Monthly Archive: September 2019

Trump Says He Canceled Secret Afghan Peace Talks 

John Walker of VOA’s Afghanistan service contributed to this report. WHITE HOUSE — U.S. President Donald Trump says he has called off secret talks that were to be held Sunday at Camp David with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and “major Taliban leaders.” Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday. They were coming to the United States tonight. Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) FILE – Members of the Taliban delegation are seen at the Sheraton Doha, before the start of the intra-Afghan dialogue, in Doha, Qatar, July 7, 2019.Trump’s tweet was completely unexpected in light of negotiations that had been continuing in Doha only hours earlier between U.S. officials and the Taliban — talks that the militant group characterized as very positive, according to David Sedney, executive chairman and acting president of the American University of Afghanistan.“There’s a big, big disconnect” among U.S. officials, Sedney told VOA.“The people I talk to see the Taliban’s recent wave of attacks as a clear signal from the Taliban that the Taliban seek military victory and in that context many Afghans see a U.S. withdrawal agreement as enabling military victory because if this was a step towards peace, then the Taliban would agree to an immediate ceasefire,” he added.And Sedney expresses skepticism that the Taliban would have gone to Camp David unless they were essentially accepting an American surrender. “I hope the Taliban have an immediate cease-fire — that’s what the people of Afghanistan want and deserve … but I don’t think it’s likely.”NATO-led Resolute Support forces inspect the site of a car bomb in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 5, 2019.A peace deal, which would be expected to see the withdrawal of 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, could end the longest war in U.S. history.It is estimated 150,000 people — including 40,000 civilians — have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, when a U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban from power in Kabul for providing refuge to al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden, who were responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.Fighters for the Taliban launched fresh attacks on Kabul and two other cities over the past week. The group now controls more territory in Afghanistan than at any other time since 2001.U.S. officials contacted by VOA following the president’s tweet declined to comment.U.S. special representative for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, left, meets with Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 2, 2019.The American diplomat leading the effort to reach an accord, Zalmay Khalilzad, said Aug. 31, “We are at the threshold of an agreement that will reduce violence and open the door for Afghans to sit together to negotiate an honorable and sustainable peace, and a unified, sovereign Afghanistan that does not threaten the United States, its allies or any other country.”A draft agreement between the American and Taliban negotiators was reached days ago, but a full peace pact hinges on subsequent intra-Afghan talks.It was known before Trump’s tweets that Ghani had scheduled and abruptly postponed a trip Saturday to the United States.Analysts in Kabul had told VOA that it was a signal that the government there was not happy with the U.S.-Taliban peace deal and that there were differences in finding common ground on the process between Kabul and Washington.

