Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy wins Ukrainian presidential election: Exit poll

WORLD NEWS Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy wins Ukrainian presidential election: Exit poll  https://linewsradio.com/comedian-volodymyr-zelenskiy-wins-ukrainian-presidential-election-exit-poll/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(KIEV, Ukraine) — Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedian with no political experience who plays the president on TV, has won Ukraine’s presidential election in a landslide, according to a national exit poll. The poll showed Zelenskiy receiving 73 percent of the vote, sweeping away Ukraine’s incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko, who conceded defeat on Sunday.

At a campaign party at a bar in Kiev, packed with hundreds of journalists, Zelenskiy declared victory. As the exit poll’s results were announced, confetti was shot into the air and Zelenskiy thanked his campaign volunteers, saying they had “protected Ukraine”.

The result places a political novice at the head of Ukraine, one of the poorest countries in Europe, on a fault-line in the stand-off between the West and Russia. Ukraine is still locked in a war with Russia that has seen 13,000 people killed since 2014.

Zelenskiy’s victory comes on the back of deep dissatisfaction among Ukrainians with their political establishment, weariness over the war. He ran promising to fight corruption and to upend that political elite, which is viewed as corrupt and indifferent to the concerns of ordinary Ukrainians.

At polling stations on Sunday, few voters expressed great affection for Zelenskiy, saying instead they supported him as an agent of change.

“I am for a new face,” said Tatiana Zakharenko, 50, an economist voting in central Kiev. “We need a change.”

The vote was a resounding rejection of Poroshenko, a 53-year-old billionaire confectionary tycoon who came to power on the back of mass protests in 2014 that toppled Ukraine’s then-Russian-backed president, Viktor Yanukovych. Poroshenko had campaigned as a wartime leader, promoting himself as a defender of Ukrainian identity against Russia and warning that Zelenskiy’s inexperience meant a win for Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Poroshenko, though, was unable to overcome widespread perceptions that he has failed to tackle entrenched corruption and continued Ukraine’s tradition of using power to enrich his associates.

In a country where politics is a byword for corruption and self-dealing, some said that Zelenskiy’s lack of experience in politics was actually a plus.

“On the one hand, it’s not the best president for me, but at least he has no experience in corruption or all the things that our politicians have,” Anna Dysheleva, a marketing executive, told ABC News after voting with her young son.

Few know, however, what that change will mean in practice. Zelenskiy has campaigned on almost no detailed policies and has avoided the media, refusing interviews. The last interview he gave was to a journalist who won a ping pong competition on the night of his victory in the first round. On Sunday, the same competition was running at the victory party.

Instead, Zelenskiy largely campaigned as a version of his on-screen persona, and held stand-up shows instead of political rallies. In his show, “Servant of the People,” he plays a schoolteacher who is catapulted into the presidency when his rant against corruption goes viral. Once president, he eschews the traditional perks of his office and battles oligarchs who normally direct politics in Ukraine.

Both candidates have promised to maintain Ukraine’s pro-European course. Critics of Zelenskiy, though, fear his more moderate stance could see the country slide back into Russia’s orbit.

Poroshenko, who campaigned as a wartime leader, warned that Zelenskiy will be unable to stand up to Putin.

Tatiana Zakharenko, 50, an economist, said she had voted despite her reservations about Zelenskiy.

“I’m for a new face, for the young,” she said. “We need a change.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Apr 2019

Kellyanne Conway says ‘president is not going to jail,’ predicts another Trump term

Political News Kellyanne Conway says 'president is not going to jail,' predicts another Trump term https://linewsradio.com/kellyanne-conway-says-president-is-not-going-to-jail-predicts-another-trump-term/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Just days after the release of the highly anticipated Mueller report, one of President Donald Trump’s top advisers, Kellyanne Conway, said Sunday the investigation found Trump committed no crime — and even predicted another term for the president.

