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Second woman accuses Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault

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By Geoff Bennett and Jonathan Allen

RICHMOND, Va. — A second woman accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault, an allegation he quickly denied Friday but that nonetheless prompted a spate of calls from prominent political figures for him to resign.

In a statement from her lawyer Friday, Meredith Watson alleged that Fairfax raped her when they were both students at Duke University in 2000. She called on Fairfax, a Democrat, to resign.

The “attack was premeditated and aggressive,” said the lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith of the firm of Smith Mullin in Montclair, New Jersey. She described Fairfax and Watson as friends who never dated.

“Ms. Watson shared her account of the rape with friends in a series of emails and Facebook messages that are now in our possession,” Smith said in the statement. “Additionally, we have statements from former classmates corroborating that Ms. Watson immediately told friends that Mr. Fairfax had raped her.”

Earlier this week, Fairfax denied an accusation from Vanessa Tyson that he forced her to perform oral sex on him during the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004. On Friday, he issued a statement pushing back on the latest allegation as well.

“I deny this latest unsubstantiated allegation. It is demonstrably false. I have never forced myself on anyone ever,” Fairfax said. “I demand a full investigation into these unsubstantiated and false allegations. Such an investigation will confirm my account because I am telling the truth.”

“I will clear my good name and I have nothing to hide. I have passed two full, field background checks by the FBI and run for office in two highly contested elections with nothing like this being raised before,” he added. “It is obvious that a vicious and coordinated smear campaign is being orchestrated against me. I will not resign.”

Smith said the details of Watson’s experience with Fairfax were “similar to those” described by Tyson, who recounted kissing Fairfax willingly but being physically forced, while gagging and crying, into more intimate contact. Fairfax has said his liaison with Tyson was entirely consensual.

“On behalf of our client, we have notified Justin Fairfax through his attorneys that Ms. Watson hopes he will resign from public office,” Smith said.

Later Friday, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is considering a run for the Democratic presidential nomination, called on Fairfax to resign, as did New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who is already in that race, and Virginia Democratic Reps. Don Beyer, Donald McEachin, Abigail Spanberger, Elaine Luria, Jennifer Wexton and Gerry Connolly.

McAuliffe said in a statement that the claims were “serious and credible” and that they warranted Fairfax’s “immediate resignation.”

Delegate Patrick Hope, D-Va., said on Twitter that he planned to introduce articles of impeachment for Fairfax on Monday “if he has not resigned before then.” Later Friday, Democratic lawmakers in the Virginia House and state senate issued a joint statement calling for Fairfax to tender his resignation.

“Due to the serious nature of these allegations, we believe Lieutenant Governor Fairfax can no longer fulfill his duties to the Commonwealth,” it read. “He needs to address this as a private citizen. The time has come for him to step down.”

Virginia Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine also added their voices to the growing chorus.

“Lieutenant Governor Fairfax should resign. The allegations against him detail atrocious crimes, and he can no longer effectively serve the Commonwealth. We cannot ever ignore or tolerate sexual assault,” Kaine said in a statement.

Warner called on Fairfax to resign if the allegations “are accurate.”

“In the past week, the people of the Commonwealth have been subjected to what seems like an unending barrage of revelations about the past actions, both admitted and alleged, of their elected leaders. Resolving this crisis will require a government with the confidence of the people, justice for those who have been harmed, and a path forward that promotes healing and reconciliation,” he said in a statement.

Geoff Bennett reported from Richmond, and Jon Allen from Washington.



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Reporter asks Mueller about his report, drawing a ‘no comment’

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By Allan Smith

Special counsel Robert Mueller has spoken — and he’s giving no comment.

Mueller was approached by MSNBC’s Mike Viqueira on Sunday as he was leaving St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., for Easter services. Viqueira asked Mueller as he and his wife, Ann Mueller, were getting into their car whether he would testify before Congress after the Thursday release of his report on President Donald Trump and Russian electoral interference.

Mueller said he would be offering “no comment.”

Viqueira then asked Mueller if he had been investigating anyone other than Trump, and the evidence was identical, would they be indicted? The reporter also asked why Mueller did not make a recommendation on possible obstruction of justice and if Attorney General William Barr accurately characterized the report in his initial summary and subsequent press conference.

Mueller did not respond as he entered his car.

“I think it’s accurate to characterize Director Mueller today as being ‘tight-lipped’ in response to my questions,” Viqueira said afterwards on MSNBC.

Mueller has remained silent during the course of his probe, which began in May 2017, refusing to engage in public discourse about the investigation. Mueller’s “no comment” was the first time he had spoken publicly to the media about the investigation since its inception.

In his 400-plus page report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials and whether the president sought to obstruct justice, Mueller said he was unable to establish a Trump-Russia conspiracy and said he could not come to a traditional prosecutorial decision on obstruction.



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In online ad, Howard Schultz says ‘majority of Americans are Americans’

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By Allan Smith

A new Facebook ad from possible 2020 presidential candidate Howard Schultz gained attention online over a line saying “the majority of Americans are Americans.”

Schultz, who has said he may run as a centrist independent, has based his potential candidacy on a message of nonpartisanship. Schultz has taken socially liberal and fiscally conservative positions, insisting that both Republicans and Democrats are too extreme to govern. The former Starbucks chairman and billionaire businessman has made the national debt a central issue of his possible run.

In the Facebook ad, Schultz writes: “The majority of Americans aren’t Democrats or Republicans, the majority of Americans are Americans.”

The line drew mockery online from observers who thought the statement that most Americans are American was rather obvious.



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Jeremy Corbyn attacked by veterans for labelling British SAS soldiers 'LAWLESS' at rally

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JEREMY CORBYN has been heavily criticised by veterans after a video emerged of him branding British Army forces in Iraq “lawless”.

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