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FILE PHOTO: Swedbank sign is seen on the local headquarters building in Tallinn
FILE PHOTO: Swedbank sign is seen on the local headquarters building in Tallinn, Estonia March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

June 18, 2019

By Esha Vaish

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Swedbank has suspended with immediate effect the two most senior executives of its Estonian business, which is being investigated over alleged money laundering.

Sweden’s oldest retail bank has already parted ways with its chief executive and chairman this year after alleged links to a money laundering scandal at Danske Bank, and is being investigated in the United States, Sweden and the Baltics.

The most recent allegations, reported by Swedish state TV in March, said that Swedbank processed gross transactions of up to 20 billion euros a year from high-risk, mostly Russian non-resident clients, through Estonia from 2010 to 2016.

Although Swedbank initially denied the allegations, which first related to between 2007 and 2015, mounting shareholder pressure for transparency led to the bank’s admission in April to failings in combating money laundering and an internal inquiry into compliance with anti-money laundering rules.

Robert Kitt, who has been Estonia CEO since 2015, and Vaiko Tammevali, Estonia CFO since 2014, had both been suspended, Swedbank said in a statement late on Monday.

“(The) decision is a consequence of the ongoing internal investigation,” Charlotte Elsnitz, Swedbank’s head of Baltic Banking, told journalists at a news conference on Tuesday.

Elsnitz declined to give any details about the reason for the suspensions, but said Swedbank remained committed to Estonia, where it is the largest bank with more than 900,000 private and 132,000 business customers.

Kitt and Tammevali, both Estonian, have worked at the bank for more than 15 years. Kitt’s previous jobs include heading the wealth management and corporate banking units, while Tammevali’s included leading the private banking and credit risk units.

“It has been a fantastic journey. Fiercely tense, frantically interesting, with fantastic colleagues and a team. But every race is running out of time and my mandate in Swedbank Estonia as (Head of Unit) ended today,” Estonian media quoted Kitt as saying in a statement posted on Facebook.

Reuters could not immediately independently verify the statement, which was confirmed by a Swedbank spokeswoman, while Kitt did not respond to requests for comment.

Tammevali could not immediately be reached.

Credit Suisse analysts said that the suspensions could help Swedbank in any discussions with authorities.

The Estonian financial regulator declined to comment and said that their investigation with Sweden and other Baltic authorities was ongoing, while Swedbank said it was cooperating fully with authorities.

Swedbank said Olavi Lepp, its chief risk officer, had been named acting CEO of Swedbank Estonia, while Anna Kouts, its head of treasury, would become acting CFO in the Baltic country.

The bank’s shares, which have lost about a third in value since the scandal broke, were down 1.6 percent at 138.35 Swedish crowns at 0930 GMT.

(Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom and Esha Vaish, editing by Deepa Babington/Keith Weir/Alexander Smith)

Source: OANN

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump captured the Republican Party and then the presidency in 2016 as an insurgent intent on disrupting the status quo. As he mounts his bid for reelection, Trump is offering himself as the outsider once again — but it’s a much more awkward pitch to make from inside the Oval Office.

Trump is set to formally announce his 2020 bid on Tuesday at a rally in Orlando, Florida, where advisers said he aims to connect the dots between the promise of his disruptive first-time candidacy and his goals for another term in the White House. His promises to rock the ship of state are now more than an abstract pledge, though, complicated by his tumultuous 29 months at its helm.

Any president is inherently an insider. Trump has worked in the Oval Office for two years, travels the skies in Air Force One and changes the course of history with the stroke of a pen or the post of a tweet.

“We’re taking on the failed political establishment and restoring government of, by and for the people,” Trump said in a video released by his campaign Monday to mark his relaunch. “It’s the people, you’re the people, you won the election.”

That populist clarion was a central theme of his maiden political adventure, as the businessman-turned-candidate successfully appealed to disaffected voters who felt left behind by economic dislocation and demographic shifts. And he has no intention of abandoning it, even if he is the face of the institutions he looks to disrupt.

Those involved in the president’s reelection effort believe that his brash version of populism, combined with his mantra to “Drain the Swamp,” still resonates, despite his administration’s cozy ties with lobbyists and corporations and the Trump family’s apparent efforts to profit off the presidency.

