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The wait is over. But the political parlor game has just begun.
Robert Mueller, the special counsel for the Russian investigation, on Friday afternoon delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr, concluding a wide-ranging probe that has sharply divided Americans and cast a long shadow over President Donald Trump’s first two years in office.
Barr informed congressional leaders by letter that he had received Mueller’s confidential report and that “I may be in a position to advise you of the Special Counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend.”
The central question that Mueller, a former FBI director, set out to answer: Did Trump or his aides collude with the Russians to undermine Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016 with embarrassing emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign chairman? Or was Trump merely the fortunate beneficiary of Russia’s malicious tactics? And did the president attempt to torpedo the subsequent investigation to protect himself and his political advisers and aides?
The probe has led to the indictments of 37 individuals and entities, mostly Russian operatives who remain at large. Seven people, including five former Trump associates, have pleaded guilty and five have been sentenced to prison.
Among high-profile cases, former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty of lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador, and Paul Manafort, the president’s former campaign chairman, was recently sentenced for a host of crimes.
Ahead of the report’s delivery, speculation was rife that the special counsel would bring additional indictments, but there was no additional legal action before the report was released to the Justice Department.
With the report’s delivery, the Mueller investigation is effectively over, but not the president’s legal troubles. In recent months, Mueller has farmed out parts of his investigation to U.S. attorney’s offices, including the Southern District of New York, where prosecutors have opened separate investigations into the Trump Organization and other Trump entities.
Where the case stands
Whether Mueller’s report will lead to vindication for the president, his impeachment, or some sort of messy, in-between alternative is unknowable for now.
By law, Barr decides what parts — if any — of the document to disclose to Congress and the public.
Trump has repeatedly called the special counsel investigation a “witch hunt” and insists there is no evidence of his collusion with the Russians. While the president has said “I don’t mind” if the report is made public, there is likely to be considerable legal wrangling between the White House, the Justice Department, Trump’s personal lawyer and Congress before portions or all of the report are released.
Justice Department regulations require Mueller to submit a “confidential report” of his findings to the attorney general, and the attorney general to “notify” Congress about it. There are no requirements for Mueller to make his findings public.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Friday, “The next steps are up to Attorney General Barr, and we look forward to the process taking its course. The White House has not received or been briefed on the special counsel’s report.”
Wherever the report takes the United States as a country, understanding where it began and the route it followed will be every bit as important as recognizing the final destination.
The special counsel investigation began on May 17, 2017, with Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein’s announcement that he had appointed Mueller to take over an ongoing FBI investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and Russian election interference.
At the time, Rosenstein stressed that the appointment should not be seen as confirmation that there had actually been any illegal coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, and said that transferring day-to-day control of the investigation to Mueller was meant to assure the public that the inquiry was free of political bias.
Mueller was not starting from scratch. The investigation he inherited had begun nearly a year before, on July 31, 2016, after the FBI learned of possible collusion between a Trump campaign adviser and Russia.
‘Dirt’ on Clinton
The tip that initially led investigators to open the case came from Australia’s top diplomat in the United Kingdom, who had encountered Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos at a bar in London months earlier.
The diplomat revealed Papadopoulos, while drinking, said he had reason to believe Russian officials were in possession of “dirt” that could damage the candidacy of Clinton, the former secretary of state and front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.
On July 22, 2016, when the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks published about 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee, the Australian government reached out to the FBI and took the highly unusual step of allowing the official who encountered Papadopoulos — High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Alexander Downer — to be interviewed by investigators.
U.S. intelligence officials were already convinced that Russia was behind the DNC hacking and other efforts to influence the presidential election. But the Downer interview added a new and possibly explosive angle.
The diplomat presented the FBI with credible evidence that a Trump campaign official had specific information about Russian interference in the U.S. elections months before that interference was made public. That forced the agency to open an urgent counterintelligence investigation examining whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia.
An investigation in the public eye
By September 2016, intelligence officials had briefed members of Congress on Russian election interference, but it wasn’t until after Nov. 8, when Trump unexpectedly captured the Oval Office, that some of the most important details about Russian intentions became public.
By that time, further leaks of emails stolen from the account of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta and posted online by WikiLeaks reinforced suspicions that the hacking efforts weren’t just meant to sow chaos by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government but were aimed at aiding the Trump campaign. The intelligence community confirmed as much in a closed-door meeting with select lawmakers in November, and would make that conclusion public in early January 2017.
