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The Latest Headlines From Around the World

    The Latest on Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to France (all times local): 8:30 p.m. French President Emmanuel Macron says China's signature in Paris of a deal to buy 300 planes from Airbus is an 'excellent signal' showing the strength and reliability of the relations between the two countries. In a joint statement with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Elysee presidential palace, Macron said the discussions aimed at seeking a 'strong Euro-Chinese partnership, based on clear, strict and ambitious rules.' He added that France and China share views on the importance of the fight against climate change. Macron also said he raised 'concerns' about the respect of fundamental human rights in China during 'frank exchanges.' Xi praised 'friendly and fruitful discussions' with Macron. He said China 'attaches great importance' to its relations with Europe. ___ 7:25 p.m. China has signed a deal to buy 300 aircraft from European plane maker Airbus during Chinese leader's Xi Jinping state visit to France. A statement by the French Presidency says China Aviation Supplies Holding Company ordered 290 Airbus A320 and 10 Airbus A350. Further details and financial sums were not specified. The global deal is estimated to be worth around $34 billion at list prices, although buyers often secure discounts. Fifteen business deals on energy, the food industry, transport and other sectors were signed in the presence of Xi and French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday at the presidential palace in Paris, in addition to other bilateral agreements. ___ 12:30 p.m. Chinese President Xi Jinping is on a state visit in France where he is expected to sign a series of bilateral and economic deals on energy, the food industry, transport and other sectors. Xi will be welcomed Monday by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris, before a meeting and a state dinner at the Elysee presidential palace. The Chinese leader, who previously visited Italy and Monaco, arrived in France on Sunday evening where he had a private dinner with Macron in the resort town of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, on the French Riviera. He will also meet in Paris on Tuesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Europe wants to increase trade with China but on European terms, especially amid U.S.-China trade tensions.
  • Ukrainian authorities have denied entry to an Italian journalist, accusing him of an 'anti-Ukrainian' bias. Marc Innaro, a correspondent for the Italian RAI state television, has been barred from entering Ukraine when he arrived in the country to cover Sunday's presidential vote. Oleh Slobodyan, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Border Guards, said Monday that Innaro was refused entry because he 'frequently engaged in anti-Ukrainian rhetoric in his reports.' Slobodyan also charged that Innaro had failed to get accredited with election authorities in advance. The move follows Ukraine's denial of entry to a journalist from Austria's national broadcaster ORF who was declared a 'threat to national security.' Austria criticized the ban as an 'unacceptable act of censorship.
  • An Italian couple is under investigation after authorities say they performed a home circumcision on their 5-month-old son, causing the boy’s death.  The boy, whose parents are of Ghanian origin, was in critical condition when he was taken Friday night to a hospital in Scandiano in the province of Reggio Emilia, Italy’s ANSA news agency reported. He died overnight. >> Read more trending news This weekend’s death is not the first of a child who underwent an illegal circumcision in Italy. The BBC reported that a 2-year-old boy bled to death in December after undergoing a failed circumcision at a migrant center in the Roman suburb of Monterotondo.  The boy’s twin brother underwent the same surgery but survived after a stint in the intensive care unit.  In the December case, a 66-year-old man was charged with murder in the toddler’s death, the BBC reported.  The 2-year-old and his brother were born in Italy, but their parents were from Nigeria, according to the BBC. The man charged with killing the boy is an American of Libyan heritage.  The BBC reported that circumcision is unavailable in public health institutions. Italy’s Roman Catholic majority does not practice circumcision, but many of the country’s Muslim immigrants do.  Private clinics will perform the procedure, but the surgery can be costly. There are people willing to circumcise children for a fraction of the cost, the news agency reported.  In the December case, the procedure was performed at a refugee center run by the Monterotondo council and nonprofit group Arci. Arci officials condemned the incident in a Facebook post, in which they said in 2018, there should be “no sorcerers and midwives.” “The Monterotondo tragedy leaves the whole of Arci, starting with our Arci workers in Rome, sorrowful and upset,” the post read, as translated from Italian. One commenter argued for a near-complete ban on circumcision.   “Circumcision should be considered a sexual mutilation, apart from the few cases in which it is appropriate for medical reasons, and therefore prohibited and punished if practiced,” the woman, Claudia Lanzi, wrote.  Another woman, Barbara Pilati, asked how it is mutilation if it causes no damage. “It is made to children who cannot express their opinion,” Lanzi responded.  ANSA reported that between 4,000 and 5,000 immigrant children undergo circumcisions in Italy each year. About 35 percent of those procedures are done illegally.  Yassine Lafram, who heads the Bologna area’s Islamic community, condemned the fatal procedure on the infant Monday. “We learn of the terrible news of the death of a 5-month-old baby following an illegal circumcision with dismay,” Lafram told ANSA. “It’s a death that could certainly have been avoided and pains us deeply.”
