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Nadler reaches deal with DOJ over key Mueller report documents

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WASHINGTON — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., announced Monday that he had reached an agreement with the Department of Justice over obtaining underlying evidence from the Mueller report related to possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.

Nadler announced the deal in a statement, saying that the DOJ “has agreed to begin complying with our committee’s subpoena by opening Robert Mueller’s most important files to us.”

“The Department will share the first of these documents with us later today,” Nadler said. “All members of the Judiciary Committee — Democrats and Republicans alike — will be able to view them. These documents will allow us to perform our constitutional duties and decide how to respond to the allegations laid out against the President by the Special Counsel.”

The announcement came just hours before the committee holds the first in a series of hearings on the Mueller report and a day before the House is set to vote on a civil contempt resolution seeking to enforce committee subpoenas.

Nadler said in his statement that the House would hold off on the “criminal contempt process” for now.

“We have agreed to allow the Department time to demonstrate compliance with this agreement,” Nadler said. “If the Department proceeds in good faith and we are able to obtain everything that we need, then there will be no need to take further steps. If important information is held back, then we will have no choice but to enforce our subpoena in court and consider other remedies.”

Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement that the department is “pleased” the panel is setting aside its criminal contempt measure, saying the DOJ “remains committed to appropriately accommodating Congress’s legitimate interests related to the Special Counsel’s Investigation and will continue to do so provided the previously voted-upon resolution does not advance.”

Nadler’s announcement indicated that the House would still vote on the resolution Tuesday to authorize the Judiciary panel to “enforce its subpoenas in federal court.”

“Some enforcement action may be necessary to obtain documents and testimony outside the scope of today’s agreement with the Department of Justice, including testimony from former White House Counsel Don McGahn,” the committee said in a news release accompanying Nadler’s statement.

Meanwhile, John Dean, who served as White House counsel to President Richard Nixon and played a key role in the Watergate hearings in the 1970s, will testify at the committee’s hearing on the Mueller report Monday at 2 p.m.

Separately, the House Intelligence Committee will hold a rare open hearing on the counterintelligence implications of the Mueller report on Wednesday, at which Stephanie Douglas and Robert Anderson, former executive assistant directors of the FBI’s national security branch, are scheduled to testify.

Alex Moe contributed.

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How Dominic Cummings was saved by the government using THESE defences

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DOMINIC CUMMINGS avoided being ousted as the Prime Minister’s top advisor after he faced calls to resign this weekend for flouting lockdown rules.

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Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair questions Trump’s coronavirus strategy

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LONDON — Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair questioned U.S. President Donald Trump’s approach to the coronavirus crisis and warned of “terrifying” economic consequences if global lockdown measures continue as they are.

“The countries that locked down fast and that are building, testing, tracing and tracking capability fast, that then enables you to be more bold on the economy,” he told NBC News on Friday.

Trump’s government has been accused of bungling the response to the pandemic by first downplaying the threat and not moving quickly or efficiently enough to deal with the growing crisis.

“I think the problem that you have in most Western countries today is that people are now very well-informed about the risks of the disease,” Blair said from his home in the United Kingdom where, like much of the rest of his country, he’s spent the last eight weeks with his family under lockdown.

“I think they are not sufficiently well-informed about the risks of economic collapse,” he added.

The pandemic and the consequent lockdown has slammed the world economy. In the U.S., the first quarter of 2020 saw the steepest decline since the Great Recession.

As prime minister from 1997 to 2007, Blair became an important figure on the world stage and was a key ally of U.S. President George W. Bush. Under his leadership, the U.K. joined the U.S.-led coalition fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Asked about Trump’s widely condemned comments on whether the coronavirus might be treated by injecting disinfectant into the body, Blair said, “I think most people would understand what I would think, but it’s probably better sometimes not to say it.”

He added that he was less worried about individual comments and more concerned about what he called “the absence of global coordination.”

He then went on to compare Trump to his predecessors.

“If I think back to the times when I’m dealing with Bill Clinton or George Bush, Barack Obama as well, the most important thing at a time like this is to say, ‘How do you bring the world together?’”

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That included working together to find a vaccine, accelerating the development of therapeutics and testing capability and making sure economic measures are in place to ease what will be a massive economic problem for the world, he said.

“It’s that global coordination, the absence of which means that each individual country’s less effective at dealing with the disease. That’s the thing that worries,” he said, suggesting that the U.S. may have lost its desire to influence the global agenda.

Download the NBC News app for full coverage and alerts about the coronavirus outbreak.

During his time in office, Trump has strained the United States’ traditional allegiances and withdrawn from agreements, such as the landmark Iran nuclear deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris climate agreement. Most recently, he threatened to make the freeze on U.S. funding for the World Health Organization permanent, accusing the organization of an “alarming lack of independence” from China.

In comments that will add to the debate about how quickly to end the current global lockdown, Blair also advocated for an easing of restrictions, albeit with measures in place.

“We needed to terrify people sufficiently to get them to obey the lockdown, but you’ve got to also help people to understand that there is a limit to how long you can go on with this,” he said.

Blair — who now heads the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, a nonprofit organisation — added that his family members are all well and healthy.

“I’ve been enjoying not traveling all the time,” he said during the internet call. “That’s been good to be in one place, and probably much more healthy as a result.”

He said he was especially concerned about the impact of COVID-19 restrictions in Africa, a continent of 1.2 billion people, where, according to official data, the disease has had very limited health implications with just over 3,000 deaths.

Download the NBC News app for full coverage and alerts about the coronavirus outbreak

Blair said lockdown measures were disrupting programmes that help treat and limit the spread of malaria, diarrheal diseases and HIV/AIDS.

“The risk is the African countries end up suffering many more deaths because the lockdown around COVID is imposing barriers on them treating their people,” he said.

Food insecurity and lack of work in the informal economy were also placing a huge burden on the continent.

Blair said people must now recognise that the economic fallout globally could be far worse than the health implications.

“You’ve got to say to people, ‘Yes, look, I can’t tell you that there is no risk, whatever, if you send children back into primary school, but what I can tell you is that the evidence from around the world is that the risk is very small.’”

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'Beyond audacious!' UK accused of 'fanciful demands' in EU talks – trade deal at risk

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THE UK has been accused of making “fanciful demands” of the European Union during post-Brexit trade talks, in a move described by one political expert as “beyond audacious” and a strategy that could completely derail already-fragile negotiations.

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