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Tuesday 23 April 2019

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Four pages of special counsel Robert Mueller report on the witness table in the House Intelligence Committee hearing room on Capitol Hill, in Washington, April 18, 2019.

U.S. President Donald Trump is continuing to lash out at special counsel Robert Mueller's report, a few days after a redacted version was released to the public, calling it a "total hit job."

"The Trump Haters and Angry Democrats who wrote the Mueller Report were devastated by the No Collusion finding! Nothing but a total “hit job” which should never have been allowed to start in the first place!," Trump said Sunday, adding in a separate tweet that "Despite No Collusion, No Obstruction, The Radical Left Democrats do not want to go on to Legislate for the good of the people, but only to Investigate and waste time."

The 448-page report outlined the findings of the 22-month probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and if Trump . Investigators determined no one on Trump's campaign knowingly conspired with Russia, however they declined to exonerate the president on charges that his actions obstructed justice.

The report describes at least 10 episodes involving Trump and of potential obstruction of justice after he learned about the investigation.

Since the report's release Thursday, Trump has been angrily criticizing it, even as he spends Easter weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

"Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated & totally untrue," Trump tweeted on Saturday. At a a second post, Trump referred to parts of the report as "bulls---," but did not explain more.

Democratic lawmakers

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler issued a subpoena Friday to get Special Counsel Mueller's full report.

Nadler said Attorney General William Barr's "redactions [to the report] appear to be significant," leaving "most of Congress in the dark." The Democratic lawmaker added that he and his colleagues "have so far seen none of the actual evidence that the Special Counsel developed to make this case.”

In a statement released Friday evening, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) called the subpoena "premature and unnecessary." The statement quoted a DOJ spokeswoman as saying the Mueller report was issued with "minimal redactions" and that some members of Congress would have access to a version with fewer redactions.

For months, Democratic congressional leaders had been clamoring for the speedy release of the findings of Mueller's probe into whether President Trump's 2016 campaign colluded with Russia. Now that the redacted version of the report has been released, they are confronted with a choice: stay on the attack or move on. Nadler says he wants Mueller to testify before the committee no later than May 23.

Late last month, Barr released his summary of the report's findings, and said the special counsel had concluded that Trump had not colluded with Russia, but reached no decision on whether he had obstructed justice.

"One thing is clear," Senate leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a joint statement, " Attorney General Barr presented a conclusion that the president did not obstruct justice, while Mueller's report appears to undercut that finding."

Sri Lankan security personnel walk through debris following an explosion in St Sebastian's Church in Negombo, north of the capital Colombo, on April 21, 2019.

Several world and religious leaders condemned the explosions on Easter at Sri Lankan churches and hotels that killed scores of people.

Dozens of foreigners — British, Dutch and American citizens — are believed to be among them the dead.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said attacks were "truly appalling."

"The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time," she tweeted. "We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practice their faith in fear.”

The Catholic Church in Jerusalem released a statement saying "We pray for the souls of the victims and ask for speedy recovery of the injured, and ask God to inspire the terrorists to repent of their killing and intimidation."

But during the traditional Easter address at the Vatican, Pope Francis conveyed sadness over the attacks.

"I want to express my affectionate closeness with the Christian community, attacked while it was at prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence," he said.

Sunday’s bomb attack came a month after dozens of Muslims were killed in a shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern such violence was "devastating".

"New Zealand condemns all acts of terrorism, and our resolve has only been strengthened by the attack on our soil on the 15th of March. … New Zealand rejects all forms of extremism and stands for freedom of religion and the right to worship safely. Collectively we must find the will and the answers to end such violence,” Ardern said in a written statement.

Meanwhile in the U.S., President Donald Trump said Americans stand “ready to help.”

”Heartfelt condolences from the people of the United States to the people of Sri Lanka on the horrible terrorist attacks on churches and hotels," he tweeted.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the blast "in the strongest terms" and confirmed U.S. citizens were among those killed. "We stand with the Sri Lankan government and people as they confront violent extremism and have offered our assistance as they work to bring the perpetrators to justice," he said.

The World Jewish Congress denounced the attack as “heinous” and appealed for “zero tolerance of those who use terror to advance their objectives.”

“This truly barbarous assault on peaceful worshippers on one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar serves as a painful reminder that the war against terror must be at the top of the international agenda and pursued relentlessly," World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin called the attacks despicable.

“We are all children of God; an attack on one religion is an attack on us all," he said on Twitter.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan condemned in the “strongest terms possible the Easter terror attacks in Sri Lanka. This is an assault on all of humanity.” While Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said terrorism must be condemned and confronted globally as is a global menace with no religion.

"Terribly saddened by terrorist attacks on Sri Lankan worshippers during Easter. Condolences to friendly government and people of Sri Lanka. Our thoughts and prayers with the victims and their families,” he said.

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