  • A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on Monday was one of the most powerful launched ever by Gaza militants, flying nearly 120 kilometers (70 miles) before it slammed into a house in central Israel, wounding seven people. Over more than a decade, the Islamic militant Hamas group has built up a large arsenal of rockets and missiles. It started with crude short-range projectiles and now possesses rockets that can strike virtually anywhere in Israel. Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007, prompting Israel and Egypt to impose a blockade on the territory, largely to prevent the militants from amassing more weapons. But the blockade and three wars with Israel — the most recent in 2014 — failed to prevent Hamas from expanding its arsenal. A network of smuggling tunnels along the Egyptian border is believed to have helped Hamas bring in advanced weapons and raw materials, though Egypt shuttered most of the tunnels around 2013. In 2018, Gaza's Hamas chief Yehiya Sinwar boasted that the group had not only replenished the rockets it fired during the 50-day war in 2014, but had many more at its disposal. He said that what had been fired in 50 days 'would be fired within five minutes' of any future Israeli offensive. Monday's rocket strike was the furthest a Gaza rocket has landed since 2014, when Hamas struck the northern Israeli city of Haifa, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) away. Hamas doesn't release details about its military capabilities. Gabi Siboni, an Israeli military analyst, said Hamas 'has a variety of advanced, precise, and effective weaponry.' He said this includes guided anti-tank missiles and shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles, both produced by Russia, as well as some drones. ROCKETS —Qassams: In 2001, a year after the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising against Israel, Hamas first fired a cross-border rocket toward Israel, calling it 'Qassam' after the group's military wing. The homemade rockets, aimed at Israeli border towns, had an irregular trajectory and sometimes landed inside Gaza. —R-160: Hamas calls this its longest-range home-grown rocket. It was first fired in the 2014 war and at one point hit Haifa. The 'R'' in the name refers to Abdel-Aziz Rantissi, a senior Hamas official who was killed in an Israeli airstrike in 2004. The number refers to the range, in kilometers. —J-80: This rocket, also produced locally, is named after Hamas military wing commander Ahmed Jabari, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike on his car in 2012, setting off an eight-day war. Israel reportedly believes the rocket that hit central Israel on Monday was this model and blamed Hamas. The group has not claimed responsibility. —M-75: Hamas unveiled this rocket in 2014, claiming it was homemade. But experts believe it is a version of the Iranian Fajr 5 rocket, which Iran acquired in the 1990s and is based on Chinese technology. —Hamas also possess a variety of Russian Grad rockets. These projectiles, with a range of about 20 kilometers (12 miles), are believed to have been delivered via Iran. ___ TUNNELS In recent years, Hamas has built a sophisticated network of tunnels. These include attack tunnels that run under the Gaza-Israel perimeter fence, for use by assailants to infiltrate Israel. Defensive tunnels, located away from the border, are used to store weapons and serve as hideouts. Hamas first used tunnels in a 2006 cross-border attack in which it killed two Israeli soldiers and captured a third. The soldier, Gilad Shalit, was swapped for more than 1,000 prisoners in 2011. Hamas also used the tunnels in the 2014 war, killing five soldiers in one cross-border raid. During the fighting, Israel said it discovered and destroyed 32 tunnels. Since then, it says it has discovered and destroyed several additional tunnels. To combat the tunnel threat, Israel has begun building an underground barrier running the length of the Gaza Strip, and this year it said it was reinforcing the Gaza fence with 20-foot-high galvanized steel. ___ IMPORTED WEAPONS —Mortars. Hamas has fired hundreds of mortars at short-range targets just across the border. The mortars are believed to have been smuggled from Libya through Egypt. — Laser-guided anti-tank missiles made by Russia. Last November, Hamas fired such a missile, known as Kornet, at a bus from which Israeli soldiers had just exited. One soldier was seriously wounded. In a 2006 war, the Lebanese Hezbollah militia killed dozens of Israeli tank soldiers using these weapons. —Drones: Hamas has developed an early-stage drone program, displaying images of Israeli fields purportedly filmed by these aircraft. It's not known whether they have been used for attacks.
