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The State Department’s Inspector General became the latest overseer to be fired by Trump

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U.S. State Department Inspector General Steve Linick departs the U.S. Capitol October 02, 2019 in Washington, DC. Linick reportedly met with congressional officials to brief them on information related to the impeachment inquiry centered around U.S. President Donald Trump.

“It is very important that I have full trust in the appointees acting as Inspector General. That is no longer a problem for this Inspector General,” Trump said in a letter sent Friday night to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The letter stated that the dismissal was effective in 30 days.

Friday’s announcement reflected the dismissal of former Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Michael Atkinson last month and came when Trump continued his attacks on the government’s internal surveillance. The president has repeatedly shown hostility to independent oversight from within the government, often targeting officials he sees as a legacy from President Barack Obama’s administration or part of the so-called “internal state,” which he believes is in harmony with him.

Linick, who was first appointed as inspector general by Obama, had a small role in the investigation of impeachment.

Linick gave personal guidance to bipartisan staff from eight DPR and Senate committees and gave them documents received by the State Department from Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. The documents include baseless accusations against Biden and former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. By doing this, he severed relations with the leadership of the State Department who vowed not to cooperate with the investigation.

READ: Trump announced that he would fire the State Department’s inspector general
A State Department spokesman confirmed Linick’s dismissal and said that Ambassador Stephen Akard, an ally of Vice President Mike Pence, would take on the role. Akard’s relationship with Pence, which originated from when he worked under the then Indiana Governor, Pence as the head of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, had previously placed former diplomats who saw him as part of the State Department’s politicization.

“On September 11, 2019, Ambassador Akard was confirmed by the Senate, 90-2, to lead the Department’s Foreign Mission Office and we look forward to him leading the Office of the Inspector General,” said a Foreign Ministry spokesman. Akard is a former career Foreign Service Officer who served as a special assistant in the Executive Secretariat, as a political official and general official at the Brussels Embassy, ​​and served as a consular officer at the US Consulate General in Mumbai.

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A senior State Department official confirmed that State Secretary Mike Pompeo made a recommendation for Linick to be transferred, but the official did not know the reason. The decision to choose Akard as his successor was made in consultation with his management team, but Pompeo finally made the decision, the official said.

“This is frightening and completely unexpected,” a State Department source close to Linick told CNN.

This source does not know anything that seems to trigger Trump’s general outrage with what he considers a deep state.

Another source said that senior staff at the State Department’s Inspector General’s office were blind. Akard had been named under a job vacancy to cut Linick’s deputy, Diana Shaw, who had just taken on a role this month after moving from the Inspector General’s office of the Department of Homeland Security. CBS first reported the role of Pompeo.

Linick began his work in September 2013. He was previously a prosecutor of the Department of Justice and worked as a high-ranking official of the Department of Justice fraud. He also served as the first Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

At the State Department, Linick oversaw an investigation into the use of former State Secretary Hillary Clinton’s private email server. His May 2016 report on the investigation criticized Clinton, saying that the former secretary failed to follow the rules or inform key department staff about their use on private servers.

He is also a US assistant lawyer in California and Virginia. Linick served as executive director of the Justice Department’s National Procurement Fraud Task Force and deputy chief of fraud in the DOJ Criminal Division from 2006 to 2010.

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“During his tenure at the Department of Justice, he oversaw and participated in cases of white-collar fraud involving, inter alia, corruption and contract fraud against the US in Iraq and Afghanistan,” according to the State Department biography.

The dismissal immediately drew criticism from members of the Democratic Congress.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the “late-night, weekend dismissal” from Linick an “acceleration of the President’s dangerous pattern of retaliation against patriotic public servants accused of overseeing on behalf of the American people.”

Pelosi added that the shooting would “reverse the important work of the Office of the Inspector General to carry out critical audits, investigations and inspections of US embassies and programs around the world” during the coronavirus crisis.

Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who is a ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee, called the shooting “embarrassing” in a tweet.