“The job of a prosecutor is to gather evidence and decide whether to indict or to decline to indict. They declined to indict,” the White House counselor said on “This Week.” “The president is not going to jail. He’s staying in the White House for five and a half more years. Why? Because … they found no crime, no conspiracy. That was the central premise.”

 “So you think this [report] totally exonerates him … from obstruction of justice?” co-anchor Martha Raddatz asked Conway.

“Yes, and the word exoneration was unnecessary in the Mueller report and I would say inappropriate,” she responded.

Conway referenced the press conference former FBI Director James Comey gave in July 2016 in which he announced the Justice Department was declining to prosecute Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while at the same time saying there was “evidence of potential violations” of handling classified information and called her action’s “extremely careless.”

“You just don’t do that,” Conway added. “You either prosecute or you don’t. You either bring an indictment of your don’t.”

On Thursday, members of Congress and the public were finally able to read the report from special counsel Robert Mueller on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The report, parts of which were redacted, laid out the “sweeping and systematic fashion” with which the Russian government meddled in the election with the goal of electing Trump.

 While the report detailed multiple points of contact between members of the Trump campaign and members of the Russian government — or those claiming to be — Mueller concluded these instances didn’t amount to a criminal conspiracy or coordination with the Russians.

The special counsel outlined 11 possible instances of obstruction of justice, but ultimately did not make a determination on the issue.

 “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment,” the report reads. “Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

In a March 24 letter, Attorney General William Barr said he, in consultation with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, determined that “the evidence developed during the [investigation was] not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

According to the report, Trump called former White House counsel Don McGahn at his home twice on June 17, 2017, both times directing McGahn to call Rosenstein, who was overseeing the special counsel investigation because former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, to tell him that Mueller “had conflicts that precluded him from” overseeing the investigation.

 McGahn told the special counsel that Trump said to him, “Mueller has to go,” and “Call me back when you do it.”

McGahn did not follow the order.

When Trump was asked in August if he had considered dismissing Mueller, he told reporters he hadn’t “given it any thought.”

“I’m not dismissing anybody,” he added.

The report also notes that seven other members of his administration, including former FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and one outside adviser — former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski — didn’t carry out presidential orders related to influencing the Russia investigation.

“The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful,” the Mueller report says. “But that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”

In the days following the report’s release, the president has railed against the probe, Democrats and the media, all while asserting it concluded there was “No Collusion, No Obstruction!”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Apr 2019

Leader of armed militia that held migrants arrested on weapons charges

U.S. NEWS Leader of armed militia that held migrants arrested on weapons charges https://linewsradio.com/leader-of-armed-militia-that-held-migrants-arrested-on-weapons-charges/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

Sherry Smith/iStock(SUNLAND PARK, N.M.) — The leader of a militia operating along the southern border has been arrested by the FBI days after the armed group detained over 200 migrants who had just illegally crossed into New Mexico.

Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, of Flora Vista, New Mexico, was arrested Saturday on charges of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, the FBI Albuquerque office said.

Hopkins was arrested in Sunland Park, New Mexico, which lies right on the border with Mexico and is just 8 miles northwest of El Paso, Texas.

 “This is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families,” New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement. “Today’s arrest by the FBI indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, and not armed vigilantes.”

The spokesperson for the group attacked Balderas and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for the arrest.

“I am confident that Mr. Hopkins will get though this, will fare well,” the militia’s spokesperson, Jim Benvie, told El Paso ABC affiliate KVIA-TV, while wearing a red “Trump 2020” hat. “The [New Mexico] AG has declared war on American citizens at the order of the ACLU, instructing the governor, in a sense, to effectively find a reason to remove private citizens from assisting and documenting a crisis on the border. It’s really sad that she can’t use the resources of the National Guard or even the FBI, if they had to, to help protect the border. Instead, they had to infiltrate and set up our camp, and we’re confident about our position with this.

“We’re not worried about it. It doesn’t change anything,” he added.

