Russia

Matias Delacroix / AP

COMMENTARY

We’re now familiar with websites from Johns Hopkins and Worldometer that grimly tally each country’s coronavirus cases and deaths. But unless you’re a hemispheric policy dweeb, you probably haven’t checked out a web page the Wilson Center has launched that tracks COVID-19 aid from the U.S. and China to Latin America, the new pandemic epicenter.

You should – because it’s another indicator that China’s crusade to spread its influence in the Americas isn’t slowing down.

The presiding judge in Michael Flynn's criminal case has appointed a retired judge to present arguments in opposition to the Justice Department's move to dismiss its prosecution of the former national security adviser.

Judge Emmet Sullivan has asked John Gleeson, a retired judge in the Eastern District of New York, to act as a friend of the court and look into whether Flynn should face a contempt hearing for perjury.

Updated at 3:11 p.m. ET

President Trump's nominee to serve as America's top spy vowed on Tuesday to operate independently in response to bipartisan questions as to whether he could keep politics out of intelligence work.

Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas., assured both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that if confirmed as director of national intelligence, he would not apply a partisan filter to reporting, shade conclusions to please Trump, or apply inappropriate tests to workers in the intelligence community.

Fernando Llano / AP

It’s no secret Venezuela’s once robust oil industry is wrecked, which is why its economy is wrecked too. Even Venezuela’s authoritarian socialist president is now admitting it.

Trump Sanctions Russia’s Largest Oil Company For Helping Maduro In Venezuela

Feb 18, 2020
VENEZUELA MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced significant new sanctions on Tuesday targeting Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company, for helping Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro circumvent U.S. sanctions.

The new U.S. sanctions will affect “anyone engaging in activity” with Rosneft Trading S.A., senior administration officials said, characterizing the company as the “primary culprit” of a campaign to evade Washington’s pressure campaign on the Maduro regime.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

The Venezuela crisis is feeling a lot like the Cold War today. As Russia’s foreign minister arrived in Caracas Thursday night, the U.S. warned Moscow its aid to Venezuela will now have “costs.” WLRN spoke with the U.S.’s top diplomat on Venezuela to learn what that means.

Gaston de Cardenas / AP via Miami Herald

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó rallied Venezuelan expats on Saturday at the Miami Airport Convention Center, an event that marked the end of a two-week world tour that included Europe and Canada. The aim was to rekindle international support for his campaign to oust authoritarian Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, which started a year ago.

WLRN’s Tim Padgett was with Guaidó on Saturday. Padgett spoke with WLRN’s Luis Hernandez about whether Guaidó’s movement still has a future – and why he didn't get to meet President Trump.

The offices of Russia's most prominent opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, have been raided by security forces in Moscow.

Video of the Thursday raid posted online shows a shower of fiery sparks as the door to Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation office is forced open with power tools.

As NPR reported, once inside officers in face masks ordered the staff to stand against a wall while they confiscated office and broadcasting equipment.

Updated at 12:03 p.m. ET Thursday

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she plans to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate once she has more information about the contours of a Senate trial.

"We would like to see a fair process and we will be ready for whatever it is," Pelosi said Thursday, making it clear it was a matter of time.

Updated at 8:56 p.m. ET

President Trump is now just the third president in American history to be impeached.

Lawmakers passed two articles of impeachment against Trump. The first article, which charges Trump with abuse of power, was approved largely along a party-line vote, 230-197-1. The second article, on obstructing Congress, passed 229-198-1.

Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

The secret court that oversees intelligence collection upbraided the FBI and Justice Department on Tuesday with a highly unusual order for them to re-validate their work.

In a bipartisan vote, Senate lawmakers on Tuesday approved a $738 billion Pentagon budget, which includes an authorization for punishing new sanctions on Syria, Iran and Russia for alleged war crimes in Syria.

The 86-6 vote in the GOP-dominated Senate followed a similar bipartisan vote in the Democratic-controlled House last week. President Trump was expected to quickly sign the measure.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

The Justice Department's inspector general, Michael Horowitz, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday about his report on the origins of the FBI's probe into the 2016 Trump campaign's possible ties with Russia.

The 400-plus page report, released Monday, found that the FBI had ample evidence to open its investigation — despite allegations of political bias.

Updated at 10:50 p.m. ET

House Democrats began work on completing their articles of impeachment against President Trump Wednesday evening, setting the stage for a vote by the full House.

The Judiciary Committee convened to amend the impeachment legislation introduced Tuesday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., with its chairman, Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., calling the facts against Trump "overwhelming" and that Congress must act now to protect the integrity of U.S. election and its national security.

When Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last visited the White House, President Trump had just fired his then-FBI director, James Comey. At the time, Trump bragged it would remove pressure related to an investigation into whether his campaign had ties to Moscow. But instead, it had the opposite effect, fanning the political flames over his Russia policy.

Two-and-a-half years later, Lavrov is set to return on Tuesday, and Trump's Russia policy is still very much in the spotlight.

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