“He’s still not viewed as a politician,” said Jason Miller, Trump’s 2016 senior communications adviser. “Voters don’t define him by the party label, they define him by his policies and his message of shaking up the status quo in Washington. That’s the biggest reason he was able to win blue states in 2016.”

Democrats, though, predict Trump won’t be able to get away with the outsider branding.

“How can you say: Forget about the last two years, he is an outsider, he is bashing down doors,” said Karine Jean-Pierre, a former senior Obama campaign official now at MoveOn.org. “People’s lives are harder because of what he has done as president. Voters are paying their attention and are not going to buy it.”

Republicans working with the Trump campaign but not authorized to speak publicly about internal conversations said campaign advisers believe that Trump is still perceived as a businessman and point to his clashes with the Washington establishment — including Congress, the so-called Deep State and members of his own party — as proof that he is still an outsider rather than a creature of the Beltway. Helping further that image, Trump advisers believe, is that his main Democratic foils are all career politicians: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, former Vice President Joe Biden and, yes, Hillary Clinton.

“He promised that he’d go to Washington and shake things up, and he certainly has,” said Trump campaign manager Tim Murtaugh.

Still, it’s not as though Trump is running from Washington. If anything, he’s wrapping himself in the trappings and authorities of his office. Last week, Trump granted behind-the-scenes access to his limousine, Marine One helicopter and Air Force One for an hourlong ABC News special meant to highlight the singular advantage he has over his rivals — that he already has the job they want.

And Trump is eager to use the power of the office to further his case for reelection. Last month in Louisiana, he promised voters a new bridge if he wins, and in the pivotal Florida Panhandle, he pledged new disaster relief money would flow in a second Trump term.

Trump advisers also point to his popularity among white working-class voters, who consider themselves “forgotten Americans” left behind and mocked by elite insiders. For those voters, many of whom in 2016 cast their first ballots in decades, Trump remains the embodiment of their outsider grievances, their anger stoked by his clashes with political foes and the rest of government (even when his party controls it).

Advisers believe that, in an age of extreme polarization, many Trump backers view their support for the president as part of their identity, one not easily shaken. They point to his seemingly unmovable support with his base supporters as evidence that, despite more than two years in office, he is still viewed the same way he was as a candidate: the bomb-throwing political rebel.

Americans acknowledge Trump is a change agent, but they are divided in their views of that change. Early this year, a CNN poll found about three-quarters of Americans saying Trump has created significant changes in the country, and they split about evenly between calling it change for the better and change for the worse. More recently, a March poll from CNN showed 42% of Americans think Trump can bring the kind of change the country needs.

___

Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writer Hannah Fingerhut contributed to this report.

___

Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire and Miller at http://twitter.com/@zekejmiller

FILE PHOTO: Office buildings are pictured in the financial district of Frankfurt
FILE PHOTO: Office buildings are pictured in the financial district of Frankfurt, Germany, September 15, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski/File Photo

June 18, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – The mood among German investors deteriorated sharply in June, a survey showed on Tuesday, with the ZEW institute pointing to recent weak economic data and an escalating trade dispute between China and the United States.

ZEW said its monthly survey showed economic sentiment among investors plunged to -21.1 from -2.1 in May. Economists had expected a drop to -5.9.

The June reading was the lowest level since November 2018 and marked the second consecutive monthly drop.

ZEW President Achim Wambach said the steep drop was linked to greater uncertainty about the global economy and a downturn in data on the German economy at the start of the second quarter.

“The intensification of the conflict between the U.S. and China, the increased risk of a military conflict in the Middle East and the higher probability of a no-deal Brexit are all casting a shade on the global economic outlook,” he added.

A separate gauge measuring investors’ assessment of the economy’s current conditions edged down to 7.8 from 8.2 the previous month. Markets had predicted a slightly lower reading of 6.0.

The weaker-than-expected sentiment survey adds to signs that German economic growth will be meager this year and that an expected rebound in 2020 could be less impressive than forecast.

Germany’s influential Ifo institute earlier on Tuesday cut its 2020 growth forecast to 1.7% from 1.8% previously as it warned that a manufacturing recession was starting to spill over into other sectors.

