Germany's finance minister warned that a "German Trump" may seize power as he claimed pension reform is the key to preventing the rise of populism in Europe. “Stable pensions prevent a German Trump. That's why politicians should not shirk this topic,” Olaf Scholz, who is also vice-chancellor, said yesterday. Mr Scholz has been pushing for government reforms similar to the UK’s triple lock to ensure pension levels remain stable despite inflation. The vice-chancellor has something of a reputation for dullness in Germany, but he insisted the issue has implications that go far beyond his brief as finance minister. “The way I see it is this: globalisation and digitalisation create wealth, but they are also changing our world at a fast pace,” Mr Scholz told Bild am Sonntag newspaper in an interview. “Citizens rightly expect us to do everything we can to make sure they live securely. If we do not do that, then the hour of nationalist populism will have struck.” Profile | Angela Merkel Mr Scholz has brought pensions centre stage in his quest to carve out new territory for his centre-Left Social Democrat party (SPD), which is junior partner in Angela Merkel’s coalition government. Mrs Merkel has agreed to secure pension levels until 2025, but Mr Scholz wants them guaranteed until 2040 and has threatened to make them a major issue in 2021’s election. After recording its worst ever results in last year’s election, the SPD leadership is desperate for an issue that will allow the party to differentiate itself from Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU). The SPD has continued to sink lower in the opinion polls, and at times has slipped behind the nationalist Alternative for Germany party (AfD). A new poll showed that the conservatives had lost one percentage point to poll at 30 percent, while the SPD was steady at 17 percent. That means that if Germany voted again tomorrow, the grand coalition would not have enough support to govern. The poll, conducted by the Emnid institute, showed the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party gaining one point to 15 percent, and the pro-business Free Democrats adding one point to poll at 9 percent. But Mr Scholz insisted the SPD leadership was not panicking. “We are in this for the long haul and have to keep cool,” he said. “If we show a clear attitude and do the right thing over the long term, the people will feel comfortable with the idea of an SPD chancellor in 2021.” The finance minister has also pledged to push for EU reforms to reduce the amount of child benefits Germany has to pay to children living in other member states. Under EU current rules member states have to pay child benefits to anyone who is legally resident, even if their children live in another country. Germany currently pays benefits for more than 260,000 children in other EU countries. Mr Scholz wants the rules changed so the level of benefits is linked to the cost of living where the children are resident.
US President Donald Trump on Sunday angrily denounced the federal probe of Russia's 2016 election meddling as "McCarthyism at its WORST!," insisting he had authorized his White House counsel to testify to bring the matter to a close. Trump's Twitter storm was set off by a front-page report in the New York Times that said White House counsel Don McGahn had provided Special Counsel Robert Mueller with an unusually detailed account of Trump's thinking during key episodes under investigation.
U.S. President Donald Trump declared Sunday he had "nothing to hide" from the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, and denied that his top lawyer had turned on him by cooperating with the probe. Trump, in a series of tweets, denounced the New York Times for a Saturday story saying White House Counsel Don McGahn has cooperated extensively with the special counsel, Robert Mueller. The Times said McGahn had shared detailed accounts about the episodes at the heart of the inquiry into whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice.
BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) — President Donald Trump is insisting that White House lawyer Don McGahn isn't "a John Dean type 'RAT.'"
Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating links between Donald Trump's campaign and Russia, has detailed how the FBI missed a chance to question a London-based professor caught up in the inquiry. Prosecutors working for Mr Mueller filed court documents recommending a jail sentence for George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser. Mr Papadopoulos has admitted lying to the FBI about his contacts with Professor Joseph Mifsud. The professor is alleged to have told Mr Papdopoulos that the Russians possessed "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of emails, before those emails became public. Prof Mifsud, who is Maltese, has denied doing so. The Mueller court documents said Mr Papadopoulos caused irreparable damage to the Russia investigation because he lied repeatedly to agents during a January 2017 interview. Those lies, prosecutors said, resulted in the FBI missing an opportunity to properly question Prof Mifsud. Joseph Mifsud denies telling a former Trump aide he had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton It was suggested in the documents that the FBI had contact with Prof Mifsud while he was in the US during the early part of the investigation. FBI agents"located" him in Washington about two weeks after Mr Papadopoulos' January 2017 interview. But Mr Papadopoulos' lies "substantially hindered investigators' ability to effectively question" the professor. The court filing said: "The defendant's lies undermined investigators' ability to challenge the professor or potentially detain or arrest him while he was still in the United States." It noted that the professor left the US in February 2017 and has not returned since. Russia investigation timeline: Every step in Robert Mueller's probe of Trump campaign alleged collusion The documents said: "Had the defendant told the FBI the truth when he was interviewed in January 2017, the FBI could have quickly taken numerous investigative steps to help determine, for example, how and where the professor obtained the information, why the professor provided the information to the defendant, and what the defendant did with the information after receiving it." Prof Mifsud was previously honorary director of the London Academy of Diplomacy, which is affiliated to the University of Stirling in Scotland. It was not clear if he still holds that role. In October he told The Telegraph he had known nothing about emails containing "dirt" on Mrs Clinton, and that he had a "clear conscience". The professor said he was “upset" by the claims because they were "incredible".
Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman has claimed Donald Trump would find a way to deport his wife from America if she were to leave him. In her new tell-all memoir of her time in the White House, Ms Manigault Newman claimed Mr Trump would find a way to invalidate Melania Trump’s citizenship if she were to cause him "the ultimate humiliation". According to The Mercury News, she argues the US president would find a way to deport Ms Trump to her native country of Slovenia if she chose to leave him during his presidency.
John Bolton said on Twitter he was "looking forward to meeting with PM Netanyahu and other officials beginning today to discuss bilateral concerns and a range of national security issues". Bolton's trip will also take him to Ukraine and Geneva, where he will meet with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev.
The then CIA director, John Brennan, testifies before the Senate intelligence committee in February 2016, alongside the directors of the NSA, the FBI and national intelligence. For two years, Donald Trump has attacked the US intelligence community as a whole and individually on topics as various as the Iraq war, Hillary Clinton, Michael Flynn, the so-called Steele dossier and, most of all, the Russia investigation.
Donald Trump’s outbursts against the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the US election have become a near-daily occurrence. Addressing reporters on the south lawn at the White House, Trump said his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was “a very good person”. At the same time, 23 miles away in Alexandria, Virginia, a jury was deliberating Manafort’s fate.
A year since President Donald Trump unveiled his strategy for Afghanistan, a fresh wave of violence and bloodshed has assailed the war-torn nation and overshadowed some small glimmers of progress. Each successful attack represents a massive setback not just for the Afghanistan government, which is pushing for peace talks with the Taliban, but also for the Pentagon, where officials insist things are finally improving. In just the last few days, the Taliban and the Islamic State group have unleashed a series of deadly operations where civilians have borne the brunt of the bloodshed, including an IS attack inside a school that killed dozens of students.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — As jurors weigh Paul Manafort's fate in a sprawling financial fraud case, the former Trump campaign chairman still has another trial looming in the nation's capital — and prosecutors there have a whole new set of charges and a huge volume of evidence.
US President Donald Trump said Saturday he had authorized White House counsel Don McGahn and other staffers to "fully cooperate" with the investigation into alleged collusion between his campaign and Moscow. Trump's remarks came after The New York Times reported that McGahn had "cooperated extensively" with the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, taking part in at least three interviews with investigators totaling 30 hours. "I allowed White House Counsel Don McGahn, and all other requested members of the White House Staff, to fully cooperate with the Special Counsel," Trump tweeted.