Hopkins was convicted of impersonating an officer and felony gun possession in 2006, according to The Daily Beast.

He leads a group called The United Constitutional Patriots, which states on its Facebook page that its mission is “to uphold the Constitution of The United States of America.”

“We uphold this cause against all enemies both foreign and domestic which shall infringe upon the rights of the citizens given by the Constitution,” it says. “We are here to serve in time of need at the local and state level and if necessary for our country.”

Benvie regularly uploads videos to his Facebook page showing the group’s actions detaining migrants.

The group gained attention on Tuesday when it detained over 200 migrants at gunpoint after they crossed into the U.S. near Sunland Park. The group was held by the militia until U.S. Border Patrol agents responded and took them into custody.

A spokesperson for the group told KVIA-TV that the group never points a gun at migrants and they weren’t forced to stay.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) immediately came out against the action, and blamed it on the rhetoric of the president.

“The Trump administration’s vile racism has emboldened white nationalists and fascists to flagrantly violate the law,” the ACLU said in a statement Friday. “This has no place in our state: we cannot allow racist and armed vigilantes to kidnap and detain people seeking asylum.”

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry released a statement on behalf of the government expressing “profound concern about the activities of intimidation and extortion of migrants by groups of militias on the New Mexico border.”

The group wrote Friday on its Facebook page that Paypal had permanently suspended its fundraising account.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Apr 2019

California authorities searching for suspect after LAPD officer shot during traffic stop

U.S. NEWS California authorities searching for suspect after LAPD officer shot during traffic stop https://linewsradio.com/california-authorities-searching-for-suspect-after-lapd-officer-shot-during-traffic-stop/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

KABC-TV(LOS ANGELES) — An LAPD officer was shot and injured while exchanging gunfire with a suspect in South Los Angeles Saturday night.

The officer, a gang officer in the Newton area, was conducting a traffic stop near Long Beach Avenue and 52nd Street when the driver got out and fled, according to the LAPD. The officer chased the suspect up to 150 yards before “another man appeared” and began shooting, police said.

Both the officer and that suspect were struck by gunfire, police said.

The injured officer, who was not identified, was out of surgery by Sunday morning, ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV reported. He is in stable condition, police said.

The condition of the suspect, who was transported to a local hospital, is unknown.

Police initially thought there were two occupants in the car that was stopped and set up a perimeter around the scene. They later discontinued the search after determining that the suspect who was injured, the one who appeared during the foot pursuit, was the one who shot the officer.

Investigators are still trying to identify the driver of the car.

Additional information was not immediately available.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Apr 2019

Congressional Dems may ‘take up impeachment’ in wake of Mueller report: Adam Schiff

Political News Congressional Dems may 'take up impeachment' in wake of Mueller report: Adam Schiff https://linewsradio.com/congressional-dems-may-take-up-impeachment-in-wake-of-mueller-report-adam-schiff/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Rep. Adam Schiff said Sunday congressional Democrats may take up impeachment in the wake of the special counsel report, and that the decision will be made based on the “best interests of the country.”

“This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz asked Schiff about the statement on Friday by presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, who called for the House to open impeachment proceedings against the president.

Warren said on Twitter that the “severity of [the president’s] misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty. That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States.”

Schiff, D-California, said Warren “makes an important point,” but added that Democrats will have to take the “political environment” into consideration when deciding whether to undertake impeachment.

He blamed Republicans for being “willing to carry the president’s water no matter how corrupt, or unethical or dishonest the president’s conduct may be” as the reason theoretical impeachment proceedings may ultimately be unsuccessful in the Senate.

But he added that “it may be that we undertake an impeachment nonetheless.”

“I think what we are going to have to decide as a caucus is, what is the best thing for the country?” Schiff said. “Is it the best thing for the country to take up an impeachment proceeding because to do otherwise sends a message that this conduct is somehow compatible with office, or is it in the best interest of the country not to take up impeachment that we know will not be successful because the Republican leadership will not do its duty?”