The government expects the economy to grow by 0.5% this year and 1.5% next.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Michelle Martin)

Source: OANN

Is War With Iran In Our Future? As Tensions Rise What Do You Think Trump’s Next Move Should Be?

Iran-US tension rises as Pentagon OKs sending more troops to Middle East and Rep. Omar blames Trump
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, one of Congress’ most vocal critics of President Trump, placed the blame squarely on the White House after Iran announced it could enrich uranium up to 20 percent — just a step below weapons-grade level. Omar took to Twitter on Monday condemning Trump’s See More decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal shortly before the Pentagon approved sending 1,000 more troops to the Middle East in response to the attack.

“None of this would be happening if Trump didn’t back out of the Iran nuclear deal,” she tweeted. Omar said the U.S. should get back to negotiations with Tehran and reinstate the Iran nuclear deal. The tension between the U.S. and Iran has been increasing in recent days after a high-profile attack on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. blamed Iran for the attacks, which the country denied. U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) released new images Monday showing the aftermath of attacks, including some images purporting to show Iranian forces removing an unexploded device from the hull of one of the vessels.

Trump threatens to remove ‘millions’ of illegal immigrants starting next week
President Trump late Monday announced on Twitter that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will begin the process of “removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the U.S.,” but did not elaborate on what new measures will be taken. “They will be removed as fast as they come,” Trump wrote. Mike Morgan, the acting director of ICE, did not announce any new initiatives during his stop in Louisville on Sunday, where he spoke about the humanitarian and national security crisis at the border.

Trump re-election campaign set to officially launch at Orlando rally
President Trump is expected to officially kick off his re-election campaign at a rally in Orlando, Fla. Tuesday night, and supporters have been lining up for days. Trump voters started gathering outside Orlando’s Amway Center more than 40 hours before the event is scheduled to start. The president tweeted on Monday morning that his campaign has received more than 100,000 ticket requests for the event in an arena that only holds 20,000 people.Tune in to Fox News tonight at 8 p.m. ET for live coverage of Trump’s rally.

New Jersey man the latest American tourist to die in the Dominican Republic: Report
The State Department has confirmed to Fox News that another American tourist has died in the Dominican Republic. Reportedly, it was a New Jersey man who was found dead on his hotel room floor. Joseph Allen, 55, of Avenel, New Jersey, was found dead last Thursday morning, WABC reported. The popular Caribbean vacation destination has been grappling with a rash of deaths of U.S. tourists in their hotel rooms at various resorts. Of the seven other recent deaths that have become publicly known, Dominican investigators said five were caused by a heart attack.

Parkland shooting survivor apologizes for racist comments after Harvard rescinds his admission offer
The conservative Parkland shooting survivor and pro-Second Amendment activist who was dropped by Harvard University after past offensive remarks and racial slurs surfaced appeared Monday on “The Story with Martha MacCallum,” where he apologized and asked for forgiveness. “I’m extremely sorry for it and I wish I could take it back but I can’t,” Kyle Kashuv told guest host Ed Henry. “All I can do now is seek to right the wrong.” Kashuv revealed on Twitter that Harvard rescinded his admission after the remarks he made as a 16-year-old came to light. The student, now 18, called comments “offensive,” “idiotic” and “inflammatory” and said he made them before the mass shooting — which transformed him as a person.

TODAY’S MUST-READS
Fox News contributor Lawrence Jones faces racist taunts from protesters at ‘Impeach Trump’ rally.
Paul Manafort not going to Rikers Island, will remain in federal custody after DOJ rejects move, source say.
2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards list of winners | Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s moving speech.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
How Gloria Vanderbilt became a designer jeans pioneer, fashion industry leader.
China’s Huawei gives Fox rare look inside headquarters amid US ban.
Facebook cryptocurrency launch: Why ‘Libra’ could be worth billions.

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Is War With Iran In Our Future? As Tensions Rise What Do You Think Trump’s Next Move Should Be?

Iran-US tension rises as Pentagon OKs sending more troops to Middle East and Rep. Omar blames Trump
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, one of Congress’ most vocal critics of President Trump, placed the blame squarely on the White House after Iran announced it could enrich uranium up to 20 percent — just a step below weapons-grade level. Omar took to Twitter on Monday condemning Trump’s See More decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal shortly before the Pentagon approved sending 1,000 more troops to the Middle East in response to the attack.

