By Robert A. Vella
Here’s the news roundup for another busy Friday:
Russia has negotiated a deal between bitter rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran to raise crude oil prices on the world market by implementing across-the-board production cuts (with exemptions) which have been long-desired by OPEC nations and which have been vociferously opposed by President Trump. However, the cuts may benefit U.S. shale oil producers who struggle to compete when market prices are low. OPEC’s move also boosts Vladimir Putin’s prominence on the world stage as the Russian strongman appears to be abandoning his close relationship with the weakening American president.
Later today, Special Counsel Robert Mueller will submit disclosures in the court cases involving Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and his former campaign manager Paul Manafort. Although the information will likely be redacted, as was evident in the court case for Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn earlier this week, the new disclosures will surely be of great interest to observers in America and around the world.
In an interview with The Atlantic, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani admitted that the White House has been unable to formulate a plan to counter a possible investigative report from Mueller regarding collusion with Russia in the 2016 presidential election, and he described the process of getting Trump to answer Mueller’s written questions on the matter as a “nightmare.” Trump has named permanent replacements for Attorney General Jeff Sessions and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley while moving to oust White House Chief of Staff John Kelly whom he is no longer on speaking terms with. William P. Barr is a strong conservative who served as Attorney General in the George H. W. Bush administration, and Heather Nauert is currently a spokesperson for the State Department and a former Fox News host. Trump’s animosity towards “illegal immigrants” ran into a sturdy wall of hypocrisy this week when news broke that the Trump Organization employs undocumented workers including a housekeeper at Trump National Golf Course in New Jersey who has made her story public. As the President’s regressive tax cuts and protectionist trade policies are ballooning the national debt and federal deficit while triggering a major selloff in the stock market which fears an impending economic recession, Trump has acknowledged the problem but has insisted that he won’t be around to suffer the political consequences.
A longstanding federal judge ordered the DOJ and State Department to reopen a narrow inquiry into the Hillary Clinton email scandal.
North Carolina election fraud
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has reported that the election fraud currently being investigated in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district existed long before the 2018 midterms and that it was reported to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina in 2016. The head of that office, Robert Higdon, was appointed to the position by President Trump in 2017, and one of his assistants is John Harris the son of Mark Harris the Republican who won the midterm election which has now been invalidated by the state’s election board. Apparently, Higdon did nothing with the criminal referral and has instead focused on investigating nonexistent reports of voter fraud.
Last night, a bomb threat was made against CNN’s offices in New York City reportedly by a man with a southern accent. Police cordoned off the area and evacuated the building, but a thorough search found no evidence of explosives, devices, or any suspicious material.