  • Berlin police say an 81-year-old man is being investigated on charges of causing dangerous bodily harm after he whacked a smoker in a downtown train station with a wooden fence picket for puffing on a cigarette in a non-designated area. Police told the dpa news agency that the 61-year-old victim had refused to put out his cigarette when the older man informed him he was smoking in a non-smoking part of the Friedrichstrasse station Monday morning. They say the older man then hit him in the face with the wooden board, injuring his upper lip. Police, who apprehended the attacker at the scene, say he had the wooden picket on hand because he was on his way to his garden.
  • Japan's ambassador to the United Nations-backed Conference on Disarmament says his country has not developed fully autonomous weapons systems and has no plans to do so. Nobushige Takamizawa spoke at Monday's opening of the latest weeklong meeting of government experts in Geneva on the future of 'Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems,' also known as 'Killer Robots.' Takamizawa's comments have been widely anticipated in Japan, a country with highly sophisticated technological know-how and concerns about regional security threats — notably North Korea, which in recent years has tested missiles by firing them over Japanese territory. He mentioned 'positive effects' of autonomous weapons systems under human oversight, such as saving labor and reducing collateral damage. Opponents of fully automated systems fear that machines could one day conduct wars without human control.
  • A prominent Hong Kong businessman was sentenced to three years in prison on Monday and fined $400,000 after he was convicted of paying bribes to the presidents of two African countries. U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska sentenced Dr. Chi Ping Patrick Ho, who is also an ophthalmologist and was once Hong Kong's home affairs secretary. Ho was convicted in December of paying bribes to the presidents of Chad and Uganda in a scheme to secure oil rights for an energy conglomerate known as CEFC China Energy. Lawyers for Ho insisted at trial that payments to the presidents were legitimate charitable donations. The payments included $2 million in gift boxes delivered to Chad's president in 2014. Ho was charged in New York City by authorities who cited meetings and wire transfers in Manhattan related to the bribes. Prosecutors had recommended Ho serve five years. Defense lawyers said his 16 months behind bars as a model inmate were enough. Defense lawyers said in a pre-sentence submission that Ho 'deeply regrets' his actions. They said their client has tutored fellow inmates at a downtown Manhattan lockup on subjects 'ranging from geography to personal finance.' During a weeklong trial, prosecutors said Ho approached the presidents of Chad and Uganda on behalf of CEFC China Energy after growing accustomed to using money to entice foreign officials to help the company expand its business. Prosecutors say the Ugandan scheme emerged at the United Nations in New York when Uganda's foreign minister served as president of the U.N. General Assembly.
  • An Austrian court has sentenced a dog owner to six months in prison after her Rottweiler mauled a toddler who died of his injuries weeks later. Public broadcaster ORF reported Monday that the Vienna regional court convicted the 49-year-old defendant of serious negligent homicide. Authorities determined the woman, who wasn't identified, was intoxicated during the attack. She testified she'd had 'at most half a liter (17 ounces) of Prosecco.' The Rottweiler, which wasn't wearing a muzzle as required, attacked a 17-month-old boy walking with his grandparents, biting him on the head. The court also gave the woman a 12-month suspended sentence and ordered her to pay 65,000 euros ($73,613) damages to the boy's family. The dog was taken to an animal shelter but later destroyed after attacking a keeper.
  • Germany's transport ministry says it stands by a cycling safety campaign that has drawn accusations of sexism even inside the governing coalition for featuring scantily clad women. The campaign, launched by the conservative transport minister, aims to persuade young cyclists to wear helmets and uses the English-language slogan: 'Looks like s---. But saves my life.' Critics have focused on the models' skimpy clothing. In response, Franziska Giffey, the center-left minister for women, posted a picture of herself on a bike with a helmet and the words: 'You can wear a helmet even when you're dressed.' Transport Ministry spokeswoman Svenja Friedrich said Monday the bike campaign was meant to get attention and also features male models. She said: 'We can absolutely understand the criticism from various sides, but we still stand by the images.
