Trump aide Hope Hicks said to appear before House Intelligence Committee
WASHINGTON — White House Communications Director Hope Hicks is scheduled to be interviewed privately Tuesday by the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to two House officials familiar with the matter.
The officials asked for anonymity to discuss the plans.
On Jan. 31, The New York Times reported that a former spokesman for President Donald Trump’s legal team, Mark Corallo, was prepared then to tell special counsel Robert Mueller about his concerns about a comment Hicks made during a phone call with him and the president.
According to the Times, Corallo said Hicks said during the call that emails written by Donald Trump Jr. about a June, 9, 2016, meeting with Russians at Trump Tower would “never get out.” Corallo was concerned that Hicks might be considering obstructing justice, the Times reported, citing sources. Her lawyer, Robert Trout, denied Hicks made such a statement or suggested documents or emails would be concealed, the Times reported.
Congressman wants National Guard to protect schools
WASHINGTON — Georgia Rep. David Scott said schools should be protected by the National Guard rather than arm teachers.
Before a town hall in Atlanta, the Democrat told 11Alive he did not think President Donald Trump’s proposal to arm teachers was the smartest idea.
“My suggestion, which I will bring on the floor next week, will be to put our National Guard to work,” he said. “That’s what they’re there for. Whenever we have an emergency, we bring in our National Guard.”
Scott also said in the wake of the shooting earlier this month in Parkland, Florida, that led to the deaths of 17 people that each state has its own National Guard unit.
“It is the governors of these states that can immediately deploy and get the presence in the schools so that we have that, as we begin to work to build up a more permanent group of trained individuals who are secure, that can go in and take care of our schools,” he said.
In addition, Scott said he would be introducing legislation that would ban assault weapons.
UN human rights chief blasts ‘xenophobes, racists’ in Hungary, Poland
WASHINGTON — The top human rights official for the United Nations chose unusually tough language Monday to criticize what he sees as a sharp erosion in civil liberties in Poland and Hungary.
“Xenophobes and racists in Europe are casting off any sense of embarrassment,” said the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Hussein, singling out Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
While Hungary and Poland have drawn criticism for antidemocratic actions for some time, two recent statements from their leaders seemed to have provoked Hussein to speak out. Orban, in a speech Feb. 6, said his country did not want its “color” to be diluted by immigrants. Morawiecki, commenting on a controversial Polish law that criminalizes some language about the Holocaust, spoke of Jewish “perpetrators” along with Nazis — “a disgraceful calumny,” Hussein said.
“Today, oppression is fashionable again,” Hussein said at the opening of a session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. “The security state is back and fundamental freedoms are in retreat in every region of the world. Shame is also in retreat.”
Hussein decried a surge in right-wing, anti-immigrant politics in Europe and elsewhere and the lack of international condemnation.
—Tribune Washington Bureau
Russia uses veto to stop UN Security Council calling out Iran
NEW YORK — Russia vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution on Yemen on Monday that would have called out Iran for failing to stop the supply of Iranian-made missiles to Houthi rebels.
The move comes just days after Russia was blamed for delaying a Security Council call for a 30-day cease-fire in Syria.
Russia voted against the British-led draft to extend sanctions on Yemen, which expressed concern over Iranian “non-compliance” with the Security Council’s arms embargo.
After Moscow wielded its veto, it put its own draft — a technical rollover — to the vote, which the Security Council passed unanimously. The mandate was due to expire later Monday.
Russia objected to the criticism of Iran in the British text.
Moscow’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called findings from the panel’s report released in late January that Iran failed to prevent the supply of Iranian-made missiles to Houthi rebels “uncorroborated conclusions.”
Britain’s deputy U.N. ambassador Jonathan Allen said Iran and those states who violate the arms embargo must be held to account, even if it is “politically inconvenient” to do so.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley accused Russia of using its veto to protect Iran.
Russia “prevented accountability” and “endangered the entire region” despite “a mountain of credible, independent evidence” Iran violated the arms embargo, Haley said in a statement.
The U.N.-appointed Panel of Experts said it identified missile remnants, military equipment and military drones of Iranian origin brought into Yemen after the arms embargo came into effect.
The panel inspected the remains of short-range ballistic missiles launched by the Houthis towards Saudi Arabia and found they were consistent with Iranian-made Qiam 1 missiles.