 Democrats, including most 2020 candidates, were not satisfied with the redacted report.

In a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said that the Justice Department would make available to the chairmen, their ranking members, members of the “Gang of Eight” and one staff member per lawmaker a less redacted version of the report.

The “Gang of Eight” includes Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate intelligence committees. The members would be give the opportunity for an “in camera” review, meaning they can’t take notes and must keep the information confidential, in a secure reading room at the department this week. The grand jury material would still be redacted.

The following week, when Congress is back from recess, the “Gang of Eight,” plus the chairmen and ranking members of both the House and Senate judiciary committees, would have an opportunity for an “in camera” review in a secure location on Capitol Hill.

The Democrats who were invited rejected this offer, sending a letter back to Barr, saying the department’s “proposed accommodation … is not acceptable.”

 Nadler then issued a subpoena for the full, unredacted report on Friday. He is seeking the full report, including the underlying evidence, despite a federal procedural rule that requires information from a grand jury to remain secret.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec responded to the subpoena and the Democrats in a statement to ABC News: “In the interest of transparency, the Attorney General released the Special Counsel’s ‘confidential report’ with only minimal redactions. The Department of Justice has also made arrangements for Chairman Nadler and other Congressional leaders to review the report with even fewer redactions.”

“In light of this, Congressman Nadler’s subpoena is premature and unnecessary,” the statement continued. “The Department will continue to work with Congress to accommodate its legitimate requests consistent with the law and long-recognized executive branch interests.”

On Thursday, members of Congress and the public were finally able to read the highly-anticipated nearly 450-page report from special counsel Robert Mueller on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The report, parts of which were redacted, laid out the “sweeping and systematic fashion” with which the Kremlin meddled in the election with the goal of electing Donald Trump.

 While the report detailed several interactions between members of Trump campaign and people claiming to be members of the Russian government, Mueller concluded these instances did not amount to a criminal conspiracy or coordination with the Russians. The special counsel outlined 11 possible instances of obstruction of justice, but ultimately did not make a determination on the issue.

“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment,” the report reads. “Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

In a March 24 letter, Attorney General William Barr said he, in consultation with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, determined that “the evidence developed during the [investigation was] not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Apr 2019

Sri Lanka bombings: 207 dead, hundreds injured in church, hotel explosions on Easter Sunday

WORLD NEWS Sri Lanka bombings: 207 dead, hundreds injured in church, hotel explosions on Easter Sunday  https://linewsradio.com/sri-lanka-bombings-207-dead-hundreds-injured-in-church-hotel-explosions-on-easter-sunday/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

Stringer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — At least 207 people were killed and hundreds more injured on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka when attackers unleashed an apparently coordinated series of bombings that simultaneously targeted Christian churches and luxury hotels, and sent a wave a terror across the globe.

The explosions took place miles apart, and the targets included three Christian churches holding Easter services and three hotels, some commonly used by Western tourists. In addition to those who were killed, at least 450 were wounded, according to officials with police, the Colombo Hospital and St. Sebastian Church.

There were at least nine foreigners among the dead in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, an island nation off the southern tip of India in the Indian Ocean, according to the officials. Two dual citizens of the United State and the United Kingdom were among the dead, as well as one Portuguese citizen and two U.K. citizens, according to the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

One American was also among the missing. All of the foreigners died in attacks on hotels.

President Donald Trump sent his condolences to the country in an early morning tweet from Mar-a-Lago, where he is spending the Easter holiday.

“The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka,” he tweeted Sunday morning. “We stand ready to help!”

 St. Anthony’s Shrine, a Catholic church in Colombo, and Zion Church, in Batticaloa, were also attacked. Colombo, the country’s capital, is located on the western side of Sri Lanka, while Batticaloa is on the eastern shore.