“None of this would be happening if Trump didn’t back out of the Iran nuclear deal,” she tweeted. Omar said the U.S. should get back to negotiations with Tehran and reinstate the Iran nuclear deal. The tension between the U.S. and Iran has been increasing in recent days after a high-profile attack on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. blamed Iran for the attacks, which the country denied. U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) released new images Monday showing the aftermath of attacks, including some images purporting to show Iranian forces removing an unexploded device from the hull of one of the vessels.

Trump threatens to remove ‘millions’ of illegal immigrants starting next week
President Trump late Monday announced on Twitter that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will begin the process of “removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the U.S.,” but did not elaborate on what new measures will be taken. “They will be removed as fast as they come,” Trump wrote. Mike Morgan, the acting director of ICE, did not announce any new initiatives during his stop in Louisville on Sunday, where he spoke about the humanitarian and national security crisis at the border.

Trump re-election campaign set to officially launch at Orlando rally
President Trump is expected to officially kick off his re-election campaign at a rally in Orlando, Fla. Tuesday night, and supporters have been lining up for days. Trump voters started gathering outside Orlando’s Amway Center more than 40 hours before the event is scheduled to start. The president tweeted on Monday morning that his campaign has received more than 100,000 ticket requests for the event in an arena that only holds 20,000 people.Tune in to Fox News tonight at 8 p.m. ET for live coverage of Trump’s rally.

New Jersey man the latest American tourist to die in the Dominican Republic: Report
The State Department has confirmed to Fox News that another American tourist has died in the Dominican Republic. Reportedly, it was a New Jersey man who was found dead on his hotel room floor. Joseph Allen, 55, of Avenel, New Jersey, was found dead last Thursday morning, WABC reported. The popular Caribbean vacation destination has been grappling with a rash of deaths of U.S. tourists in their hotel rooms at various resorts. Of the seven other recent deaths that have become publicly known, Dominican investigators said five were caused by a heart attack.

Parkland shooting survivor apologizes for racist comments after Harvard rescinds his admission offer
The conservative Parkland shooting survivor and pro-Second Amendment activist who was dropped by Harvard University after past offensive remarks and racial slurs surfaced appeared Monday on “The Story with Martha MacCallum,” where he apologized and asked for forgiveness. “I’m extremely sorry for it and I wish I could take it back but I can’t,” Kyle Kashuv told guest host Ed Henry. “All I can do now is seek to right the wrong.” Kashuv revealed on Twitter that Harvard rescinded his admission after the remarks he made as a 16-year-old came to light. The student, now 18, called comments “offensive,” “idiotic” and “inflammatory” and said he made them before the mass shooting — which transformed him as a person.

TODAY’S MUST-READS
Fox News contributor Lawrence Jones faces racist taunts from protesters at ‘Impeach Trump’ rally.
Paul Manafort not going to Rikers Island, will remain in federal custody after DOJ rejects move, source say.
2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards list of winners | Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s moving speech.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
How Gloria Vanderbilt became a designer jeans pioneer, fashion industry leader.
China’s Huawei gives Fox rare look inside headquarters amid US ban.
Facebook cryptocurrency launch: Why ‘Libra’ could be worth billions.

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MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees
Jun 17, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) and starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) shake hands after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

June 18, 2019

Masahiro Tanaka pitched a two-hitter and was backed by two homers, as the New York Yankees opened a 10-game homestand with a 3-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.

Tanaka (5-5) turned in a third straight strong start against the Rays, allowing only a leadoff single to Austin Meadows in the fourth and a two-out single to Willy Adames in the fifth. In three starts this season against Tampa Bay, Tanaka has allowed one run on 10 hits and one walk in 22 innings, with 23 strikeouts.

Tanaka struck out 10, walked one, threw 76 of 111 pitches for strikes, faced two above the minimum and produced his 14th career double-digit strikeout game.

DJ LeMahieu and Cameron Maybin went deep for the Yankees, who homered for the 20th straight game. It is the second-longest streak in team history, behind only a 25-game streak from June 1-29, 1941.

Red Sox 2, Twins 0

J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts each went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Rick Porcello threw seven shutout innings to outduel Jose Berrios and lead Boston past Minnesota in Minneapolis.

