Tuesday December 11, 2018
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Disasters Will Get Worse: U.S. Climate Report

Last year, Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris Agreement, which had been signed by nearly 200 nations to combat climate change.

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Disasters
A firefighter searches for human remains in a trailer park destroyed in the Camp Fire, Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in Paradise, California. VOA
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A U.S. government report says the impacts of climate change, including powerful storms, droughts and wildfires, are worsening in the United States.

The report, written with the help of more than a dozen U.S. government agencies and departments, frequently contradicts the statements and policies of U.S. President Donald Trump.

The congressionally mandated report was quietly issued Friday during a holiday weekend. The White House later dismissed the report as inaccurate, according to a Reuters report.

climate change, disasters
People clean up their house that was destroyed by Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach. VOA

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told Reuters Friday the report was “largely based on the most extreme scenario, which contradicts long-established trends by assuming that…there would be limited technology and innovation, and a rapidly expanding population.”

The National Climate Assessment, totaling more than 1,000 pages, warned of more powerful and longer weather disasters triggered at least, in part, by global warming.

It said such weather disasters are becoming more commonplace around the country and warned that without aggressive action they could become much worse.

Drought, Climate change, disasters
A farmer stands on cracked earth that three weeks earlier created the bottom of a reservoir on his farm, in Groot Marico, South Africa. VOA

While the report avoids policy recommendations, it said humans must take measures to stop future weather disasters “to avoid substantial damages to the U.S. economy, environment, and human health and well-being over the coming decades.”

“Future risks from climate change depend primarily on decisions made today,” the report said.

It predicted that climate change will cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century if no efforts are made to curb its effects and said global warming would disproportionately hurt the poor.

This year’s National Climate Assessment is the fourth time the U.S. government has issued a comprehensive look at climate change and is the first assessment to take place during the Trump administration. The last report came in 2014.

Hurricane, climate change, disasters
Floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey overflow from Buffalo Bayou in downtown Houston, Texas, VOA

11 Thirteen government departments and agencies, including the Department of Agriculture and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), were part of a committee of more than 300 researchers who compiled the assessment.

Several people involved in the report told The Washington Post that its release originally had been planned for early December. However, they said after a behind-the-scenes debate about when to make it public, administration officials settled on the Friday after Thanksgiving, traditionally one of the slowest news days of the year.

During a press conference Friday, authors of the report said there had been “no external interference” in the assessment. Report director David Reidmiller said questions about the timing of the release were “relevant,” but said the contents of the report were more important.

Climate Change, Trump, disasters
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. VOA

The Trump administration has rolled back several environmental regulations put in place during former President Barack Obama’s administration and has promoted the production of fossil fuels.

Also Read: Climate Change To Get Worse In The Future: Study

Last year, Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris Agreement, which had been signed by nearly 200 nations to combat climate change. He argued the agreement would hurt the U.S. economy and said there is little evidence in its environmental benefit.

Trump, as well as several members of his Cabinet, have also cast doubt on the science of climate change, saying the causes of global warming are not yet settled.

Friday’s report cites other climate studies, which say that humans have caused more than 90 percent of the current global warming. (VOA)

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U.N. Donald Trump’s Impeachment may be Possible: Key Lawmaker

Comey testified to a House panel on Friday about his role in 2016 election-related investigations of Trump's campaign.

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U.S.A., Trump
House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., arrives for a House Judiciary hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 7, 2017, on oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. VOA

A key U.S. lawmaker said Sunday that Democrats in the House of Representatives could pursue impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump, saying that the U.S. leader had “surrounded himself with crooks” and was part of a broad “conspiracy against the American people” to win the 2016 election.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat set to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee when Democrats take control of the chamber next month, told CNN that lawmakers have to decide “how important” allegations are against Trump, but should pursue impeachment charges “only for serious offenses.”

U.S.A., Trump
In these 2018 photos, Paul Manafort leaves federal court in Washington, left and attorney Michael Cohen leaves federal court in New York. VOA

Nadler offered his thoughts two days after federal prosecutors accused former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, “in coordination with and at the direction” of Trump, of orchestrating $280,000 in hush money payments shortly before the 2016 election to two women who alleged they had affairs with Trump so they would stay silent before Election Day.

Nadler said that if proven, the allegations against Trump were “certainly impeachable offenses.” That could lead to his removal from office, if the Senate were to convict him by at least a two-thirds vote, a doubtful proposition with Republican control of the Senate continuing in the Congress that takes office in January.

Nadler said lawmakers will have “to look at all this,” along with weighing what special counsel Robert Mueller concludes about allegations that Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia to help him win and that, as president, Trump obstructed justice by trying to thwart the ongoing 19-month probe.

The U.S. Justice Department has a standing guideline against indicting sitting presidents, although they can be charged after leaving office. Nadler said, however, “There’s nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the president from being indicted. Nobody should be above the law.”

U.S.A., Trump
Stormy Daniels speaks during a ceremony for her in West Hollywood, Calif.. VOA

Trump has dismissed the latest allegations against him in connection with the payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal and allegations of Trump campaign contacts with Russia to help him win the election.

He used Twitter on Monday to repeat his frequent statement of “NO COLLUSION” between his campaign and Russia.

“So now the Dems go to a simple private transaction, wrongly call it a campaign contribution,” Trump said. He went on to say “it was done correctly and there would not even be a fine,” further adding that if there were any problems then Cohen would be the one who was liable.

“Cohen just trying to get his sentence reduced,” Trump said.

Trump has called for the end to the Mueller probe, but a Republican lawmaker, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, told ABC News, “I’ve always supported the Mueller investigation and continue to do so because I think it’s in the best interest of everyone involved, including, by the way, the president.”

U.S.A., Trump
Seven-page government sentencing document for Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer. VOA

Aside from Cohen, who is set to be sentenced Wednesday and faces several years of imprisonment, Mueller so far has secured guilty pleas or won convictions of Trump’s first national security adviser, his former campaign manager, his former deputy campaign manager, a foreign policy adviser and other lesser figures.

On Sunday, Trump assailed former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, whom Trump fired while he was heading the Russia investigation before Mueller was named to lead the probe.

U.S.A. Trump
Former FBI Director James Comey, with his attorney, David Kelley, right, speaks to reporters after a day of testimony before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

Comey testified to a House panel on Friday about his role in 2016 election-related investigations of Trump’s campaign and that of his challenger, Democrat Hillary Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state.

Also Read: SpaceX Drops Plan To Make its Falcon 9 Even More Reusable

“On 245 occasions, former FBI Director James Comey told House investigators he didn’t know, didn’t recall, or couldn’t remember things when asked,” Trump claimed on Twitter.

“Leakin’ James Comey must have set a record for who lied the most to Congress in one day. His Friday testimony was so untruthful! This whole deal is a Rigged Fraud headed up by dishonest people who would do anything so that I could not become President. They are now exposed!” (VOA)