Shangri-La Hotel, Cinnamon Grand Hotel, and Kingsbury Hotel, all located in Colombo — all popular with tourists — were targeted in the bombings.

 Following Easter Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Pope Francis condemned the “cruel violence” that “have wrought grief and sorrow.”

“I wish to express my heartfelt closeness to the Christian community [of Sri Lanka], wounded as it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence,” Pope Francis said. “I entrust to the Lord all those who have tragically perished, and I pray for the injured and all those who suffer as a result of this tragic event.”

Officials who spoke to ABC News were able to confirm at least 24 people were killed at St. Anthony’s Church, 27 died at Batticaloa’s Zion Church and 81 have died at St. Sebastian Church. There were about 500 people at the Easter Mass at St. Sebastian when the explosion took place, according to officials from the church.

The simultaneous explosions erupted about 8:45 a.m. local time. Video from inside the St. Sebastian’s Church showed the immediate aftermath a bombing there as worshipers who had just been praying for peace found themselves surrounded by devastation and death.

 Parishioners, many bleeding, scrambled to carry severely injured people from the church that was littered with overturned chairs, shattered glass and debris that fell from the ceiling.

The blasts were followed by a wail of sirens from emergency vehicles headed to the multiple bombing scenes.

Ruwan Gunasekara, a police spokesman, said that in addition to the 207 killed, approximately 450 people were injured, overwhelming hospitals throughout the island nation.

The National Hospital in Colombo reported that 66 people had died there from injuries suffered in the attacks and that 260 were being treated, Gunasekara said. At the Negombo Hospital, 104 people were reported dead and 100 of the injured were being treated, he said.

Another 37 people were pronounced dead at the Kalubowila, Batticaloa and Brown’s hospitals. Another 89 people were being treated at those medical centers, Gunaskekara said.

“It’s a very, very sad day for all of us. I wish to, therefore, express my deepest sorrow and sympathy to all those innocent families that have lost someone, and also to those who have been injured and rendered destitute,” Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, said at a news conference. “I would like to call upon all to pray that all those who are injured may be healed soon and that all these families who lost someone may be consoled.

“I condemn to the utmost of my capacity this act that has caused so much death and suffering to the people,” Ranjith said. “I ask all us Sri Lankan people not to take the law into their own hands and to maintain peace and harmony in this country. And I also ask that all those who are able to donate blood in order to help these people who are injured, and then I also appeal to the doctors to please help us.”

Buddhism is the most common religion in Sri Lanka. National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri-Lanka documented the growing number of attacks on Christians in 2018, saying there were 67 from January to September.

Parliamentary member Harsha de Silva said foreigners were among the dead or injured, but did not provide further details.

 No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Gunasekara said it was too early to say who was behind the attack or comment on a possible motive.

Sri Lanka has been at times one of the most dangerous locations in the world for terrorist attacks. A civil war that raged for decades between the ruling government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam — known colloquially as the Tamil Tigers or LTTE — officially ended in 2009, but some conflict has continued. As many as 100,000 people were killed in the civil war from 1982 to 2009, according to the U.N.

 The U.K. government warns travelers of the risks posed by those visiting the country.

“Terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka can’t be ruled out,” the government advises on its website. “Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.”

The U.S. lists Sri Lanka as a Level 1 country, the lowest risk level, which warns travelers to exercise normal precautions.

The country was also divided by a constitutional crisis at the end of 2018 when Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was removed by the country’s president in October, only to later be reinstated in December.

“I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today,” Wickremesinghe said in a tweet. “I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong. Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.”

The bombings sent shockwaves all the way to the United States, where security was bolstered at churches.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed the State Police to boost security patrols at churches and houses of worship across the state.

“New York grieves for the victims of the horrific attacks at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday,” Cuomo said in a statement. “On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest condolences to the people of Sri Lanka, to the families who lost loved ones and to all those grieving around the world.

