Trump facing increasing hostility from Republicans as Mueller hints at impeachment: ‘We need courage’

Trump facing increasing hostility from Republicans as Mueller hints at impeachment: 'We need courage'Figures on the right are increasingly turning against Donald Trump after Robert Mueller, speaking publicly for the first time in two years, appeared to hint at the prospect of impeachment. Mr Mueller, reiterating his 448-page report, said in a much-anticipated statement on Wednesday that he “would have said so” if his investigators “had confidence the president clearly did not commit a crime”, and noted that only congress has the authority to “formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing”.Contradicting attorney general William Barr’s claims, the special counsel added his office did not consider charging Mr Trump only because Justice Department policy prohibits indicting a sitting president. Mr Barr had previously claimed Mr Mueller did not consider the guidance when choosing not to charge the president.The special counsel’s intervention sparked renewed calls by many Democrats for the House leadership to instigate impeachment enquiries, but Mr Mueller’s testimony and report is appearing to have an effect on conservatives too. Justin Amash, who earlier this month became the first Republican in congress to call for Mr Trump’s impeachment, on Wednesday doubled down despite anger at him among Mr Trump’s base.“The ball is in our court, Congress,” Mr Amash tweeted after Mr Mueller’s statement. Republicans for the Rule of Law, a conservative group dedicated to “defending the institutions of our republic”, told Newsweek they would advertise next week on the president’s favourite TV news show, Fox & Friends, to urge members of congress to hold Mr Trump accountable. “Everybody — Republicans and Democrats but especially Republicans — need to step up and say, ‘Look, this is bigger than the politics of the day, this is about our democratic institutions’. If we don’t defend them, that will have an impact on our country for decades to come,” a spokesperson told the magazine. Mr Trump’s former transition chief, Chris Christie, said Mr Mueller’s comments “definitely contradicts” Mr Barr’s summary of the special counsel’s report. “In the end, on a sitting president, this is the call of the Congress playing their role as a coequal branch of government and they’re now going to have to decide what it is they want to do,” he added. On Fox News, usually a bastion of support for the president, host Bret Baier said Mr Mueller had contradicted Mr Trump and Mr Barr’s interpretation of the report. “This was not, as the president says time and time again, ‘no collusion, no obstruction.’ It was much more nuanced than that,” said Mr Baier, who was last month criticised by the president for interviewing Bernie Sanders. Former Republican congressman Tom Coleman, who has been vocal in his support for impeachment, said whether the president is convicted will be decided by GOP-members in the Senate. “I think we need to see some profiles and courage,” he said.Despite Mr Mueller’s contradiction of Mr Barr and the president’s claims of exoneration, the vast majority of Republicans in congress either remained silent on the issue or echoed the White House line that the “case is closed”. “Today’s statement by Mr Mueller reinforces the findings of his report,” Lindsey Graham, an influential Republican senator said after Mr Mueller’s statement. “And as for me, the case is over. Mr Mueller has decided to move on and let the report speak for itself. Congress should follow his lead.”

Qatar PM to attend Gulf summit in Saudi Arabia: govt

Qatar PM to attend Gulf summit in Saudi Arabia: govtQatar’s prime minister will attend talks in Saudi Arabia over soaring regional tensions, the foreign ministry said Wednesday, one of the first high-level contacts following a two-year Riyadh-led boycott of Doha. Since June 2017, Saudi Arabia along with the United Arab Emirates and their allies have enforced a boycott of Qatar including bans on shipping, trade, direct flights, overflight and land crossings. The alliance, which also includes Bahrain and Egypt, accuses Doha of supporting Islamist movements and backing Iran — claims Qatar rejects.

Iran Showdown Forces Sign of Breakthrough in Gulf Arab Spat

Iran Showdown Forces Sign of Breakthrough in Gulf Arab SpatQatar said that Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Thani will attend regional summits in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, in the highest-level visit since the kingdom and its allies imposed an embargo on their neighbor in 2017. The visit, the first concrete step toward ending a rift that severed diplomatic and trade ties, comes amid fears the region may be sliding into conflict as the U.S. raises economic and military pressure on Iran. Saudi Arabia called for three meetings — one for Gulf leaders, another for Arab states and a third for all Muslim nations — after attacks on its oil facilities and several ships near the Persian Gulf.