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Indian-American prosecutor Preet Bharara calls for Independent Counsel regarding Russian meddling in 2016 presidential Election

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New York, May 15, 2017: Indian-American prosecutor Preet Bharara who was fired by President Donald Trump’s administration in March, has called for the appointment of an independent counsel to lead the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the media reported.

Former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Bharara in an op-ed published on Sunday evening in the Washington Post said the move would be of “common sense”, especially in the wake of former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey’s dismissal last week.

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Comey was heading the FBI’s probe into Russia’s links with Trump’s presidential election.

“Jim (James) Comey was once my boss and remains my friend. I know that many people are mad at him. He has at different times become a cause for people’s frustration and anger on both sides of the aisle. Some of those people may have a point…I am proud to know a man who had the courage to say no to a President,” Bharara wrote.

“And in the tumult of this time, many should be asking, Are there still public servants who are prepared to say no to the President?” he pondered.

Bharara said a special prosecutor must be “independent and uncompromised” and that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the Russia probe because Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from it, must appoint one.

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“Given the manner of Comey’s firing and the pretextual reasons proffered for it, there is no other way,” he wrote.

While early explanations from White House aides detailed how it was Rosenstein’s recommendation that persuaded Trump to fire Comey, the President himself said in an interview with NBC News that he had made up his mind to fire the FBI director before meeting with his deputy attorney general.

Trump also said that the Russia investigation was on his mind as he made the decision to dismiss Comey, escalating alarm in some circles that the president had sought to impede the bureau’s probe.

Bharara in his op-ed piece said Rosenstein, who he labelled “a respected career prosecutor”, nonetheless bears a special responsibility to appoint a special prosecutor given his role in Comey’s firing.

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Rosenstein has “mostly deserved the doubts he generated” by seemingly aiding Trump in dismissing the FBI director, Bharara wrote, and as such, bringing in a special prosecutor “would not only ensure the independence of the investigation, but also provide evidence of Rosenstein’s own independence.”

“A special prosecutor alone is not sufficient…It must be supplemented by a truly bipartisan investigation in Congress as well as a replacement FBI director who is apolitical and sensitive to the law-enforcement mission.”

“History will judge this moment,” Bharara concluded, adding “It’s not too late to get it right, and justice demands it.” (IANS)

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Trump meets Florida school shooting survivors, suggests arming teachers

The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers

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The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers.
The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers. Wikimedia Commons

US President Donald Trump met survivors and families of the victims that were killed in the Florida school shooting and suggested that teachers and staff members should be provided with arms to avert such massacres, the media reported.

Trump’s comment came during a White House “listening session” on Wednesday which was attended by families and students including six survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a 19-year-old man Nikolas Cruz armed with an assault rifle killed 17 people on February 14, reports CNN.

The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence.

“If you had a teacher who was adept with the firearm, they could end the attack very quickly,” he said, stating that schools could arm up to 20 per cent of their teachers to stop “maniacs” who may try and attack them.

Also Read: Is Donald Trump’s presidency turning out to be a reward for Trump Jr.?

“This would be obviously only for people who were very adept at handling a gun, and it would be, it’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training and they would be there and you would no longer have a gun-free zone,” Trump said. “Gun-free zone to a maniac — because they’re all cowards — a gun-free zone is ‘let’s go in and let’s attack because bullets aren’t coming back at us’.”

The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence.
The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence. Wikimedia Commons

Acknowledging that the idea was controversial, Trump said that his administration would give it serious study.

The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers.

Trump’s idea of arming teachers and school staff was met with support from many of the attendees, CNN reported.

Fred Abt, the father of Parkland shooting survivor Carson Abt, said he had discussed with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that rather than waiting for first responders to arrive, it would be more efficient to have firearms locked on school campuses.

Also Read: Daughter of Presidential Candidate Donald Trump to celebrate Diwali in a Hindu Temple in the US

“One possible solution, which may not be very popular, would be to have people in the school, teachers, administrators who have volunteered to have a firearm safely locked in the classroom who are given training throughout the year,” he said.

“There are plenty of teachers who are already licensed to carry firearms, have them raise their hands to volunteer for the training, and when something like this starts, the first responders are already on campus.

Andrew Pollack, a father of one of the 17 victims who died in the Florida shooting, said he was speaking because his daughter couldn’t.

“We as a country failed our children…

This shouldn’t happen.”

The President, flanked by the students, went around the room and shook hands before commencing the session.

Also Read: DACA is a Bold Welcome Step by President Trump

Trump also later tweeted he would “always remember” the event, adding “we must keep our children safe”.

“I will always remember the time I spent today with courageous students, teachers and families,” he tweeted, along with a link to the full event.

“So much love in the midst of so much pain. We must not let them down. We must keep our children safe!!” (IANS)