05.01.2019 • WedneSday • M 1
ST. LOUIS POST-dISPaTCH • A7
Democrats, Trump push $2 trillion infrastructure plan ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON • In a rare mo-
ment of bipartisanship in Washington, President Donald Trump and Democratic congressional leaders agreed Tuesday to work toward a $2 trillion infrastructure plan to rebuild roads and bridges, provide clean water and extend broadband coverage — but they put off the thorny matter of how to pay for it. Both sides seemed determined to show a willingness to work with the other, even as tension between the White House and congressional Democrats has intensified with the
Schumer added that: “In previous meetings, the president has said, ‘If these investigations continue, I can’t work with you.’” But this time, Schumer said, “He didn’t bring it up.” Schumer said the two sides agreed that infrastructure investments create jobs and make the United States more competitive economically with the rest of the world. Most importantly, Schumer said, “we agreed on a number.” “Originally, we had started a little lower. Even the president was eager to push it up to $2 trillion, and that is a very good thing,” Schumer said.
release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report on Russia meddling in the 2016 elections. Democrats have multiple investigations of the Trump administration underway, and Trump’s White House is resisting them. But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said there was “good will in the meeting” — a marked departure from the last White House encounter between Trump and Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which ended with Trump walking out. “We did come to one agreement: that the agreement would be big and bold,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi and congressional Democrats had asked for the meeting with Trump to discuss launching an ambitious building program that’s a top priority for the party and has been a rare area of potential bipartisan accord with Republicans. Trump, too, has long promised a big infrastructure plan. When Democratic lawmakers emerged, they said Trump agreed that infrastructure investments should go beyond roads and bridges and water systems to also include broadband. Democrats also put the onus on Trump to come up with a plan for how to pay for the package,
Intelligence agency’s leader calls for change VENEZUELA • FROM A1
with the support of the United States and neighboring Colombia. He said Venezuela had been a victim of “aggression of all kinds.” Meanwhile, Guaidó sought to keep the momentum going at the end of the day by releasing his own video message in which he pressed Venezuelans to take to the streets again on Wednesday. The competing quests to solidify a hold on power capped a dramatic day that included a tense moment when armored vehicles plowed into anti-government demonstrators trying to storm the capital’s air base, hitting at least two protesters. U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said the Trump administration was waiting for three key officials, including Maduro’s defense minister and head of the supreme court, to act on what he said were private pledges to remove Maduro. He did not provide details. The stunning events began early Tuesday when Guaidó, ﬂanked by a few dozen national guardsmen and some armored crowd-control vehicles, released the three-minute video shot near the Carlota air base. In a surprise, Leopoldo Lopez, Guaidó’s political mentor and the nation’s most-prominent opposition activist, stood alongside him. Detained in 2014 for leading a previous round of antigovernment unrest, Lopez said he had been released from house arrest by security forces adhering to an order from Guaidó. “I want to tell the Venezuelan people: This is the moment to take to the streets and accompany these patriotic soldiers,” Lopez declared. As the two opposition leaders coordinated actions from a highway overpass, troops loyal to Maduro ﬁred tear gas from inside the adjacent air base. A crowd that quickly swelled to a few thousand scurried for cover, reappearing later with Guaidó at a plaza a few blocks from the disturbances. A smaller
Attorney general set to speak to congressional committee MUELLER • FROM A1
Opponents to Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro face off with members of the Bolivarian National Guard in armored vehicles Tuesday during an uprising in Caracas, Venezuela.
manders who reaffirmed their loyalty. “Nerves of steel!” he said in a message posted on Twitter. Flanked by top military commanders, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López condemned Guaidó’s move as a “terrorist” act and “coup attempt.” Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said the “right-wing extremists” would not succeed in fracturing the armed forces, which have largely stood with the socialist leader throughout the turmoil. But in a sign that Maduro’s inner circle could be fracturing, the head of Venezuela’s secret police penned a letter breaking ranks with the embattled leader. Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, the head of Venezuela’s feared SEBIN intelligence agency, wrote a letter to the Venezuelan people saying that while he has always been loyal to Maduro it is now time to “rebuild the country.” He lamented that corruption has become so rampant that “many high-ranking public servants practice it like a sport.” The letter circulating on social media was confirmed by a senior U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to divulge details of the case.