  • Seven people including South Sudanese academic and activist, Peter Biar Ajak, were charged in court Monday with sabotage, insurgency and possession of weapons for allegedly staging an uprising in South Sudan's main national security prison in October. If found guilty they could be sentenced to death. The men are being tried in a civilian court and are being accused by the country's National Security Service for stealing firearms and communicating false statements while in prison. South Sudanese businessman, Kerbino Agok Wol, one of the accused, allegedly spearheaded the attack and then spoke about it with U.S. based news outlet, Voice of America while in jail. The charges are the first to be brought against the men, and they are different from the reasons each of them was originally detained. Ajak, a political commentator and a graduate of Harvard University and a PhD student at Cambridge University in Britain was arrested in July at Juba's international airport. Businessman and philanthropist, Wol was detained last April and another of the accused, Benjamin Agai, had been in prison for 10 months for allegedly stealing a car, yet this was the first time he'd seen a judge, he said. During the hearing, Ajak's lawyer, Monyluak Alor Kuol accused the prosecution of trying to deflect public attention away from the reason his client was in jail in the first place. 'He's a victim of abuse of power by some national security elements,' said Kuol. Last month the United Nations warned that South Sudan is increasingly run by its national security service and the country is at risk of becoming a police state, according to a report by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan. Monday's hearing, in a packed courtroom attended by members of the international community including the United States, the United Nations and advocacy groups, was at times charged. At one point the prosecution presented government papers to the court referring to incidents with names and dates that didn't match the present case. 'This trial is something else, these statements are something else,' said Wol's defense lawyer, Ajak Mayol Bior waving his hands in the air. In recent months several in the international community has pressured South Sudan's government to release both Wol and Ajak. In March the U.N. condemned Ajak's continued detention citing a 'clear trend in the use of national security and counter-terrorism legislation by states to criminalize free expression and the legitimate work of human rights defenders.' U.S. congresswoman Madeleine Dean tweeted in February that it's time for South Sudan's President Salva Kiir to free South Sudan's political prisoners, including Ajak. And for the first time ever, earlier this month South Sudan's government was summoned to appear before the East African Court of Justice over the arbitrary arrest and detention of Wol, according to Amnesty International. As the trial continues with two more hearings scheduled later this week, local advocacy groups are calling on the government to uphold the rule of law. 'It is a right time for the state to exercise its constitutional obligations on protecting the rights of the citizens,' said Edmund Yakani, executive director for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, a local rights group.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A widely shared Facebook post shows a lone prayer closet remaining on the site of a home where an EF4 tornado ripped through in Alabama. Earlier in March, a tornado carved a path across Lee County, Alabama destroying homes and ripping up trees.  Only a few buildings and homes were able to make it, including a local grandmother’s prayer closet. According to 11 Alive, Chaplain Jason Smith was out with Billy Graham’s Rapid Response Team and noticed the prayer closet.   In his Facebook post, he reports the entire family who lived there survived. “Listen to me please,” he wrote in the post.  “I just left a family who survived the tornado in this house and the only left standing is this closet.  It’s the grandmother’s prayer closet, and the whole family survived.  Are you kiddin me!!! My God is awesome!!! Shout somebody! --Jason--” As of this article, the two-week old post has been shared over 96 thousand times and garnered more than 62 thousand likes.
  • Federal prosecutors in New York and California announced charges Monday in separate cases against attorney Michael Avenatti. >> Read more trending news Authorities in New York arrested Avenatti on Monday to face allegations out of the Southern District of New York that he attempted to extort Nike and charges of bank and wire fraud out of the Central District of California. >> Read the complaint against Avenatti filed in New York Update 3:20 p.m. EDT March 25: In a statement obtained by CNBC, a Nike spokesperson said the company “has been cooperating with the government’s investigation into NCAA basketball for over a year.” “When Nike became aware of this matter, Nike immediately reported it to federal prosecutors,” the statement said. “When Mr. Avenatti attempted to extort Nike over this matter, Nike with the assistance of outside counsel at Boies Schiller Flexner, aided the investigation.” Authorities said Avenatti and an unnamed co-conspirator attempted to extort Nike of more than $20 million by threatening “to use his ability to garner publicity to inflict substantial financial and reputational harm on the company if his demands were not met.” Citing a pair of unidentified sources, The Wall Street Journal reported the unnamed co-conspirator allegedly involved in the case was attorney Mark Geragos. Update 3:05 p.m. EDT March 25: Investigators with the IRS launched a probe into Aveantti more than a year ago, after an official noticed “irregularities” while attempting to collect payroll taxes from Avenatti, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Nick Hanna said. The bank and wire fraud “allegations ... paint an ugly picture of lawless conduct and greed,” Hanna said, calling Avenatti “a corrupt lawyer who ... fights for his own selfish interests by misappropriating close to $1 million that rightfully belonged to one of his clients.” Hanna said Avenatti negotiated a settlement for one of his clients in December 2017 as part of an intellectual property