Republicans End Russia Probe, Italian Democrats Choose Opposition
Republicans in the House have wrapped up their Russia investigation and declared there was no collusion with the Donald Trump campaign.
Just like that.
I don’t think anyone was expecting House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes to release an unbiased report. He has been doing Trump’s bidding from the start. But to simply declare the investigation over, without the Democrats’ consent, is brazen.
This isn’t the first time Republicans have put party before country. When evidence of Russian meddling in the election emerged in late 2016, Senate leader Mitch McConnell warned President Barack Obama that he would consider it an act of partisan politics if his administration released the information.
When intelligence agencies finally did tell the public Russia was tampering with the election, on the same day (such a coincidence!) WikiLeaks published stolen emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief, John Podesta. Read more
Left-Right Coalition Would Be Best Outcome for Italy
There are two realistic outcomes to Italy’s election on Sunday: a right-wing government that includes the xenophobic Brothers of Italy and Northern League or a German-style grand coalition between Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and the Democrats.
The second would be better for Italy and for Europe. To make that outcome more likely, Italians should vote for the center-left. Read more
Both left-wing opponents and supporters of the former Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, are strengthening their ties ahead of parliamentary elections.
Dissidents from Renzi’s Democratic Party are due to join the far left in new party, led by Senate speaker Pietro Grasso.
Grasso has ruled out an alliance with the Democrats. He left the party in October.
The Progressive Camp, led by the former mayor of Milan, Giuliano Pisapia, is willing to do a deal with the Democrats provided they support a bill that would give citizenship to the children of immigrants who have spent at least five years in Italian schools. Read more
Italian Parties Draw Battle Lines Ahead of Election
Italian parties are drawing battle lines ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections:
Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi, who hopes to become prime minister for a second time, has ruled out another grand coalition with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia. Polls suggest such a left-right pact may be the only alternative to a Euroskeptic government.
Small left-wing parties have ruled out an alliance with the Democrats. Senate speaker Pietro Grasso, who broke with Renzi in October, is planning to lead a new party, which could split the left-wing vote in favor of the right and the populist Five Star Movement.
Berlusconi is appealing a ban from public office, owing to a conviction for tax fraud, to the European Court of Human Rights, but it is unlikely to rule in time for him to stand for election.
The formerly separatist Northern League, which splits the right-wing vote with Berlusconi’s party, has said it would rather go into government with the Five Star Movement than Renzi.
The Five Stars have ruled out coalitions altogether. Read more
Pier Luigi Bersani, the leader of Italy’s dissident leftist party, has opened the door to a pact with the ruling Democrats, saying, “If they want to talk to us, they must know that they should come with proposals.”
Bersani’s nemesis, Matteo Renzi, who toppled the older man in 2013, called for left-wing unity on Monday.
“There is more harmony with people with whom we have been divided by arguments and controversies than with our traditional rivals,” he argued. Read more