group of masked youths stayed behind on the highway, lobbing rocks and Molotov cocktails toward the air base and setting a government bus on ﬁre. Amid the mayhem, several armored utility vehicles careened over a berm and drove at full speed into the crowd. “It’s now or never,” said one of the young rebellious soldiers, his face covered in the blue bandanna worn by the few dozen insurgent soldiers. The head of a medical center near the site of the street battles said doctors were treating 50 people, about half of them with injuries suffered from rubber bullets. At least one person had been shot with live ammunition. Venezuelan human rights group Provea said a 24-year-old man was shot and killed during an anti-government protest in the city of La Victoria. Later Tuesday, Lopez and his family sought refuge in the Chilean ambassador’s residence in Caracas, where another political ally has been holed up for over a year. They later moved to the Spanish embassy. There were also reports that 25 troops who had been with Guaidó fled to Brazil’s diplomatic mission. Amid the confusion, Maduro tried to project an image of strength, saying he had spoken to several regional military com-
proceedings and mull how hard to press for Mueller to testify publicly. At the time that Mueller’s letter was sent to Barr on March 27, Barr had days prior announced that Mueller did not ﬁnd a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian officials seeking to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. In his memo to Congress, Barr said that Mueller had not reached a conclusion about whether Trump had tried to obstruct justice, but that Barr reviewed the evidence and found it insufficient to support such a charge. Days after Barr’s announcement, Mueller wrote the previously undisclosed letter to the Justice Department, laying out his concerns in terms that shocked senior Justice Department officials, according to people familiar with discussions. “The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote. “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.” The letter made a key request: that Barr release the 448-page report’s introductions and executive summaries, and it made suggested redactions for doing so, according to Justice Department officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment. Justice Department officials said Tuesday that they were taken aback by the tone of Mueller’s letter and that it came as a surprise to them that he had such concerns. Until they re-
ceived the letter, they believed Mueller was in agreement with them on the process of reviewing the report and redacting certain information. Barr has testiﬁed to Congress previously that Mueller declined the opportunity to review the four-page memo to lawmakers that distilled the essence of the special counsel’s ﬁndings. In his letter to Barr, Mueller wrote that the redaction process “need not delay release of the enclosed materials. Release at this time would alleviate the misunderstandings that have arisen and would answer congressional and public questions about the nature and outcome of our investigation.” Barr is scheduled to appear Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee — a muchanticipated public confrontation between the nation’s top law enforcement official and Democratic lawmakers, where he is likely to be questioned about his interactions with Mueller. A day after Mueller sent his letter to Barr, the two men spoke by phone, according to law enforcement officials. In that call, Mueller said he was concerned that media coverage of the obstruction investigation was creating public misunderstandings about the ofﬁce’s work, according to Justice Department officials. Mueller did not express similar concerns about the discussion of the investigation of Russia’s election interference, the officials said. The Washington Post and the New York Times had previously reported some members of Mueller’s team were frustrated with Barr’s memo, though Mueller’s attitude was unknown. Mueller’s report described 10 signiﬁcant episodes of possible obstruction of justice but said that because of Justice Department policy that says a sitting president cannot be indicted, his team did not reach a conclusion about whether the president had committed a crime.
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and said they would meet again in three weeks, when the president will present his ideas. An administration official said paying for infrastructure is something both sides have to work on together. The nation’s top business groups and labor unions support increasing the federal gasoline tax, currently 18.3 cents a gallon. It was last raised in 1993. Schumer said the president didn’t rule out tax increases to pay for infrastructure. The meeting included a dozen congressional Democrats and numerous administration officials.
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