Trump has now fired several inspectors general after the Senate acquitted him of two articles of impeachment in early February, because of the country’s attention to fighting the corona virus. The president, CNN previously reported, had been fixated on cleaning up his government from government overseers who he saw as Obama’s loyalists.

In early April, Trump dismissed the intelligence community’s inspector general, Atkinson, who had told Congress about complaints that led to Trump’s impeachment.

Within a week, Trump removed the acting inspector general for the Department of Defense, Glenn Fine, from his post. Fine’s removal from top office made him no longer eligible to lead an accountability committee tasked with overseeing coronavirus emergency funds.

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Trump also openly attacked high-ranking officials in the office of the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services over reports of hospitals facing shortages.

Representative Gerry Connolly, a Democrat from Virginia, condemned a series of dismissals on Friday.

“IG shooting (fourth) is intended to intimidate and silence those who want to hold corruption accountable,” Connolly said on Twitter. “This is an attack on our democracy and should trouble all members of Congress. The Republican silence over this is negligence of duty.”

This is an extraordinary story and will be updated.

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Portuguese TV project ‘O Último Lobo’ wins 2 awards in Spain

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Portuguese TV project 'O Último Lobo' wins 2 awards in Spain

“BUT SPi introduced [na Conecta, que decorreu entre terça-feira e hoje em Toledo,] two of his upcoming art projects, “Code 632” and “O Último Lobo”, the latter of which is one of the finalists of the “pitching” session and received the RTVE award, the event’s highest award, which means an agreement between the Spanish public broadcaster RTVE and the ACORDE award” , the Portuguese producer said in a statement released today.

The Last Lobo, an eight-episode co-production between SPi and Caracol Studios and written by Bruno Gascon, is “a crime drama that tells the story of Lobo, one of Europe’s biggest drug dealers.”

“Code 632”, a co-production of RTP and Globoplay, is a six-episode series based on the book “O Code 632” by José Rodrigues dos Santos.

Recording for this series will begin in July and will be split between Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro. According to RTP, in a statement released this week, the book adaptation for the series is being handled by Pedro López and directed by Sergio Graciano.

“Based on authentic historical documents, Codex 632 focuses on a cryptic message found among the papers the old historian left behind in Rio de Janeiro before he died,” recalls RTP.

The cast included Portuguese and Brazilian actors and starred Paulo Pires and Deborah Secco.

SPi, part of the SP Televisão group, produced the Netflix series Gloria and co-produced Auga Seca for HBO Portugal, among others.

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Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira in 16th place after the first free practice in Assen – DNOTICIAS.PT

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Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira in 16th place after the first free practice in Assen – DNOTICIAS.PT

Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira (KTM) finished the first two free practices of the MotoGP Grand Prix in Assen in 16th place.

Oliveira finished the day with a time of 1.34.676 minutes, 1.402 seconds behind the best rider of the day, Italy’s Francesco Banagia (Ducati). Spaniard Aleix Espargaro (April) was second with 0.178 seconds and French champion Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) was third with 0.305 seconds.

After the first session in the rain, in which the rider from Almada was sixth fastest, the rain stopped before the start of the second session.

The riders started with intermediate tires, but as the track in Assen in the Netherlands, considered the “cathedral” of motorsport, dried up, they installed dry tires (slicks).

Under these conditions, Miguel Oliveira was losing ground in the table, ending the day in 16th place, despite an improvement of about nine seconds from the morning’s record, in rain, in which Australian Jack Miller (Ducati) was the fastest. , fifth in the afternoon.

On Saturday there will be two more free practices and qualifications.

The 10 fastest in the set of the first three sessions go directly to the second stage of qualification (Q2), and the remaining 14 “brawl” in Q1, resulting in the two fastest qualifying to the next stage.

Fabio Quartararo enters this 11th round of the season leading the championship with 172 points, while Miguel Oliveira is in 10th place with 64 points.

