Iraq.A senior diplomat from a US ally saw a change in Washington but said it was a mistake to believe Trump was fully retreating from military involvement.”Trump isn’t an isolationist, he’s a selectionist. He wants to pick and choose where the US will be active,” the diplomat said.”That sounds fine until there is a vacuum and it gets filled by other, much more problematic powers like Russia.” Russia has deployed in force into Syria, where both Obama and Trump resisted calls for greater intervention to try to stop President Bashar al-Assad’s brutal crushing of opposition.Trump was criticized across the political spectrum last year for how he abruptly pulled US forces from northern Syria, allowing Turkey to attack US-allied Kurds, but he faced few calls at home for an extended military deployment. Weary public Since September 11, US-led wars have led directly to the deaths of more than 800,000 people and cost the United States some $6.4 trillion when including the future costs of care for veterans, according to Brown University’s Costs of Wars Project.Lawmakers have increasingly spoken of revising a vast war authorization — approved by Congress days after September 11 with only one dissenting vote — that last year was used to justify US deployments or military action in 15 countries.Support for military action has waned sharply since the Iraq debacle. In a September 2019 Gallup poll, 43 percent of Americans said the Afghanistan war was a mistake from the start.But the mood may be more weariness than anger. Unlike during the Vietnam War, for which Americans were drafted, there are few major protests demanding a withdrawal from Afghanistan, where 22 US service members died last year.Retired general David Petraeus, who commanded troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan, said the United States can sustain support for long-term deployments if it keeps down “the cost in blood and treasure” — pointing to the seven-decade presence in Europe, South Korea and Japan.The last two decades show that “ungoverned or even inadequately governed spaces in the Muslim world, particularly in the greater Middle East, will be exploited by Islamist extremists,” he told an unreceptive audience at the Quincy Institute.”You cannot watch this problem until it goes away. Because Las Vegas rules do not apply in these places — what happens there doesn’t stay there.”last_img read more

first_imgThe top US Army commander in Europe may have been exposed to the coronavirus, while a Marine who tested positive for it had been working for a defense agency close to the Pentagon, officials said on Monday.The disclosures show the risks to the US military even as it tries to limit the fallout from the global virus outbreak on the more than a million active-duty troops around the world.In the case of Lieutenant General Christopher Cavoli, the possible exposure took place during a conference with land force commanders in Europe on Friday in Wiesbaden, Germany. In a photo, Cavoli is pictured sitting next to an unnamed Italian military officer whose face cannot be seen in a military photo of the event. Reuters reported on Sunday that Italian army Chief of Staff General Salvatore Farina contracted the virus.The US Army declined to say who may have exposed Cavoli to the virus inadvertently or whether Farina was at the conference.The Pentagon said seven cases were under investigation and that three active-duty service members so far had tested positive for the virus. Beyond the Marine, they include previously reported cases of a soldier in South Korea and a sailor in Italy.US officials told Reuters that the Marine worked at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which helps oversee foreign military sales and international military educational partnerships. The Marine had returned last month from Ethiopia. He is being treated at a military hospital at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, in the Washington suburbs. The Marine was living with his family at Marine Corps Base Quantico, which said in an online post that base schools were being closed until Wednesday to allow time for a thorough cleaning.The base said his family and personnel in contact with him “have been identified and do not show symptoms.”It was unclear whether the DSCA, which is headquartered in Crystal City, Virginia, was taking any precautionary steps since the Marine tested positive for the virus.Air Force Brigadier General Paul Friedrichs, the senior health official for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he was not aware of any visits by the Marine to the Pentagon.Defense Secretary Mark Esper is expected to approve additional steps in the coming days to better safeguard the Pentagon, one of the world’s largest office buildings, where some 22,000 people work everyday.Esper held a regular morning meeting with senior leaders on Monday partly by using videoconferencing technology – so that conference rooms were not as packed with people, the Pentagon said.”The effort this morning was to show that we can continue to do this while practicing risk-prevention measures,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said.center_img Topics :last_img read more