It was a season-high sixth straight victory for Boston, which also moved six games above .500 for the first time this season.

Porcello (5-6) allowed four hits and a walk while striking out eight to pick up his first road victory in four decisions. Ryan Brasier pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his seventh save. Berrios (8-3) gave up one run on five hits with 10 strikeouts over eight innings.

Cardinals 5, Marlins 0

Miles Mikolas pitched six scoreless innings, Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler slugged home runs, and host St. Louis earned a win over Miami.

Mikolas (5-7), a native Floridian who lost to his hometown Marlins last week, was much better this time around, allowing six hits — all singles — and no walks while striking out four. He combined with three relievers on an eight-hit shutout and ended his personal five-decision losing streak.

Carpenter went 3-for-4 with his 10th homer of the season, a double and two runs, helping the Cardinals improve to 6-2 in their past eight games. The Marlins have dropped nine of their past 11 games.

Rangers 7, Indians 2

Danny Santana belted a two-run homer, and Lance Lynn struck out nine and allowed just one run in seven innings as Texas defeated Cleveland in Arlington, Texas.

Elvis Andrus ripped a two-run double, and former Indian Shin-Soo Choo and Jeff Mathis each drove in a run for the Rangers, who scored all seven of their runs with two outs.

Francisco Lindor and rookie Oscar Mercado each belted a solo homer for the Indians, who fell for just the fourth time in 12 games.

Braves 12, Mets 3

Ronald Acuna Jr. continued his torrid offensive pace with three more hits, including a leadoff home run, and Atlanta defeated visiting New York.

Acuna was 3-for-5 with his 17th homer and two RBIs and extended his hitting streak to nine games, matching his season best. Acuna, who was 4-for-5 on Sunday, is hitting .409 (18-for-44) with three homers during the streak. He lifted his batting average to .301.

Brian McCann and Ozzie Albies also had three hits and struck back-to-back homers for the Braves in the eighth inning. Atlanta has won 10 of its past 11 games. The Mets have lost four of their past five.

Reds 3, Astros 2

Luis Castillo overcame errant command of the strike zone, and host Cincinnati held on through some tense moments in the latter innings for a victory over Houston.

Castillo (7-1) walked a career-high six batters, but he allowed only two hits and fanned seven while working six-plus innings. Michael Lorenzen got the last two outs for his third save.

The Reds scored all of their runs in the fifth inning, on a two-RBI single from Nick Senzel and an RBI hit from Eugenio Suarez.

Angels 10, Blue Jays 5

Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani each homered and had three RBIs, Felix Pena pitched six-plus innings in relief, and Los Angeles won at Toronto.

Trout had four hits, including a two-run double. Justin Upton and Kole Calhoun also homered for the Angels. Pena (5-1) allowed four runs, six hits and three walks while striking out five.

Cavan Biggio hit two home runs and had three RBIs for Toronto, and Randal Grichuk added a two-run homer.

Giants 3, Dodgers 2

Rookie Tyler Beede gave up just one run over six innings to earn his first major league victory as San Francisco won at Los Angeles.

Brandon Crawford delivered a two-run double in the second inning to help the Giants even the season series against their longtime rivals after 10 games.

Max Muncy hit a second-inning home run for the Dodgers, his 17th long ball of the season and fifth over his past eight games. Chris Taylor added an RBI fielder’s choice in the eighth inning, but Los Angeles lost for the second time in three games.

A’s 3, Orioles 2

Mike Fiers outdueled Andrew Cashner in a battle of veteran right-handers handcuffed by shaky defenses, and host Oakland held on to beat Baltimore.

Fiers combined with Liam Hendriks and Blake Treinen on a three-hitter, helping the A’s turn back the Orioles for the fourth time in five tries this season.

Oakland’s Matt Olson hit an RBI double in the first inning, but Baltimore replied with two unearned runs in the second thanks to a three-base throwing error by A’s third baseman Matt Chapman. Orioles catcher Chance Cisco committed a third-inning throwing error that allowed two runs to score.

Padres 2, Brewers 0

Joey Lucchesi allowed just three hits and three walks over seven scoreless innings as San Diego shut out visiting Milwaukee.