AP: Women Facing Restrictions Seek Abortions Out of State

At a routine ultrasound when she was five months pregnant, Hevan Lunsford began to panic when the technician took longer than normal, then told her she would need to see a specialist.Lunsford, a nurse in Alabama, knew it was serious and begged for an appointment the next day.That’s when the doctor gave her and her husband the heart-wrenching news: The baby boy they decided to name Sebastian was severely underdeveloped and had only half a heart. If he survived, he would need care to ease his pain and several surgeries. He may not live long.Lunsford, devastated, asked the doctor about ending the pregnancy.I felt the only way to guarantee that he would not have any suffering was to go through with the abortion,'' she said of that painful decision nearly three years ago.FILE - Bianca Cameron-Schwiesow, from left, Kari Crowe and Margeaux Hartline, dressed as handmaids, take part in a protest against HB314, the abortion ban bill, at the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Ala., April 17, 2019.But the doctor said Alabama law prohibits abortions after five months. He handed Lunsford a piece of paper with information for a clinic in Atlanta, a roughly 180-mile (290-kilometer) drive east.Lunsford is one of thousands of women in the U.S. who have crossed state lines for an abortion in recent years as states have passed ever stricter laws and as the number of clinics has declined.Although abortion opponents say the laws are intended to reduce abortions and not send people to other states, at least 276,000 women terminated their pregnancies outside their home states between 2012 and 2017, according to an Associated Press analysis of data collected from state reports and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.In New Mexico, the number of women from out of state who had abortions more than doubled in that period, while Missouri women represented nearly half the abortions performed in neighboring Kansas.The procedure itself was probably the least traumatic part of it,” Lunsford said. If it would have been at my hospital, there would have been a feeling like what I was doing was OK and a reasonable choice.''While abortions across the U.S. are down, the share of women who had abortions out of state rose slightly, by half a percentage point, and certain states had notable increases over the five-year period, according to AP's analysis. FILE - Abortion rights supporters protest at the Louisiana Capitol, where lawmakers were considering a bill that would ban abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy, May 21, 2019, in Baton Rouge, La. The bill won final passage May 29.In pockets of the Midwest, South and Mountain West, the number of women terminating a pregnancy in another state rose considerably, particularly where a lack of clinics means the closest provider is in another state or where less restrictive policies in a neighboring state make it easier and quicker to terminate a pregnancy there.In many places, the right to abortion exists on paper, but the ability to access it is almost impossible,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Women’s Health, which operates seven abortion clinics in Maryland, Indiana, Texas, Virginia and Minnesota. We see people's access to care depend on their ZIP code.''The numbers Nationwide, women who traveled from other states received at least 44,860 abortions in 2017, the most recent year for which data are available, according to the AP analysis of data from 41 states.That's about 10% of all reported procedures that year, but counts from nine states, including highly populated California and Florida, and the District Columbia were not included, either because they were not collected or reported across the full five years.Thirteen states saw a rise in the number of out-of-state women having abortions between 2012 and 2017.New Mexico's share of abortions performed on women from out of state more than doubled, from 11% to roughly 25%. One likely reason is that a clinic in Albuquerque is one of only a few independent facilities in the country that perform abortions close to the third trimester without conditions.Georgia's share of abortions performed on out-of-state women rose from 11.5% to 15%. While Georgia has passed restrictive laws, experts and advocates still view it as more accessible than some neighboring states.In Illinois, the percentage of abortions performed on non-residents more than doubled to 16.5% of all reported state abortions in 2017. That is being driven in large part by women from Missouri, one of six states with only a single abortion provider.Even that provider, in St. Louis, has been under threat of closing after the state health department refused to renew its license.FILE - Abortion rights and anti-abortion rights protesters stand outside Planned Parenthood as a deadline looms to renew the license of Missouri's sole remaining Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis, May 31, 2019.Missouri lawmakers also passed a law this year that would ban almost all abortions past eight weeks of a pregnancy, but it faces a legal challenge.About 10 miles (16 kilometers) from St. Louis, across the Mississippi River, is the Hope Clinic in Granite City, Illinois, which has seen a 30% increase in patients this year and has added two doctors, deputy director Alison Dreith said.About 55 percent of its patients come from Missouri, and it also sees women from Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. All those states have mandatory waiting periods to receive an abortion, a requirement Illinois does not have.Dreith called it a scary time for women in states with highly restrictive laws and few clinics.The landscape that we’re seeing today did not happen overnight, and it was not by accident,” she said.And Illinois isn’t the only place Missouri women are heading for abortions.In 2017, Missouri women received 47% of all abortions performed in Kansas. That is in large part because the only access to the procedure throughout western Missouri, particularly the greater Kansas City area, is across the state line in Overland Park, Kansas.FILE – The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court gather for a formal portrait Nov. 30, 2018. Alabama’s virtual ban on abortion is the latest state law seemingly designed to prod the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade.Legislative action Between 2011 and May 31 of this year, 33 states passed 480 laws restricting abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights.In 2019 alone, lawmakers approved 58 restrictions, primarily in the Midwest, Plains and South — almost half of which would ban all, most or some abortions, the group said.The most high-profile laws, which face legal challenges that could eventually test the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, would ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected — as early as six weeks.Advocates say that if the Supreme Court upholds the latest restrictions, it will become more common for women to seek abortions in other states.The intent of these lawmakers is to completely outlaw abortion and force people not to have abortions. But in reality, it pushes people farther and wider to access the care they want and need,'' said Quita Tinsley, deputy director of Access Reproductive Care Southeast.ARC Southeast is part of the National Network of Abortion Funds, a collective of 70 abortion support groups for women in six Southeast states. Some provide money to women to pay for abortions, while others also help with transportation, lodging and child care.A third of women calling the group's hotline for help end up traveling out of state for abortions, Tinsley said. Many choose Georgia because it's convenient to get to and considered slightly less restrictive than some other states in the South.In Georgia, which has a mandatory waiting period, a woman is not required to come to a clinic twice, as they are in Tennessee. But if Georgia's new fetal heartbeat law survives a court challenge, it would have one of the earliest state-imposed abortion bans.That would force many women to go even farther from where they live to terminate their pregnancies.Increase in New Mexico Of all states, New Mexico has seen the biggest increase in the number of women coming from elsewhere for an abortion — a 158% jump between 2012 and 2017, according to AP's analysis.The New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice helps an average of 100 women a year but is on track to assist 200 this year. Some of its 55 volunteers open their homes to women coming from out of state.Executive director Joan Lamunyon Sanford said her group is doing what faith communities have always done:Care for the stranger and welcome the traveler.”Lamunyon Sanford said the need is growing as barriers increase and women are unable to access care where they live.They have to figure out so many details and figuring out how they are going to get the funding for everything,'' she said.Sometimes it’s just too much. And then they become parents.”The coalition helped Beth Vial, who didn’t learn she was pregnant until she was six months along after chronic medical conditions masked her symptoms.As a 22-year-old college student living in Portland, Oregon, Vial was beyond the point when nearly every abortion clinic in the country would perform the procedure.Vial’s only option for an abortion was New Mexico, where a volunteer with the New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice drove her to and from the clinic in Albuquerque and brought her meals.The support she received inspired her to join the board of Northwest Access Abortion Fund, which helps women in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.To have people I didn't even know support me in ways that I didn't even really know I needed at the time was unlike anything I have ever experienced,'' said Vial, now 24.It has encouraged me to give back to my community so other people don’t have to experience that alone.”FILE – People rally in support of abortion rights at the state Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., May 21, 2019.Hoping for cultural shift Abortion opponents say the intent of laws limiting the procedure is not to push women to another state but to build more time for them to consider their options and reduce the overall number of abortions.I have been insistent in telling my pro-life colleagues that's all well and good if the last abortion clinic shuts down, but it's no victory if women end up driving 10 minutes across the river to Granite City, Illinois, or to Fairview Heights,'' said Sam Lee, director of Campaign Life Missouri and a longtime anti-abortion lobbyist.Anti-abortion activists also hope a broader cultural shift eventually makes these issues disappear.We are seeing this trend toward life and a realization of what science tells us about when life begins,” said Cole Muzio, executive director of the Family Policy Alliance of Georgia, who advocated successfully for new abortion limits there. Just because something is legal does not mean that it is good.''Before the recent wave of legislation focused on limiting when an abortion can be performed, opponents largely worked to regulate clinics. Critics say those regulations contributed to more clinics closing in recent years, reducing access to abortion in parts of the country and pushing women farther for care.Texas lost more than half its clinics after lawmakers in 2013 required them to have facilities equal to a surgical center and mandated that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.Even though the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the law in 2016, most clinics have not reopened.Candice Russell was among those who felt the impact. When she sought an abortion in Dallas in 2014, she was told she would have to wait more than two weeks because of an influx of patients from other parts of Texas where clinics had closed.She feared she would not be able to miss work for back-to-back appointments, required under Texas' mandatory waiting period, so she told the bar where she worked that a relative had died and took out a payday loan to buy an airplane ticket to California. She had the procedure the next day.Even though I had to take on that horrendous loan and entered a debt spiral that lasted until about two years ago, I am really, really lucky,” said Russell, now 36 and working as deputy director of the Yellowhammer Fund, which helps women in Alabama seeking abortions. There are a lot of people who just can't do that. They can't get on a plane and fly 1,500 miles for an abortion.''Nationwide, 168 independent abortion clinics have closed since 2012, and just a handful opened over that time, according to the Abortion Care Network, a clinic advocacy group.Some resulted from providers retiring and an overall decline in unplanned pregnancies, but advocates say many shut down because of restrictive laws.It’s not about safety of patients,” said Nikki Madsen, executive director of the Abortion Care Network. It's about closing clinics.''For Lunsford, it took two years before she could begin managing the grief of losing her son, compounded by the hurdles she faced to carry out that painful decision — the drive to Atlanta, staying in a hotel and going to a clinic with doctors she didn't know.Lunsford, now 31, said she thinks about how she couldn't hold her baby, an intimate goodbye that might have been possible if she had the abortion at a hospital. Before she left Atlanta, she asked the clinic's staff to use the inkpad and paper she brought so she could keep her son's footprints and handprints.Most of the laws I navigated, there was no reason for them,” she said. “None of them prevented my abortion. It just made it where I had to travel out of state.”

