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By Jonathan Allen

WASHINGTON — The contrasts drawn between the late President George H.W. Bush and President Donald Trump were subtle but persistent as the former was eulogized beneath the intricate stained-glass windows and soaring limestone arches of Washington’s National Cathedral here Wednesday.

The Bush family had made it clear: There would be no politics on display during the day’s proceedings — no direct criticism of the man who currently occupied the Oval Office. But public praise for the late president seemed to highlight the areas where he differed from the current commander in chief.

Bush was described a loyalist (Trump calls former friends “horse face” and “weak”); as a leader who worked with Democrats on budget deals and the Americans With Disabilities Act (Trump has governed on partisan terms and mocked a disabled reporter); as a president who rallied the world behind democratic values (Trump has spurned U.S. allies and enabled despots); and as a man who dedicated himself to a life of service (in life, Trump has unapologetically served his own interests first).

But the theme that seemed to encapsulate their differences most, as Trump sat stone-faced in the front pew of the church amid four former presidents and their wives, was Bush’s eternal optimism about humanity.

“Abraham Lincoln’s ‘better angels of our nature’ and George H.W. Bush’s ‘thousand points of light’ are companion verses in America’s national hymn,” historian Jon Meacham said in delivering the first tribute of the day. “For Lincoln and Bush both called on us to choose the right over the convenient, to hope rather than to fear, and to heed not our worst impulses, but our best instincts.”

In his inaugural address in 1989, George H.W. Bush spoke of the spirit of the American people and called on them to unite their talents, their energy and their fortunes to lift each other up.

“I have spoken of a Thousand Points of Light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the nation, doing good,” Bush said. “The old ideas are new again because they’re not old, they are timeless: duty, sacrifice, commitment, and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in.”

When Trump accepted the Republican nomination for president in 2016, he told the American people, “I alone can fix it.”

In his own inaugural address the following year, Trump described a bloody national landscape, vowing to end “this American carnage.”

Trump has appealed to the fear of outsiders — immigrants from south of the border and travelers from Muslim-majority countries — to rally his political base.

And in openly saying that he would not be willing to risk the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia to come down on Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman over the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, he has made clear his preference for hard pragmatism over the value of ideals in American foreign policy.

On Wednesday, Bush’s eldest son ascended to address the roughy 3,000 people assembled to say farewell to the man Meacham called the “last great soldier-statesman.”

Former President George W. Bush described a father whose worldview was formed by early brushes with death — an illness and when his plane was shot down during World War II — giving him the ability to “cherish the gift of life” and “live every day to the fullest.”

The younger Bush, who would later choke up as he wrapped up his remarks, said his father taught him and his siblings that anything was possible.

“The horizons he saw were bright and hopeful,” Bush said. “He was a genuinely optimistic man.”

And in a related note, he said this of his father: “Dad could relate to people from all walks of life. He was an empathetic man. He valued character over pedigree. And he was no cynic. He looked for the good in each person and he usually found it.”

A few feet away sat Trump, who has an uncanny ability to find the weakness in others and often displays an uncommon urgency to exploit it. He gives his political foes disparaging nicknames — from “low energy” Jeb Bush (the son and brother of the presidents) to “Little Marco” Rubio for the Republican senator from Florida and “Pocahontas” for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat he has lampooned for claiming Native American heritage.

In contrast to the striking, sunny empathy of the 41st president that drew praise Wednesday, Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio has described the current president’s equally notable talent for casting and cementing a positive image of himself and negative messages on others.

“This may not be the kind of intelligence we can all admire,” D’Antonio wrote. “In fact, it is a cynical, abusive and, some might say, evil form of brilliance.”

If Bush valued character over pedigree, Trump seems to prioritize them in the reverse. And he is obsessed with his own celebrity and that of his friends, aides and allies, speaking often of their television appearances, promoting their books and noting his closeness to them to promote both brands.

The differences between Bush, the patrician dedicated to public service, civility and international cooperation, and Trump are endless. But, at the root of it all, Trump finds darkness in people, while Bush saw points of light.

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EU believes second referendum MORE LIKELY likely than no deal says Hague

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THE European Union believes a second Brexit referendum is more likely to happen than the UK crashing out of the bloc without a deal, former Tory leader William Hague has said as he set out exactly what Theresa May should say to European leaders to get a new deal.

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Trump ally Roger Stone says he still has not been contacted by Mueller’s team

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Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

By Anna Schecter and Michael Cappetta

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office has never contacted former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone during its 19-month investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Stone and his attorney said in interviews Tuesday.