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Portuguese MNEs defend that Mercosur is a “natural partner” of the European Union at the moment – Observer

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Portuguese MNEs defend that Mercosur is a "natural partner" of the European Union at the moment - Observer

This Thursday, Portugal’s foreign minister said that at a time when the European Union (EU) seeks to diversify suppliers and markets, MERCOSUR is a natural partner whose importance cannot be “underestimated”.

For Portugal, “the current delicate context makes us appreciate even more the mutual advantages of the Agreement between the EU and MERCOSUR,” João Gomes Cravinho said, without directly referring to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“At a time when the EU is seeking to diversify suppliers and markets in order to ensure greater strategic autonomy, MERCOSUR is a natural partner, whose importance we cannot underestimate“, the minister added at a conference entitled “Brazil and Portugal: perspectives for the future”, which takes place from Thursday to Friday at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.

The Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) is a South American economic bloc created in 1991, whose founding members are Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

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But still, within the framework of the European Union, Joao Gomes Cravinho believed that EU strategic partnership with Brazil left ‘untapped’.

The Minister stressed that in the context of the EU, Portugal “always knew how to use its position in favor of strengthening relations with Brazil.”

Therefore, it was during the Portuguese presidency, in 2007, that a “strategic partnership with Brazil” was established, he stressed.

However, according to the head of Portuguese diplomacy, this is “a partnership that has clearly not been used for a variety of reasons and which still retains the ability to position Brazil as Europe’s great interlocutor for South America.”

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With regard to bilateral relations between the two countries, the minister emphasized that “in this context of global turmoil, the wisdom of the central characteristic common to the foreign policy of Brazil and Portugal, which is active participation in many multilateral structures, in recognition of the indispensability of multilateralism, international cooperation and global rules based order.

Portugal meets with Brazil in all areas of Portuguese foreign policy. We are Atlantic, we are Ibero-American and Portuguese-speaking,” he said.

In the Atlantic dimension, “Portugal and Brazil are united by an ocean, which we recognize as growing in importance in the context of new, complex and truly existential issues,” he said.

According to João Gomes Cravinho, “Some of these problems can be answered in the Atlantic Center, co-founded by Portugal and Brazil”, and “the other part of the huge ocean problems will be addressed in detail at the great Summit.” Oceans”, which will be held in Lisbon next week.

“In any of the areas, new prospects are opening up for Portuguese-Brazilian relations,” he stressed.

With regard to Ibero-America, the minister believes that Portugal and Brazil share “an enormous strategic space with the Castilian-speaking countries, where a joint Portuguese-Brazilian reflection is undoubtedly recommended on the potential to exploit opportunities and create synergies”.

“Value of CPLP [Comunidade de Países de Língua Portuguesa] is gaining more and more recognition at the international level – and the evidence of this is the growing number of states that become associate observers” of the organization, he believes.

“Because they want to engage with us and reinforce the value of the linguistic, cultural and historical ties that unify lusophony and create a unique dynamic for relationships with third parties,” he stressed.

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But even at this level, he argued that there was an urgent need to find a “convergence of visions and desires” that “allows us to enhance” our “separate realities.”

The minister also mentioned that “despite the break caused by the pandemic”, Portugal has a “real air bridge” with Brazil, consisting of more than 74 weekly TAP flights, which is a cause and effect of “a dynamic that is being updated and reinvented”. relations between the two countries.

This dynamic, according to Gomes Cravinho, is also reflected in economic and commercial relations.

Thus, “Brazil is the first Latin American export market for Portuguese merchandise and is already the fourth largest merchandise export destination (outside the EU).

“However, the conviction remains that the potential is far from being realized, and that nostalgia for the future entails a vision of a different profile of our exchanges, a technological, creative profile that corresponds to global geo-economic transformations,” he defended. .

At this stage, João Gomes Cravinho also underlined the potential of the port of Sines, “whose strategic importance, which has long been noted, takes on new importance in the troubled times that we are going through.”

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