Meanwhile, FBI investigators working on the probe were monitoring a large number of interactions between members of the Trump transition team and Russian officials.
Within a few weeks of Trump’s inauguration, those interactions would cost a prominent member of the Trump administration his job. National security adviser Flynn, a retired three-star Army general, was forced to resign after it was revealed he had lied to the FBI about his communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn’s fate led, albeit indirectly, to the Russia investigation being handed over to Mueller in spring 2017.
Trump’s choice for attorney general, former Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, recused himself from supervising the Russian investigation because he had served as a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, which posed a conflict of interest. That decision angered Trump, and left the Justice Department’s second-in-command, Rosenstein, in charge of the investigation. FBI Director James Comeydisclosed the existence of the investigation during a testimony before Congress in March.
In private meetings with Comey, Trump demanded “loyalty” from the career law enforcement officer, and pressed him to drop the investigation into Flynn, Comey later testified. Comey refused the president’s request.
By May, Trump fired Comey, saying later in a TV interview that he did so largely because of the Russia investigation, to which he strongly objected.
To insulate the investigation from political interference, Rosenstein on May 17 appointed Mueller as special counsel for the Russia investigation.
In his letter appointing Mueller, Rosenstein authorized the special counsel to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”
Mueller’s mandate was later expanded to include whether Trump had obstructed justice.
Following Comey’s firing, Andrew McCabe, then the bureau’s acting director, quietly ordered two separate investigations to examine whether Trump had obstructed justice and whether he was acting as an agent of Russia.
Stream of indictments, guilty pleas
In the months after Mueller took over, the public began to see the fruits of an investigation that had, at that point, been ongoing for nearly a year.
In July, Papadopoulos was arrested and charged with lying to the FBI. He later pleaded guilty and received a two-week prison sentence.
In October, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, were both indicted on conspiracy and money laundering charges dating back to work they had done for Russian-supported politicians in Ukraine years earlier.
The indictments had nothing to do with the Trump campaign specifically, but were widely seen as providing prosecutors with leverage over Manafort and Gates, who would likely have been privy to any collusion that might have occurred during the election.
The next month, Flynn entered a guilty plea to a charge of lying to the FBI, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in multiple investigations.
In February 2018, Mueller’s office unsealed an indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies, charging them with conspiracy to interfere with U.S. elections. Months later, 12 other Russians were indicted and charged with hacking the email system of the Democratic National Committee and others.
The following months marked a series of major events in the investigation.
In late February, Gates pleaded guilty and promised to assist in further investigations. In April, FBI agents raided the home and office of Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
In June, Mueller expanded the charges against Manafort to include witness tampering and obstruction of justice, and also named suspected Russian intelligence officer and Manafort business partner Konstantin Kilimnik in an indictment.
By August, Manafort was convicted in the first of two trials for his illicit business practices, and Cohen pleaded guilty of campaign finance violations — implicating Trump in at least one crime — in a case handed off by Mueller to the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Notably, though, neither of the convictions touched on Russian election interference.
Manafort later pleaded guilty of additional crimes and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for leniency. He would lose that consideration after Mueller and a federal judge determined that he had continued lying to investigators after striking his plea deal.
Cohen pleaded guilty to a further charge of lying to Congress and was sentenced to three years in prison.
An agreement and another arrest
After more than a year of sparring over whether Trump would consent to be interviewed by the special counsel’s office, an agreement was reached in late November 2018 in which the president instead submitted written answers to a series of questions from investigators.
In January 2019, Trump associate Roger Stone was arrested and charged with obstruction of justice, five counts of making false statements to Congress, and one count of witness tampering. Investigators had been interested in his potential communication with Russian hackers and their associates during the 2016 election.
‘Racist, cheat, con man’
During three days of testimony on Capitol Hill in late February, Cohen lashed out at Trump, his former boss.
During his opening statement to lawmakers, Cohen called Trump, among other things, a “racist,” “cheat” and “con man.” He also produced documentary evidence that allegedly proved the president’s participation in a criminal conspiracy to conceal illicit campaign contributions in the form of payment of hush money to prevent adult-film star Stormy Daniels from going public with her allegation that she and Trump had a sexual liaison years earlier.
Cohen also said, “Questions have been raised about whether I know of direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia. I do not. I want to be clear.”
He did say, though, that he had “suspicions” about connections between the Trump family and Russians who worked to influence the election.