Lucchesi (6-4) had five strikeouts while throwing a season-high 103 pitches. Two of the six Brewers who reached base against Lucchesi were eliminated on double plays. Padres reliever Craig Stammen allowed the Brewers’ other hit, a single in the eighth, and Kirby Yates pitched a perfect ninth for his 25th save.

Manny Machado, playing while appealing a one-game suspension issued for allegedly bumping an umpire Saturday, hit a third-inning homer. The game’s only other run came on a first-inning wild pitch from Jhoulys Chacin (3-8).

Royals 6, Mariners 4

Jorge Soler hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning as Kansas City rallied to win at Seattle.

Martin Maldonado homered in the ninth inning for the Royals, who won for just the 10th time in 35 road games this season. They were the last team in the majors to reach double digits in victories away from home.

With two outs in the eighth, Alex Gordon grounded a single into left field against Anthony Bass (1-2). Soler then went deep to right-center field, his 19th home run of the season, for a 5-4 lead.

Phillies at Nationals, ppd.

The scheduled game between Philadelphia and host Washington was rained out. It will be made up as part of a split doubleheader on Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An Airbus A320neo aircraft is pictured during a news conference to announce a partnership between Airbus and Bombardier on the C Series aircraft programme, in Colomiers near Toulouse
FILE PHOTO: An Airbus A320neo aircraft is pictured during a news conference to announce a partnership between Airbus and Bombardier on the C Series aircraft programme, in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

June 18, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – Air Lease Corporation said on Tuesday it had signed long-term lease placements for two new Airbus A320neo and two Airbus A321neo LR aircraft with Japan’s Peach Aviation Ltd.

“The A320neo and A321neo LR offer Peach the most technologically advanced, fuel-efficient aircraft that will bring a new level of passenger comfort and convenience to the Japanese market,” said Air Lease Chairman Steven Udvar-Házy.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

Source: OANN

U.S. Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Gallagher leaves court with his wife after the first day of jury selection at the court-martial trial at Naval Base San Diego
U.S. Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher leaves court with his wife Andrea, her name tattooed on his wrist, after the first day of jury selection at this court-martial trial at Naval Base San Diego in San Diego, California , U.S., June 17, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

June 18, 2019

By Marty Graham

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – Opening arguments are set to begin on Tuesday in the trial of a U.S. Navy SEAL court-martialed on charges of murdering a wounded Iraqi prisoner and shooting unarmed civilians, a war crimes case that has drawn the attention of U.S. President Donald Trump.

A jury was selected on Monday in the trial of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, City News Service and the Fox affiliate in San Diego reported.

Gallagher, a 39-year-old career combat veteran, has denied all the charges but could face life in prison if convicted in the trial arising from his 2017 deployment to Mosul, Iraq.

The platoon leader is charged with murdering a wounded, helpless Islamic State fighter in his custody by stabbing him in the neck, and with attempted murder in the wounding of two civilians – a schoolgirl and an elderly man – shot from a sniper’s perch in Iraq.

He maintains that fellow SEAL team members in his platoon, who turned him in and are testifying against him under grants of immunity, are disgruntled subordinates who fabricated allegations to force him from command.

Details of the jury were not immediately available. A Navy spokesman said on Monday between 5 and 15 jurors would be selected from a pool, half of whom are officers and the other half enlisted men.

The proceedings in a military courthouse at U.S. Naval Base San Diego are due to last three weeks.

The prosecution’s case rests crucially on the SEAL team members’ testimony as there are no bodies or crime scenes from the Iraqi war zone. Names and other details about the alleged crimes were not disclosed.

PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT?

The opening of the trial was postponed several times by a lengthy round of proceedings to deal with defense allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.

Gallagher’s lawyers sought dismissal of the charges after learning that Navy prosecutors had electronically tracked email communications of defense lawyers without a warrant, ostensibly to pinpoint the source of material leaked from sealed case files.

The presiding judge, a Navy captain, ultimately removed the lead prosecutor from the case and freed Gallagher from pre-trial confinement.

The judge also granted defense lawyers a potentially valuable edge in jury selection – the right to reject, with no reason given, two more potential jurors than they otherwise could exclude through the use of a peremptory challenge.

Before he was released from custody late last month, Gallagher had been ordered restricted to base at the nearby Naval Medical Center San Diego.

