Tuesday February 19, 2019
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Sushma off to Moscow to co-chair intergovernmental panel

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Sushma Swaraj
Image source: www.newsmobile.in

New Delhi: India and Russia will seek to strengthen their strategic partnership across different sectors, including trade and energy, as both sides hold the 21st session of the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC) in Moscow.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj left here on Monday to co-chair the intergovernmental commission talks, which would be co-chaired on the Russian side by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

“Moscow calling! EAM @SushmaSwaraj departs for XXI India-Russia Inter Governmental Commission meeting,” External Affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

Sushma will be in Moscow from October 19-21. She is accompanied by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and senior officials from the ministry of external affairs as well as other ministries including commerce and industry, petroleum and natural gas, civil aviation, culture, and science and technology.

The IRIGC-TEC is a key institutional mechanism to promote and strengthen India’s special and privileged strategic partnership with Russia across different sectors.

While in Moscow, Sushma will also hold a bilateral meeting with her Russian counterpart Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.

While India’s trade with the US is around $100 billion, with Russia, the two-way trade still stands at $10 billion.

The IRIGC-TEC is the apex government-to-government forum to review economic cooperation.

The 20th session was held in New Delhi on November 5,2014.

(IANS)

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FBI Probed Whether Donald Trump Was Secretly Working For Moscow: Report

Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his Moscow ties

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Trump
FBI probed whether Trump was working for Moscow: Report. VOA

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had opened an inquiry in 2017 into whether US President Donald Trump was secretly working on behalf of Russia after he fired the agency’s Director James Comey, the media reported.

The New York Times, citing unnamed sources familiar with the investigation, reported on Friday that counterintelligence officials weighed whether Trump’s actions were undermining national security and whether he was knowingly working for Russia or had “unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence”.

Trump has repeatedly denied that he colluded with Russia and called special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt”.

Reacting to the report, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said: “This is absurd. James Comey was fired because he’s a disgraced partisan hack, and his Deputy Andrew McCabe, who was in charge at the time, is a known liar fired by the FBI.

“Unlike President (Barack) Obama, who let Russia and other foreign adversaries push America around, President Donald Trump has actually been tough on Russia.”

In 2016, US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia had launched cyberattacks and planted fake news stories on the social media in a bid to boost Trump and damage his rival Hillary Clinton’s chances for the presidency.

Trump, U.S.
Donald Trump. VOA

The investigation the FBI opened into Donald Trump also had a criminal aspect that whether his firing of Comey constituted obstruction of justice, the report said.

The FBI investigation was later folded into Mueller’s inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow, the paper said, adding that it was unclear if the counterintelligence aspect was still being pursued.

The Times said that the FBI had been suspicious of Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign. But it held off on opening an investigation till the President sacked Comey, who refused to swear his allegiance and roll back the Russia investigation.

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Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani told the daily that he had no knowledge of the inquiry but said that since it was opened a year and a half ago and they hadn’t heard anything, apparently “they found nothing”.

Nonetheless, the inquiry put some of the President’s closest associates in the dock. His former personal lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for campaign finance and fraud crimes, while his campaign chief Paul Manafort was convicted of financial fraud.

Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his Moscow ties. (IANS)