“In the wake of these despicable acts of violence and out of an abundance of caution, I am directing State Police to increase patrols around churches and houses of worship across the state today,” Cuomo said. “During these troubling times, we will not be intimidated by cowardly acts of violence and will continue to do everything in our power to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Apr 2019

Sri Lanka bombings: World leaders, prominent figures condemn Easter Sunday bombings

WORLD NEWS Sri Lanka bombings: World leaders, prominent figures condemn Easter Sunday bombings  https://linewsradio.com/sri-lanka-bombings-world-leaders-prominent-figures-condemn-easter-sunday-bombings/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

Chamila Karunarathne/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — From the White House to the Vatican, world leaders condemned the string of bombings that killed more than 200 people in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday as many of the victims were in churches celebrating one of most important holidays in the Christian faith.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan shared his condolences with the Sri Lankan brethren while strongly condemning the horrific attacks that wounded another 450 people.

“Strongly condemn the horrific terrorist attack in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday resulting in precious lives lost & hundreds injured. My profound condolences go to our Sri Lankan brethren. Pakistan stands in complete solidarity with Sri Lanka in their hour of grief,” he tweeted.

U.S. President Donald Trump offered “heartfelt condolences” to the people of Sri Lanka, pledging that the U.S. stands “ready to help.”

 The coordinated bombings at eight locations left at least 207 people dead. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and at least three suspects have been arrested in connection with the attacks.

The outpouring of support came from all over the world.

Prime Minister of India Chowkidar Narendra Modi tweeted: “There is no place for such barbarism in our region,” adding that “India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka.”

Pope Francis expressed “sadness” over the attacks while delivering his Easter Sunday Mass at the Vatican and prayed for those who were killed and injured.

 Former U.S. President Barack Obama described the series of coordinated bombings as an “attack on humanity.”

“On a day devoted to love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for the victims and stand with the people of Sri Lanka,” Obama tweeted.

British Prime Minister Theresa May described the attacks as “truly appalling” and urged people to “stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear.”

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he is “deeply saddened” by the attacks.

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, expressed the “horror and sadness” he felt upon learning of the bombings, three of which occurred at Christian churches.

The press office for Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari tweeted that the president “urges the authorities not to spare the wicked elements behind these mischievous attacks.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the “heartbreaking” attacks come at the time when Sri Lanka “has worked hard to build a common future after years of war.”

 New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed state police to increase patrols around churches and houses of worship. During a press conference, New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan commended the “brave” worshippers who attended mass on Easter Sunday despite the threats.

“These are the ones that give us hope,” Dolan said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 21 Apr 2019

Maria Butina’s lawyers ask for leniency ahead of sentencing

Political News Maria Butina’s lawyers ask for leniency ahead of sentencing https://linewsradio.com/maria-butinas-lawyers-ask-for-leniency-ahead-of-sentencing/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

iStock/daboost(WASHINGTON) —  Federal prosecutors claim Maria Butina conspired to act as a foreign agent who sought to create a backchannel between American power players and Russia. But letters from her family and friends paint her in a far different light — as an empathetic and hard-working honors student whose only crime was her curiosity.

“I am confident that the manner in which she was raised by our family and myself would not have permitted Maria to commit any unlawful acts,” Butina’s grandmother wrote in one letter, attributing any missteps to ignorance or “youthful naivety.”

The letters were submitted by Butina’s defense team as part of a sentencing memorandum. Prosecutors have recommended that she be sentenced to 18 additional months behind bars, but her attorneys say that a sentence of time served is adequate.

Butina’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 26th. Judge Tanya Chutkan invited Butina to speak to her before then, but Driscoll did not confirm whether or not his client would do so. Butina will likely be deported back to Russia when she is released from prison.

“Although Maria has committed a serious offense, just punishment does not require additional incarceration,” Butina’s lawyers wrote in the sentencing memo, describing her as a “devoted daughter, genuine idealist, and compassionate civil activist.”