Trump Says He Canceled Peace Talks With Taliban Over Kabul Attack

President Donald Trump is saying he has called off a secret Camp David meeting with Taliban and Afghanistan leaders.Trump tweeted Saturday that a meeting slated for the following day was canceled because of a Taliban attack in Kabul on Thursday that killed 11 people, including a U.S. soldier.Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday. They were coming to the United States tonight. Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2019The president tweeted that he “called off peace negotiations” and demanded to know who “would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position” in the negotiations.He added that if the Taliban could not hold to a cease-fire during the negotiations, “they probably don’t have the power” to negotiate a peace deal.The attack came as the U.S. and the Taliban had hoped to be close to finalizing a peace deal.This story is breaking; please check back for more details.

SC, Kansas GOP Scrap 2020 Presidential Preference Votes

Republican leaders in South Carolina and Kansas have voted to scrap their presidential nominating contests in 2020, while party officials Nevada were deciding whether to follow suit as the GOP erects more hurdles for the long shots challenging President Donald Trump.”What is Donald Trump afraid of?” asked one of those rivals, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.Canceling primaries, caucuses and other voting is not an unusual move for the party of the White House incumbent seeking a second term, and allows Trump to try to consolidate his support as Democrats work to winnow down their large field of candidates.A spokesman for the South Carolina Republican Party, Joe Jackson, confirmed that the party voted Saturday against holding a presidential primary next year. The Kansas GOP tweeted on Friday that it will not organize a caucus “because President Trump is an elected incumbent from the Republican Party.”Its state committee planned to approve rules Saturday for an “internal party process” for selecting convention delegates, according to Kelly Arnold, the party’s former state chairman, and Helen Van Etten, a member of the Republican National Committee from Topeka.Officials in Nevada scheduled meetings later Saturday to determine the fate of their contests. A decision in Arizona is expected later in the month.Challengers have emerged to Trump, including Weld and Joe Walsh , a former Illinois congressman. Others may join them.Weld, in a statement, said voting is “the ultimate right of speech in America, and Trump’s machine in South Carolina has just told the people of South Carolina that they don’t need to be heard. Donald Trump wants to be treated as a monarch, but we rejected that idea 200 years ago.”Walsh told CNN after the South Carolina vote that his campaign would “fight South Carolina and any other state that considers doing this.” He also noted that Trump complained during the 2016 election “about how the Democrats were rigging the system to get Hillary (Clinton) elected. Well, look what he’s doing now. You talk about rigging a system.”Primary challenges to incumbents are rarely successful, and Trump’s poll numbers among Republican voters have proved resilient. Nonetheless, Trump aides are looking to prevent a repeat of the convention discord that highlighted the electoral weaknesses of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter in their failed reelection campaigns.Since last year, Trump’s campaign has worked to monitor and at times control the process by which delegates to next year’s Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, are selected. His campaign wants the convention to be a four-night “infomercial” for Trump by sidelining the president’s detractors within the party.The effort is an acknowledgment that Trump hasn’t completely cemented his grip on the GOP and might not coast to the nomination without some opposition. To that end, the campaign has worked over the past year to scuttle any attempts at a Trump challenge by party dissidents, mindful that a serious primary opponent could weaken Trump heading into the general election.In January, the Republican National Committee voted to express its “undivided support” for Trump and his “effective presidency.”In years past, both Republicans and Democrats have cut state nominating contests when an incumbent president from their party ran for a second term. In 1984, South Carolina GOP leaders opted to call off their primary as President Ronald Reagan sought a second term. In 2004, the GOP again canceled the state’s primary with leaders deciding instead to endorse President George W. Bush’s reelection bid.The South Carolina Democratic Party didn’t hold presidential primaries in 1996 or in 2012, when Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were their incumbents.The Nevada Republican Party was expected to hold a vote on possibly changing its rules to allow a bypass of its presidential nominating caucuses in 2020 and endorse Trump outright. The move would allow the state’s central committee members to hold a vote and commit the state’s GOP delegates to the president, shielding him from a primary challenge.