dispute. Under the settlement, Avenatti’s client was expected to get $1.6 million in January 2018. However, Hanna said Avenatti presented his client with a false settlement agreement that listed March 2018 at the date by which the payment was due. The payment was made to an account controlled by Avenatti on Jan. 5, 2018. “Mr. Avenatti then used his client’s money to pay expenses for his own coffee business, Global Baristas LLC which did business as Tully’s coffee as well as to pay his own expenses,” Hanna said. Avenatti was arrested Monday in New York to face federal charges on both the east and west coasts. Avenatti is facing a maximum of 50 years in prison if he’s convicted of the bank and wire fraud charges in California. Federal prosecutors in New York also charged Avenatti in a separate case in which he was accused of attempting to extort Nike. Update 2:35 p.m. EDT March 25: Authorities in New York are providing more details Monday in the case against Avenatti. Update 2:20 p.m. EDT March 25: Authorities in California are providing more details Monday in the case against Avenatti. Update 2:15 p.m. EDT March 25: Avenatti’s former client, Stormy Daniels, said in a statement Monday that she was “saddened but not shocked by news reports that he has been criminally charged.” “I made the decision more than a month ago to terminate Michael’s services after discovering that he had dealt with me extremely dishonestly,” Daniels said. Avenatti represented Daniels in her court battle to throw out a non-disclosure agreement she had signed before the 2016 presidential election. The agreement barred her from talking about a sexual encounter she said she had with Trump years before the election. Original report: Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York said Avenatti attempted “to extract more than $20 million in payments from a public traded company by threatening to use his ability to garner publicity to inflict substantial financial and reputational harm on the company if his demands were not met.” The company was identified in a criminal complaint as Nike. Earlier Monday, Avenatti had announced plans to hold a press conference Tuesday “to disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by @Nike.” Authorities said in a complaint filled in court that Avenatti and another person threatened to release damaging information about Nike unless the company “did not agree to make multi-million dollar payments” to Avenatti and an unnamed co-conspirator. Avenatti “threatened to hold a press conference on the eve of Nike’s quarterly earnings call and the start of the annual (NCAA) tournament at which he would announce allegations of misconduct by employees of Nike,” prosecutors said.  “Avenatti stated that he would refrain from holding the press conference and harming Nike only if Nike made a payment of $1.5 million to a client of Avenatti’s in possession of information damaging to Nike... and agreed to ‘retain’ Avenatti and (the unnamed co-conspirator) to conduct an ‘internal investigation’ -- an investigation that Nike did not request.” Authorities said Avenatti told Nike’s attorneys in a phone call on Wednesday that, “I’ll go take ten billion dollars off your client’s market cap ... I’m not (expletive) around.” Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles announced Monday they were charging Avenatti with wire and bank fraud in a separate case. Authorities plan to detail charges against him at a news conference scheduled for 2 p.m. EDT. Check back for updates to this developing story.
  • An Italian couple is under investigation after authorities say they performed a home circumcision on their 5-month-old son, causing the boy’s death.  The boy, whose parents are of Ghanian origin, was in critical condition when he was taken Friday night to a hospital in Scandiano in the province of Reggio Emilia, Italy’s ANSA news agency reported. He died overnight. >> Read more trending news This weekend’s death is not the first of a child who underwent an illegal circumcision in Italy. The BBC reported that a 2-year-old boy bled to death in December after undergoing a failed circumcision at a migrant center in the Roman suburb of Monterotondo.  The boy’s twin brother underwent the same surgery but survived after a stint in the intensive care unit.  In the December case, a 66-year-old man was charged with murder in the toddler’s death, the BBC reported.  The 2-year-old and his brother were born in Italy, but their parents were from Nigeria, according to the BBC. The man charged with killing the boy is an American of Libyan heritage.  The BBC reported that circumcision is unavailable in public health institutions. Italy’s Roman Catholic majority does not practice circumcision, but many of the country’s Muslim immigrants do.  Private clinics will perform the procedure, but the surgery can be costly. There are people willing to circumcise children for a fraction of the cost, the news agency reported.  In the December case, the procedure was performed at a refugee center run by the Monterotondo council and nonprofit group Arci. Arci officials condemned the incident in a Facebook post, in which they said in 2018, there should be “no sorcerers and midwives.” “The Monterotondo tragedy leaves the whole of Arci, starting with our Arci workers in Rome, sorrowful and upset,” the post read, as translated from Italian. One commenter argued for a near-complete ban on circumcision.   “Circumcision should be considered a sexual mutilation, apart from the few cases in which it is appropriate for medical reasons, and therefore prohibited and punished if practiced,” the woman, Claudia Lanzi, wrote.  Another woman, Barbara Pilati, asked how it is mutilation if it causes no damage. “It is made to children who cannot express their opinion,” Lanzi responded.  ANSA reported that between 4,000 and 5,000 immigrant children undergo circumcisions in Italy each year. About 35 percent of those procedures are done illegally.  Yassine Lafram, who heads the Bologna area’s Islamic community, condemned the fatal procedure on the infant Monday. “We learn of the terrible news of the death of a 5-month-old baby following an illegal circumcision with dismay,” Lafram told ANSA. “It’s a death that could certainly have been avoided and pains us deeply.”