Changing cast members
Today, as the investigation concludes, it is operating under the direction of a different set of presidential appointees.
Trump’s frustration with Sessions finally boiled over in late 2018, resulting in Sessions’ forced resignation. He was replaced on a temporary basis by his chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker. After a delay, Trump appointed William Barr to fill the role.
Barr, in his confirmation hearing, told senators he would commit to allowing the Mueller probe to run its course. He was less forthcoming when asked to guarantee that the results would be made public.
“My goal will be to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law,” he said. (VOA)
On the first day of the two-day meeting of BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders on Tuesday, discussions were held on important issues related to education and the National Education Policy-2020.
Apart from senior RSS leader Suresh Soni, representatives of various organisations associated with the Sangh Parivar -- working in the field of education -- were present in the meeting in New Delhi.
According to sources, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who attended the meeting on behalf of the government, shared information related to the National Education Policy-2020 and the government's policy on important issues related to the education sector. Pradhan also shared details of the efforts being made by the government in the field of education.
Discussions were also held regarding the impact of the situation arising out of Corona and how much it has affected the education sector.
In the meeting, the RSS leaders asked several questions and provided suggestions to the Union Minister regarding the education policy of the government.
According to the sources, RSS wants the policy to be implemented expeditiously. All aspects related to the policy were discussed in Tuesday's meeting.
On the second and the last day of the meeting on Wednesday, special issues related to education will be discussed in which representatives of various organisations of the Sangh, Union Ministers and several BJP leaders will be take part.
Meanwhile, in order to convey its point of view to the government on various issues, the Sangh keeps on calling such coordination meetings related to specific issues, in which RSS representatives -- working in that particular area -- provide feedback to the government. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: BJP, RSS, New Education Policy, Education, India
An old saying, "prevention is better than cure" should be the first scoop in the cup of excitement if you are out to explore the world. To make traveling safe, make sure you check some practical safety tips before and while on the journey.
Here are some tips that can keep you safe, ignoring the hurdles and risks during traveling.
Health issues are of major concern while traveling. These risks are common especially when you are traveling to a place where the diet is different from what you are used to. Health conditions like stomach infections, climatic diseases like flu, cold, etc can knock at your door.
Before traveling, make sure you did complete research about the weather conditions of those destinations where you planned to stay. Keep all the stuff with you, like basic medications, and clothes that will be helpful to keep you safe from the weather and ensure safe travelling.
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Travelers sometimes encounter the risk of being scammed at the departures or during the flights. This risk becomes more obvious when you don't speak the familiar language or don't have complete knowledge about the complex procedures.
Any stranger can come to you regarding the procedure completion and take advantage of your ignorance and fool you. Stay alert for these scams and keep these things in mind.
●Always use the ATMs that are linked to the banks.
●Know the basic procedure of checking
●Do not wear expensive jewelry to show off
●Keep the emergency services phone numbers
●Put the locks on the suitcases
To avoid transportation mishaps, you should search for all forms of transportation before leaving the place that can take you to the planned destination Photo by Guilherme Stecanella
The transportation you choose for your trip can be a blessing or sometimes a tricky tournament. To avoid transportation mishaps, you should search for all forms of transportation before leaving the place that can take you to the planned destination. And especially when traveling to faraway places.
Choose the one that is comfortable and free of hassles. For example, while choosing to travel by air, make sure you know the flight schedules. Make sure you book your flights with trusted airlines. International flights from Australia, Cathay Pacific, is the one of the best in this regard.
Apart from checking the flight's schedule, try to book your ticket in advance so you don't end up stranded on the ticket booth asking for tickets and no time slot is spared for a specific time.
Whether you are traveling domestically or internationally, you need identification. When traveling outside the country, your passport is the most important thing to carry and keep a check on. The most valuable traveling documents you should check on are:
Keep copies of these documents in case they get lost by mistake. In the case of stolen documents, the copies of these will help to make the process of getting them back a bit easier.
To avoid trouble, check out the guidelines such as rules and regulations. Follow the policies that are required. Before zipping your bags, check the customer's reviews to see what they faced worse while traveling through certain transportation if you chose the same one and what advice they shared. This will help you avoid those things that can put you in the same situation.
Before traveling, know the surroundings. Be aware of how the locals of that area talk and dress. Usually, tourists or travelers carry lots of cash and other valuables with them. That brings them under the spotlight. Those people who show off their appearances as a traveler from a different place and culture are more at risk of being scammed.
