Ex-Brazil­ian pres­i­dent Silva con­victed of cor­rup­tion

The Barrie Examiner - - WORLD NEWS - CHAD DAY and ERIC TUCKER THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS In this photo taken July 17, 2016, Paul Manafort talks to re­porters on the floor of the Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleve­land. The Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee plans to bring in Mana

WASHINGTON — The scope of con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Rus­sian med­dling in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial con­test came into sharper fo­cus on Wed­nes­day as law­mak­ers said they in­tended to ques­tion the for­mer chair­man of the Trump cam­paign and to de­ter­mine whether Rus­sian so­cial me­dia “trolls” were con­nected to Trump’s elec­tion ef­forts.

The Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee plans to ques­tion for­mer cam­paign chair­man Paul Manafort and will sub­poena him if nec­es­sary, ac­cord­ing to the panel’s Repub­li­can chair­man, Sen. Chuck Grass­ley of Iowa. He said he and the com­mit­tee’s top Demo­crat, Dianne Fe­in­stein of Cal­i­for­nia, have agreed to try to bring Manafort be­fore the panel for ques­tion­ing about the gov­ern­ment’s en­force­ment of a law re­quir­ing reg­is­tra­tion of for­eign lob­by­ists. Fe­in­stein’s of­fice con­firmed that they plan to ques­tion him.

Manafort would cer­tainly also be asked about his par­tic­i­pa­tion in a Trump Tower meet­ing last sum­mer with U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s el­dest son and son-in­law, where the pur­pose was to hear po­ten­tially dam­ag­ing in­for­ma­tion about Hil­lary Clin­ton from a Rus­sian lawyer.

Manafort dis­closed the meet­ing in a pack­age of in­for­ma­tion he pro­vided to the Se­nate and House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tees, who have been in­ves­ti­gat­ing po­ten­tial co-or­di­na­tion be­tween Rus­sia and the Trump cam­paign, as is Robert Mueller, the for­mer FBI di­rec­tor ap­pointed by the Jus­tice Depart­ment as the spe­cial coun­sel.

“Ob­vi­ously it would be ap­pro­pri­ate for any­body to get into any­thing that went on at that meet­ing, and he was at that meet­ing,” Grass­ley told Iowa re­porters.

A per­son close to Manafort said that he hasn’t yet re­ceived a let­ter from the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee about a pos­si­ble in­ter­view. The per­son spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity to dis­cuss Manafort’s pri­vate in­ter­ac­tions with the com­mit­tee.

Sep­a­rately, Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Demo­crat on the House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee, said his panel wants to look at the use of Rus­sian so­cial me­dia “trolls” and whether they were con­nected to the Trump elec­tion cam­paign.

That con­cern is “cer­tainly some­thing we want to ex­plore,” along with the Trump cam­paign’s data an­a­lyt­ics, as part of a broader com­mit­tee in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian med­dling, Schiff said. Trump’s sonin-law, Jared Kush­ner, over­saw dig­i­tal strat­egy for the cam­paign.

The law­mak­ers spoke one day af­ter Don­ald Trump Jr. dis­closed on Twit­ter a se­ries of e-mails that re­vealed his ea­ger­ness to hear neg­a­tive ma­te­rial on Clin­ton from a Rus­sian lawyer.

The ex­change showed Trump Jr. con­vers­ing with a mu­sic pub­li­cist who wanted him to meet with a “Rus­sian gov­ern­ment at­tor­ney” who sup­pos­edly had dirt on Clin­ton as “part of Rus­sia and its gov­ern­ment’s sup­port for Mr. Trump.” He was told the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment had in­for­ma­tion that could “in­crim­i­nate” Clin­ton and her deal­ings with Rus­sia.

“I love it,” Trump Jr. said in one e-mail re­sponse.

On Wed­nes­day, the pres­i­dent de­clared in a tweet that his son was “open, trans­par­ent and in­no­cent.” De­fend­ing his son’s con­duct, Trump again dis­missed the on­go­ing Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion as the “great­est Witch Hunt in po­lit­i­cal his­tory.”

The pres­i­dent’s at­tor­ney, Jay Seku­low, said in an in­ter­view with NBC’s To­day that Trump Jr. did not vi­o­late any laws by ac­cept­ing the meet­ing. He said the pres­i­dent had not been aware of Trump Jr.’s June 2016 meet­ing and didn’t find out about his son’s email ex­change un­til “very re­cently.”

Seku­low said the pres­i­dent was not be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by Mueller. “I would know a lit­tle bit about it. I’m one of the lawyers,” Seku­low told ABC’s Good Morn­ing Amer­ica.

As the e-mails re­ver­ber­ated across the po­lit­i­cal world, Trump Jr. de­fended his ac­tions in an in­ter­view with Fox News, blam­ing the de­ci­sion to take the meet­ing on the “mil­lion miles per hour” pace of a pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and his sus­pi­cion that the lawyer might have in­for­ma­tion about “un­der­re­ported” scan­dals in­volv­ing Clin­ton. Trump Jr. said the meet­ing “re­ally went nowhere” and that he never told his fa­ther about it be­cause there was “noth­ing to tell.”

“In ret­ro­spect I prob­a­bly would have done things a lit­tle dif­fer­ently,” Trump Jr. said.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions into pos­si­ble col­lu­sion be­tween Rus­sia and the Trump cam­paign have shad­owed the White House for months. RIO DE JANEIRO — For­mer Brazil­ian pres­i­dent Luiz Ina­cio Lula da Silva was con­victed of cor­rup­tion and money laun­der­ing on Wed­nes­day and sen­tenced to nine and a half years in jail. Silva will re­main free while an ap­peal is heard. Silva was ac­cused of re­ceiv­ing a beach­front apart­ment as a kick­back from con­struc­tion com­pany OAS. Pros­e­cu­tors also al­leged OAS did re­pairs to the apart­ment and paid to store Silva’s be­long­ings. The for­mer pres­i­dent has said the charges are com­pletely un­founded. The case is part of a mas­sive cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion that has roiled Brazil­ian pol­i­tics that has seen busi­ness ex­ec­u­tives and elite politi­cians jailed. Silva, who was pres­i­dent be­tween 2003 and 2010, is lead­ing polls for next year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

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