Butina, a 30-year-old Russian gun rights activist, was arrested last July in Washington, DC on charges of conspiracy and failure to register as a foreign agent. Although she originally maintained that she was innocent, she signed onto a plea agreement in December of 2018, agreeing to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign official.

In their own sentencing memo, prosecutors contend that the defense is downplaying the severity of Butina’s actions, writing that “while Butina was in the United States claiming merely to be a student, she was spending much of her time devoted to another purpose — advancing the interests of the Russian Federation.”

The filing claims that while Butina was not a trained spy, she was working to build a “rolodex” of information “about powerful people who had, or were likely to get, access to and influence over the next presidential administration.”

“The types of services the defendant provided to the Russian Federation are specifically of the type that Russia would seek to use against the United States,” prosecutors wrote. “Such operations can cause great damage to our national security by giving covert agents access to our country and powerful individuals who can influence its direction.”

In their accounts submitted to the court, Butina’s family members in Russia said her detention in the U.S. has caused them extreme distress. Her grandmother wrote that she knew something happened to her granddaughter last summer when the iPad they used to communicate on an almost daily basis “un-customarily fell silent.” Butina’s younger sister wrote that she has been experiencing anxiety attacks, and said she has to work a minimum of 12 hours a day in order to afford to communicate by phone with her incarcerated sister.

Butina admitted in a statement of offense to undertaking a diplomacy project meant to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Russia. Although Butina said that her plans were supported in concept by a Russian official, she said she did not receive any financial backing from Russia. However, prosecutors said Butina was aware that the official was reporting some information about her work in the U.S. wider within Russian government.

Throughout the case, Butina’s links to the National Rifle Association (NRA) have been the subject of scrutiny. She has denied infiltrating or funneling money from Russia to the organization, but prosecutors said she purposefully targeted the group in an attempt to further her goal of establishing a back channel of communication to the Kremlin.

Butina, a 30-year-old Russian gun rights activist, was arrested last July in Washington, DC on charges of conspiracy and failure to register as a foreign agent. Although she originally maintained that she was innocent, she signed onto a plea agreement in December of 2018, agreeing to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign official.

In their own sentencing memo, prosecutors contend that the defense is downplaying the severity of Butina’s actions, writing that “while Butina was in the United States claiming merely to be a student, she was spending much of her time devoted to another purpose — advancing the interests of the Russian Federation.”

The filing claims that while Butina was not a trained spy, she was working to build a “rolodex” of information “about powerful people who had, or were likely to get, access to and influence over the next presidential administration.”

“The types of services the defendant provided to the Russian Federation are specifically of the type that Russia would seek to use against the United States,” prosecutors wrote. “Such operations can cause great damage to our national security by giving covert agents access to our country and powerful individuals who can influence its direction.”

In their accounts submitted to the court, Butina’s family members in Russia said her detention in the U.S. has caused them extreme distress. Her grandmother wrote that she knew something happened to her granddaughter last summer when the iPad they used to communicate on an almost daily basis “un-customarily fell silent.” Butina’s younger sister wrote that she has been experiencing anxiety attacks, and said she has to work a minimum of 12 hours a day in order to afford to communicate by phone with her incarcerated sister.

Butina admitted in a statement of offense to undertaking a diplomacy project meant to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Russia. Although Butina said that her plans were supported in concept by a Russian official, she said she did not receive any financial backing from Russia. However, prosecutors said Butina was aware that the official was reporting some information about her work in the U.S. wider within Russian government.

Throughout the case, Butina’s links to the National Rifle Association (NRA) have been the subject of scrutiny. She has denied infiltrating or funneling money from Russia to the organization, but prosecutors said she purposefully targeted the group in an attempt to further her goal of establishing a back channel of communication to the Kremlin.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 20 Apr 2019

Elizabeth Warren continues calls for impeachment proceedings on campaign trail

Political News Elizabeth Warren continues calls for impeachment proceedings on campaign trail https://linewsradio.com/elizabeth-warren-continues-calls-for-impeachment-proceedings-on-campaign-trail/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

Scott Eisen/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren repeated her calls for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump on Saturday, saying “this isn’t about politics.”