  • Police opened an investigation Monday into a deadly officer-involved shooting in north Charlotte. >> Read more trending news Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Chief Kerr Putney told WSOC-TV that officers responded just after 9 a.m. to the Burger King on Beatties Ford Road, near Interstate 85.  Dozens of police cruisers could be seen surrounding the fast-food restaurant, which was roped off with crime scene tape. Putney said officers responded to a call about an armed man at the business. The man gave employees an uneasy feeling, Putney said, so they called police. When officers arrived, they spotted the man outside the Burger King, according to Putney. Authorities said the man was still armed when officers arrived, and they repeatedly ordered him to drop the weapon. Putney said an officer felt there was a lethal threat and shot the man at least once. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His name has not been released. A witness told WSOC-TV the armed man had gotten into an argument with an employee inside the restaurant and that another man intervened and was assaulted by the suspect. Police have not confirmed that witness's account. Police said no officers were hurt. The shooting remains under investigation, and no other details have been released.
  • ORLANDO, Fla. - The trailer for the new movie, Lucy in the Sky,  portrays Natalie Portman as an astronaut struggling to readjust to life on Earth after seeing 'the whole universe.' The film is loosely based on real-life astronaut Lisa Nowak, who became embroiled in an affair with fellow astronaut Bill Oefelein. But when they broke up, and he began to date U.S. Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman, Nowak became enraged. She made national headlines when she drove 900 miles from Houston to Orlando and packed a trench coat, black wig, pepper spray, a BB gun, rope, trash bags and an 8-inch knife in an attempt to kidnap Shipman. Nowak was discharged from NASA and the Navy.

Washington Insider

  • A day after Congress was told the Mueller investigation had not found evidence of coordination or conspiracy involving Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 elections, a leading GOP Senator vowed to fully investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, arguing that President Donald Trump may have been the victim of overzealous investigators inside the Justice Department. 'The double standard here has been striking and quite frankly disappointing,' said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who told reporters at the Capitol on Monday morning that it's time to find out more about how the investigation began during the 2016 campaign, how it meshed with the probe into Hillary Clinton's emails, and whether there had been bias inside the Justice Department and FBI against President Trump. While Graham said he would conduct oversight via the Senate Judiciary Committee, the South Carolina Republican also said he wants a more formal review by the Justice Department, and U.S. Attorney General William Barr. 'What I want to do is see if he'll appoint a Special Counsel,' Graham said, as he argued that President Trump had been unfairly targeted. Graham said he would look at the role of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch - who tried to step back from the Clinton email investigation, which led to the broader involvement of former FBI Director James Comey. 'What was the conflict that made Loretta Lynch so unable to preside over the Clinton email investigation?' Graham asked. While Graham ticked off the boxes of a series of questions which have dominated conservative talk radio over the past two years, the ally of the President made clear he agreed with the Mueller report findings on one very key issue - that the Russians were responsible for the hacking of the Democratic Party in 2016. “It was the Russians - it wasn’t some 300 pound guy sitting on a bed somewhere,” Graham said, making reference to a quote by President Trump, who at times has rejected assertions that Russian Intelligence was responsible for the hacking of emails from Clinton campaign and DNC officials. Graham said he also wanted answers on how the Obama Administration handled the initial developments in the Russia investigation - which came during the 2016 campaign. 'Nobody went to President Trump to tell him, there may be some people in your orbit that are connected to the Russians and working with the Russians,' Graham said at a news conference. At the White House, President Trump kept his comments limited about the Mueller report, saying he would not oppose the release of the details of the report, if that’s what Attorney General Barr wants to do. Asked during an event in the Oval Office whether the Special Counsel had done his job honorably, Mr. Trump responded: 'Yes, he did.' “I wish it could have gone a lot sooner, a lot quicker,” the President added.