US House Panel to Vote on Parameters for Trump Impeachment Probe

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee is planning to vote to determine the parameters for conducting an impeachment probe of President Donald Trump.Politico first reported the development, saying its report was based on “multiple sources briefed on the discussions.”The committee is expected to vote on the details next week.A draft of the resolution is expected to be released Monday morning, according to Politico.The article said Democrats are “hopeful that explicitly defining their impeachment inquiry will heighten their leverage to compel testimony from witnesses.”It is doubtful, however, that the probe will lead to any charges against the president.Articles of impeachment would have to be voted on by the full House and it is doubtful that the Republican Senate would vote to remove the president from office.  Various legislative committees are looking into a number of matters concerning the president, including his failure to release his tax returns, his payment of hush money to stop embarrassing stories becoming public, and the spending of taxpayer money at the president’s hotels and properties. 

Бойовики здійснили 11 обстрілів минулої доби на Донбасі – штаб ООС

Підтримувані Росією бойовики здійснили 11 обстрілів позицій Збройних сил України на Донбасі протягом минулої доби, повідомляє вранці 7 вересня штаб операції Об’єднаних сил.

Українські військові в цих обстрілах не постраждали, додали у штабі.

«Противник обстрілював позиції підрозділів об’єднаних сил із заборонених Мінськими угодами калібрів озброєння. Крім того, застосував гранатомети різних систем, великокаліберні кулемети та стрілецьку зброю»,– йдеться в повідомленні.

З початком нової доби, 7 вересня, обстріли відновилися: бойовики двічі обстріляли позиції українських сил.


Угруповання «ДНР» і «ЛНР» звинуватили українську сторону в обстрілах своїх позицій. Зокрема, «ДНР» заявляє про загибель свого бойовика. В угрупованні «ЛНР» про загиблих не повідомляють.

Обстріли в зоні конфлікту на Донбасі тривають, попри оголошене там від 21 липня перемир’я. Сторони звинувачують одна одну в порушеннях режиму тиші.


Збройний конфлікт на Донбасі триває від 2014 року після російської окупації Криму. Україна і Захід звинувачують Росію у збройній підтримці бойовиків. Кремль відкидає ці звинувачення і заявляє, що на Донбасі можуть перебувати хіба що російські «добровольці».

За оцінками ООН, станом на 31 грудня 2018 року, унаслідок збройного конфлікту на Донбасі загинули від 12 тисяч 800 до 13 тисяч людей.