“For me this isn’t about politics, this is about principle and that’s why I asked the House to start impeachment proceedings.” Warren said Saturday to loud applause from a crowd at a meet and greet at the Weare Town Hall in New Hampshire. “This is about accountability.”

Warren is the first 2020 Democratic candidate to call for impeachment proceedings to begin in such outright terms. In doing so, she distinguished herself from other leaders in her party.

 The former Harvard Law School professor and senator from Massachusetts initially announced her conclusions about the 448-page report in a series of tweets Friday afternoon.

Under the U.S. Constitution, impeachment proceedings must begin in the House of Representatives, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,’s office responded to Warren’s comments on Saturday by urging caution.

“As the Speaker has said repeatedly, one step at a time. We’re focused on getting the full unredacted version of the report and its underlying documents — as well as hearing from Mueller,” ” Pelosi’s spokesperson told ABC News on Saturday. “The report raises more questions and concerns that we believe the American people deserve answers to.”

The Speaker is holding a conference call with House Democrats on Monday to discuss the Mueller report and next steps.

Just before releasing a redacted version of the Mueller report on Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr announced that neither collusion nor obstruction of justice took place under the Trump campaign or by the Trump administration.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, however, “established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts,” the report said.

The report also documented instances in which the president acted to impede the investigation but concluded that Trump’s efforts were mostly unsuccessful, “largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”

The report, Warren said, “lays out facts showing that a hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election to help Donald Trump, and Donald Trump welcomed that help. Once elected, Donald Trump obstructed the investigation into that attack.”

“The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty,” Warren continued. “That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States.”

Warren finished reading the report late into the night on Thursday after campaign events in Denver and Salt Lake City and decided she wanted to say something, sources familiar with her process said. So, she turned to Twitter.

If members of the House do vote to impeach, the Senate is the body that would vote to remove the President from office.

In a later interview on MSNBC, Warren said she thought the evidence for impeachable offenses in the report was “overwhelming.”

“It is a point of principle and every member of the House and every member of the Senate should be called on to vote: ‘Do you believe that that constitutes an impeachable offense?’ I do believe that the evidence is just overwhelming that Donald Trump has committed these offenses,” Warren said. “And that means we should open proceedings in the House and then the House can take a vote.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 20 Apr 2019

Texas mom reported missing after not showing up to daughter’s babysitter

U.S. NEWS Texas mom reported missing after not showing up to daughter’s babysitter https://linewsradio.com/texas-mom-reported-missing-after-not-showing-up-to-daughters-babysitter/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

iStock/Chalabala(MESQUITE, Texas) — A 26-year-old Mesquite, Texas, mom was scheduled to pick up her child from the babysitter on Wednesday night, but she never showed up.

Prisma Denisse Peralta Reyes was reported missing to the police after friends and family made several attempts to reach her by phone.

Reyes’ 2017 Jeep Wrangler was found abandoned by the Mesquite Police Department on Thursday morning in the 3500 block of Roseland Avenue in Dallas, Texas. ABC affiliate WFAA obtained surveillance video of the last-known sighting of Reyes near an apartment complex where her car was found.

Reyes’ child is being cared for by relatives until she is located, Mesquite Police said in a statement.

Reyes was last seen in the video footage talking on a cell phone and wearing a red polo and light blue jeans.

Reyes’ stepfather, Dan Fuchs, told WFAA that she recently became a U.S. citizen and is originally from Veracruz, Mexico. He said Reyes also works as a paralegal and was a member of the National Guard.

Police are asking anyone with information on Reyes’ whereabouts to call the Mesquite Police Department at (972) 285-6336.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 20 Apr 2019