You can avoid those scams by:
●Dressing yourself like a local
●Don't show off yourself by standing in the middle of a crowd and take pictures
●Don't make it apparent if you get lost in the streets
Before traveling to some new place, especially when you are traveling outside the country, make research about the language spoken there. It helps you a lot, especially when you get lost or injured. Try to learn the basic phrases in the language being spoken in that particular area you are traveling to. Phrases like:
●I need help
●Where is the hospital
●Please guide me on the way to my hotel, etc.
If you are traveling outside the country, getting traveling insurance is recommended Photo by Denise Jans on Unsplash
Experiences matter. It is a bit hard to know the place you planned to visit if you have not visited it before. Make sure you find the experienced travelers who already have visited. Take advice from them. Ask them about their experience and what things you should do and what not. Do's and don'ts of that particular area. You can watch youtube videos that tell the lifestyle of a specific place.
Also read: 5 Must-Haves to Travel Light
If you are traveling outside the country, getting traveling insurance is recommended. It covers all unexpected injuries. Unfortunately, if you get a trip to the hospital or in case you lose your belongings, traveling insurance covers everything for you.
ATMs are the common places for thieves to steal the information of travelers. No doubt, they are the most convenient spot to take the money in the right currency. But it is recommended to stay cautious while using ATMs.
Check your back if anyone is stalking you or the person standing behind the mirrors waiting for his move, is not too close to finding out all the figures and info you entered.
You might not be familiar with the new place you are traveling to. To avoid uncertain situations like moving in the wrong direction, make sure you set the GPS in your phone so you reach your destination safely and on time without going through any hassle.
(Disclaimer: This article is sponsored and contains some commercial links)
Keywords: Travel, Tips, Apps, Language, Guidelines,
As a company, Facebook doesn't need much of an introduction. If you're not a member of the network, chances are you've seen or at the very least heard of it. Facebook is generally recognized as the most utilized social networking site. Facebook is used regularly by more than 2 billion people; it is probably an essential component of several people's online presence and daily routine.
The software for a website called "Facemash" was written by Zuckerberg, then a second-year Harvard student, in the year 2003. He put his talent to improper use by hacking into the security network of Harvard. To fill his new website, he duplicated the student ID pictures used by the dorms and uploaded them there. Anyone who visited the site could see photos of two students side-by-side and choose who among the two was "hot" or "not." Facemash opened on October 28, 2003, but a few days later, it was closed. Zuckerberg faced significant allegations of breach of security, infringement of intellectual property rights, invasion of personal privacy, and even expulsion from Harvard.
"The Facebook," now known as "Facebook," was founded in a Harvard dorm room on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes. | Photo by Souvik Banerjee on Unsplash
Facebook, which has now grown to become the world's most popular social networking site, was sparked by a failed attempt to encourage internet users to evaluate each other's pictures. "The Facebook," now known as "Facebook," was founded in a Harvard dorm room on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes. The site was named after the directories sent to university students to assist them in getting to know one another better. His troubles began again six days later when Harvard seniors Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra charged them with stealing their ideas for the HarvardConnection social networking website, which they were developing at the time. Later, a lawsuit was filed against Zuckerberg, but the case was finally resolved without going to court. At first, only Harvard students were allowed to register on the website. However, over time, Zuckerberg sought the assistance of a handful of his classmates to assist in expanding the website.
ALSO READ: The Other Side Of Social Media
Sean Parker was appointed as the company's president in 2004. An investment of $12.7 million in the company from Accel Partners in the following year allowed for developing a high school student-focused version of the network. Facebook stated in September 2006 that anybody who was at least 13 years old and had a valid email address could become a member of the social networking site.
According to a study by the analytics website Compete.com, Facebook was declared the most widely used social networking service globally by 2009. | Wikimedia Commons
According to a study by the analytics website Compete.com, Facebook was declared the most widely used social networking service globally by 2009. The site's revenues ultimately propelled Zuckerberg to the status of the world's youngest multi-billionaire; he has done his bit to help others benefit from their success. In 2010, he and other wealthy businessmen committed to giving at least half of their fortune to charitable causes. Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have contributed a total of $25 million to the Ebola virus's battle. Additionally, they stated that they would donate 99 percent of their Facebook shares to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving lives via education, health, scientific research, and energy.
Keywords: harvard, Harvard connection, facemash, social networking, zuckerberg, facebook