Trump said last month that he is considering pardons for a number of military service members accused of war crimes, and Gallagher’s case was believed to be one of those under review.

The prospect of presidential clemency seemed heightened by last month’s appointment to Gallagher’s defense team of Marc Mukasey, one of Trump’s personal lawyers.

Gallagher’s lead civilian attorney, Timothy Parlatore, has said his client has not sought a pardon.

(Reporting by Marty Graham in San Diego; Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman and Rich McKay; editing by Darren Schuettler)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Syrian Foreign Minister al-Moualem speaks during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in Moscow
FILE PHOTO: Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem speaks during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia August 30, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

June 18, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Tuesday that he does not want to see fighting between the Syrian and Turkish militaries.

Moualem made the comment in China during a joint briefing with the Chinese government’s top diplomat State Councillor Wang Yi.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Writing by Michael Martina; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

Source: OANN

Establishing free and fair trade agreements between the United States and other nations has been a challenging task for President Trump. But in recent weeks, the Trump administration took a critical step forward when it brokered agreements with Mexico and Canada to lift steel tariffs and avoid costly quotas. The deal is a major step forward in the move to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that the President and his team negotiated.

With a narrow window of opportunity, the tariffs, or quotas, on steel were a serious roadblock to finalizing this important trade deal. The tariffs were strongly opposed by many free-trade supporters in Congress and created a standoff with our trading partners. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer referenced this impasse and told lawmakers, “If the USMCA doesn’t pass, it would be a catastrophe across the country.”

One year ago, the Trump administration decided to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum on a number of trading partners, including the European Union, Canada, and Mexico. The international response was unanimous; many in the trade community regarded the tariffs as an unprecedented strike against good faith efforts to reduce trade deficits among historically strong allies. The White House should be commended for trying to recover lost manufacturing jobs and protect national security interests, but extensive tariffs and quotas have proven to be a bridge too far and have resulted in a bitter standoff. They have resulted in retaliatory actions by our trading partners and have raised prices for numerous U.S. industries which use imported steel.

The protectionist route of tariffs and the application of strategic trade, not free trade, matches Trump’s populist “America First” message. There is certainly justification for addressing various concerns about our trading allies and modernizing certain trade deals (such as NAFTA) to look out for America’s interest. However, there is growing recognition that widespread tariffs, especially on steel and aluminum, is causing harm and undermining President Trump’s thriving economy.

American economic interests have been damaged by the past year’s tariff war. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that U.S. businesses and consumers saw an increase in the price of goods to the tune of at least $6.9 billion. A recent study from Trade Partnership Worldwide shows that while steel workers have experienced increased levels of employment, a far greater number of workers in steel-consuming sectors have lost jobs. An estimated 126,900 workers gained jobs because of the tariffs, but an astounding 1,061,400 people lost employment.

It’s also impossible to ignore the effect of tariffs on a variety of industries. The oil and gas industry uses specialty pipeline-grade steel in nearly every aspect of the energy production process. Drilling rigs, pipelines, production facilities, refineries, and petrochemical plants all need highly specialized imported steel. Tariffs ultimately mean higher production expenses which ultimately translates into higher energy costs for consumers. Construction, automobile, machinery, and many other steel-consuming industries also rely on competitively priced sources of steel.

While tariffs increase the cost of production, replacing them with a hard quota, as some in the administration had floated as a compromise, would have made it impossible to obtain at any price some of the specialty steels required for U.S. energy projects. As Kyle Isakower of the American Petroleum Institute pointed out, “to replace tariffs with quotas is to exchange the frying pan for the fire.”

Beyond the economic damage was the political damage of the tariffs. A failure to resolve the steel tariff issue was putting the USMCA deal in serious danger. Opting to save the USMCA, the Trump administration eliminated these barriers, giving the regional partners hope of ratifying what would be the largest trade deal in U.S. history. The White House deserves credit for working to recover lost manufacturing jobs and protect national security interests.

The USMCA is a modern, rebalanced trade agreement with our strongest regional partners, and removing these trade barriers will ultimately advance the interests of American workers and businesses. It’s a good deal for all countries, and for Trump it would represent one of his most significant economic achievements to date.

Gerard Scimeca is vice president of Consumer Action for a Strong Economy, a free-market consumer advocacy organization.


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