first_imgAll nine sectoral indices of the bourse recorded declines at the start of the trading week, led by a 5.23 percent slump in infrastructure, followed by 4.03 percent in basic industry and 3.98 percent in the finance sector.Shares in state-owned Bank Mandiri (BMRI) dropped more than 5 percent, while diversified conglomerate PT Astra International saw its shares slip almost 3.5 percent and shares in private Bank Central Asia (BBCA) dropped more than 2.5 percent.Read also: Indonesia deploys second stimulus amid market, rupiah routsArtha Sekuritas analyst Dennies Christopher said the downtrend was influenced mainly by extreme global uncertainties. Indonesian stocks were off to a bad start on Monday, plunging more than 2 percent at opening following the US Federal Reserve’s announcement of a second emergency rate cut and a spike in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Indonesia.Meanwhile, the rupiah fell further on Monday morning to Rp 14,865 per US dollar, depreciating 0.59 percent to a level unseen since November 2018.The Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) opened 2.7 percent down to 4,775.14, with 140 stocks falling and only 23 stocks gaining strength. It had fallen to more than 3 percent by 10:47 a.m. in Jakarta as foreign investors dumped Rp 34.73 billion (US$2.33 million) of stocks, more than they bought. “It would have also been affected by market players’ concerns over the Fed emergency rate cut [this morning],” he said.The Fed announced on Sunday evening (Monday morning in Jakarta) another emergency rate cut for its benchmark to a target range of 0 percent to 0.25 percent. The US central bank said it would also buy at least $700 billion in government and mortgage-related securities in the coming weeks.“This is dramatic action and truly does represent a bazooka,” said Nathan Sheets, the PGIM Fixed Income chief economist who helps manage $1.3 trillion in assets, Reuters reported. Sheets emphasized, however, that investors wanted to see more US fiscal stimulus put to work and evidence that the Trump administration was responding vigorously and effectively to the public health challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak in the US.“The performance of the economy and the markets will be mainly determined by the severity and duration of the virus’ outbreak,” he saidMarkets in Asia also fell deeper into the red on Monday: Shanghai had slipped 0.48 percent, Hong Kong dropped 1.96 percent, Singapore fell 2.86 percent and Sydney nosedived 6.92 percent by 10:42 a.m.Following the Fed’s move, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand also slashed its official cash rate by 75 basis points to 0.25 percent as it prepared for a “significant” impact on the economy from the pandemic, Reuters reported.Read also: What central banks did last week as COVID-19 spread hit global marketsThe pneumonia-like illness, called COVID-19, has spread to more than 169,000 people worldwide with at least 6,500 related deaths.Indonesia has announced 117 confirmed cases and five deaths to date on Sunday afternoon, when the President called for a nationwide policy of social distancing.Dennies expected that Monday’s movement on the JCI would be affected by pressures to sell, but this could still be offset by the planned stock buyback of several listed companies if they had been carried out.He expected that the index would remain in the bearish territory of 4,531 to 5,127 during the trading day on Monday.Topics :last_img read more

first_img“They will be conducted in parallel with a background check done by the KPK and a third-party institution. Among the information checked will be their compliance in submitting their wealth report [LHKPN].”Ali invited the public to participate in the selection process by providing insight on each candidate.However, Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) slammed the antigraft body for its lack of transparency regarding the selection process, as the public had not been informed of the selection steps or the names of the candidates applying for the positions.ICW researcher Wana Alamsyah compared this year’s selection process to the one that occurred in 2018, which resulted in Firli’s appointment as the law enforcement deputy.Read also: 100 days of blunders: Watchdog slams new KPK chairman’s performanceAt that time, the KPK made information about the process and candidates available to the general public. It also involved the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) in the background checks. The institution was not involved in this year’s selection process.“The KPK’s law enforcement deputy director has a central role in handling corruption cases. If the position is filled by people lacking integrity and capacity, public trust in the KPK will be eroded further,” Wana said.He noted on the high number of law enforcement officers applying for the position. “There will be a potential for conflict of interest, especially when the antigraft body investigates corruption cases in law enforcement institutions, if KPK’s prosecution is led by law enforcement.”Since Firli was inaugurated as the KPK chairman last December, the antigraft body has handled only two major graft cases, both of which have carried over from the term of the previous chairman, Agus Rahardjo. The selection team has also narrowed down candidates for investigation director, information and data deputy director and legal bureau head.“The candidates are comprised of our own employees as well as individuals from external agencies,” Ali said in a statement on Monday.Read also: ‘Maybe it’s working’: KPK says lack of raids thanks to successful prevention methodThe next phase of the selection process – a medical checkup and interview – will be conducted from April 2 to 7. Topics :center_img The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has narrowed down the number of candidates for several key positions within the commission, including the law enforcement deputy director and the investigation director.The position of law enforcement deputy director, responsible for all legal efforts against graft suspects, has been empty since former deputy director Firli Bahuri left the post in June of last year to return to the National Police as a member of the South Sumatra Police. Firli now serves as the antigraft body chairman after being selected by the House of Representatives in September 2019.KPK acting spokesperson Ali Fikri said the antigraft body had selected three out of 11 candidates for the deputy position after an “independent and professional third party” carried out administrative and other assessments from March 5 to 17.last_img read more