Trump Administration Officials Discuss Slashing Refugee Cap

Trump administration officials will meet next week to discuss whether to further restrict the number of refugees accepted into the U.S., according to a senior administration official.Some administration officials believe that the cap should be smaller because of the number of asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border and other protections afforded to migrants who live in war-torn countries or those devastated by natural disasters. Some have argued for the number to be 15,000 or fewer, according to two other administration officials. The officials were not allowed to speak publicly and spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.Nothing has been decided. Senior leaders will meet in the Situation Room Tuesday to discuss the cap, which is set by the president and must be decided before the fiscal year begins Oct. 1. The New York Times first reported the meeting.Cap currently 30,000Right now, the cap is set at 30,000, and 28,501 refugees were accepted between Oct. 1, 2018, and Sept. 6. Last budget year the cap was 45,000 and 22,491 were admitted. That’s one-quarter of the number allowed to enter two years ago and the lowest since Congress passed a law in 1980 creating the modern resettlement system.Behind the reductions were more stringent security protocols for citizens of 11 countries designated by the administration as presenting the greatest potential threat.The State Department acknowledged that the screening and vetting procedures have resulted in fewer refugee admissions in 2018.Rigorous screening processThe tighter screening of refugees reflects one of Trump’s signature issues. He imposed a travel ban on people from seven majority Muslim countries as one of his first actions upon taking office in January 2017.The Department of Homeland Security has since made it harder to enter the U.S. entirely, with more rigorous interviews and background checks. Administration officials say refugee applicants are now subject to the strictest, most comprehensive background check process for any group seeking to come to the U.S.Officials collect more data on refugee applicants and conduct higher-level security vetting. Officers have been given training on how to determine credibility. Fraud detection and national security officers now come overseas with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services teams who are processing refugees.Administration officials have said the U.S. remains at the forefront of helping those fleeing persecution, and they note that from the 2008 budget year to 2017, the U.S. gave lawful permanent resident status to 1.7 million people for humanitarian reasons.

Російський урядовий літак прибуває з Москви до Києва

Російський урядовий літак «Ту-204-300» під номером RSD092 прибуває з Москви до Києва, свідчать дані на сайті Flightradar. Цим літаком користується російський спеціальний льотний загін «Росія» – підприємство, яке перевозить російських посадовців.

Літак вилетів із російського аеропорту «Внуково» о 9:20. Станом на 10:30 він сідає в аеропорту «Бориспіль».

Пряме авіасполучення між Україною та Росією заборонене з 2015 року. Російський урядовий літак прилетів на тлі повідомлень про обмін утримуваними особами між Києвом та Москвою.


House Democrats Probe Use of Taxpayer Money at Trump Hotels

House Democrats are demanding information on the use of taxpayer money at President Donald Trump’s hotels and properties, including during Vice President Pence’s trip this week to Doonbeg, Ireland. The push is part of an expanded effort this fall to investigate the president’s financial entanglements and business practices.The House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees announced Friday that they sent a series of letters regarding “multiple efforts” by the president, vice president, and other Trump administration officials to spend taxpayer money at properties owned by Trump. They say the spending could violate the Constitution and bolster the case for Trump’s impeachment.House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a statement that the spending is “of grave concern” to his committee, which is investigating whether to recommend articles of impeachment to the full House. House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said that his panel “does not believe that U.S. taxpayer funds should be used to personally enrich President Trump, his family, and his companies.”FILE – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, prepares for a television interview at the Capitol in Washington, July 26, 2019.The letters come after Pence stayed at Trump’s resort in Doonbeg , Ireland, this week. Doonbeg is on the other side of Ireland from Dublin, where he had meetings. The Democrats also sent letters to the White House and Secret Service about Trump’s suggestion earlier this month that his Miami-area golf course host next year’s Group of Seven summit with foreign leaders. The Democrats say those instances, among others, could violate the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which bans the president from taking gifts from foreign governments.The push comes as Democrats are trying to keep public attention on their investigations of Trump. They have spent much of the year probing episodes detailed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which did not exonerate the president on obstruction of justice. But lawmakers say they think the American public may have even more interest in Trump profiting off of his presidency as they weigh whether to move forward on impeachment.“We have been focused on the Mueller report and that is a very small part of the overall picture,” said Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the Judiciary panel. “We must get America focused on the ongoing violations against basic Constitutional principles.”In addition to looking at Trump’s use of his properties, two House committees are continuing to investigate his relationship with banks with which he did business. And the Judiciary panel is also expected to investigate hush money payments that Trump paid to kill potentially embarrassing stories.Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, another Democrat on the Judiciary panel, says he believes that the misuse of public funds or financial corruption make Americans especially angry. And while people have heard a lot about the Mueller report, he says they may know less about the emoluments clause.“I think you’ll see a lot more of that in the coming months,” Cicilline said. 

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