Stone has told reporters in the past that he’s had no contact with Mueller, and that remains true as 2019 approaches.

“Nothing’s changed,” Stone said during an interview with NBC News on Capitol Hill while he was protesting with InfoWars’ Alex Jones outside a hearing where Google CEO Sundar Pichar answered lawmakers’ questions about alleged political bias.

Stone’s ties to President Donald Trump go back four decades. He worked for the Trump campaign as an adviser for a short time in 2015 and continued as an informal adviser after leaving his role. During the summer of 2016, he made several public statements that seemed to indicate he had spoken to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange or could be interpreted to mean he had advance knowledge that WikiLeaks was going to release hacked Democratic emails, which he denies.

More than 10 of his associates have now been called before a grand jury in D.C. to answer questions from Mueller’s prosecutors related to Stone and WikiLeaks.

Stone said several months ago that he expects to be indicted. Even though he says he has not been contacted by Mueller’s team, he wrote in an August email to supporters that “Robert Mueller is coming for me” and that Mueller’s investigators are “examining every aspect of my personal, private, family, social, business and political life.”

Legal analyst Daniel Goldman said based on the number of witnesses interviewed there is no question the special counsel is conducting a serious and intensive investigation into Stone, but that his appears to be a tricky case and it is by no means a certainty he will be charged.

“In order for Stone to be charged with conspiring with others to interfere with the fair and proper administration of the 2016 election, the special counsel must determine that he took specific actions to coordinate with WikiLeaks and assist in the dissemination of the hacked emails… If he merely learned about it and did not take any steps to assist or coordinate, then he did not commit a crime,” said Goldman, an NBC News legal analyst and former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Stone testified before the House Intelligence Committee in September 2017 about Russia and Trump and Tuesday he stood by his testimony saying everything he told the committee “is true and accurate.” He noted he supplemented his testimony with four documents at the request of the committee, which “bolsters my testimony.”

In one of the supplemental documents he provided the committee he named Randy Credico as his backchannel to WikiLeaks. When asked Tuesday why he didn’t initially name Credico, Stone said he “feared professional reprisal against [Credico] in the workplace, yet I was persuaded by the committee and my own attorneys to identify him which I did.” Stone and Credico texted about WikiLeaks during the summer and fall of 2016, with Credico texting at one point he was “best friends” with Assange’s lawyer. Credico has repeatedly denied that he got any inside information from WikiLeaks.

In another supplemental document for the committee Stone acknowledged a brief meeting in Florida with a Russian named Henry Greenberg during the campaign.

“The question before House Intelligence Committee was did I meet with any representatives of the Russian State. [Greenberg] does not qualify,” he said Tuesday.

Stone recently declined to speak with the Senate Judiciary Committee in its Russia probe.

During the heat of the campaign in June 2016, Assange announced he had emails damaging to Clinton. Communications reviewed by NBC News show that Stone and others made efforts to try to learn details about what was coming. The Friday before the Democratic National Convention, Assange released the first batch of DNC emails.

On Aug. 8, 2016, Stone told the Southwest Broward Republican Organization, “I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation but there’s no telling what the October surprise may be.”

On Aug. 21, 2016, he tweeted, “Trust me, it will soon [sic] the Podesta’s time in the barrel.” Two months later Assange began releasing Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails. His attorney notes that this tweet followed a series of tweets about Podesta the week before. Podesta was the subject of Republican opposition research during the campaign and some in Stone’s camp have said that it was not out of the blue that Stone would text about Podesta.

Stone has been saying for months that the statements he made in 2016 were political bluster in the heat of a campaign, and his attorney said that media focus on them takes them out of context. Stone maintains he has never spoken to Assange, and while he may have asked people to find out details about the content and timing of WikiLeaks’ publication of Democrats’ emails that would be damaging to Clinton, he in no way colluded with WikiLeaks and did nothing illegal to try to help the campaign of Donald Trump.

In the wide-ranging interview with NBC News Stone said he never spoke to candidate Trump about WikiLeaks during the campaign.

Stone’s friend Jerome Corsi has been questioned by Mueller’s team and was offered a plea deal for lying to investigators, which he rejected. Corsi has sued Mueller and other government agencies for allegedly trying to blackmail him into lying. Asked what he thinks about Corsi’s approach, he said, “I wouldn’t do it the same way.”

A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment.

Michael Cappetta reported from Washington, D.C.

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Theresa May FINALLY wins a vote after Brexit SHAMBLES – but its not what you think

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THERESA May has finally won a vote after her chaotic Brexit shambles and opposition from all sides on her withdrawal agreement. But it’s not what you think.

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