Former Trump Campaign Officials Arrested in Russia Probe
Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s attempts to sabotage the 2016 election has yielded charges against three veterans of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign:
Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, and his business partner, Rick Gates, have been indicted by a federal grand jury on twelve counts, including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, failure to register as foreign agents, giving false and misleading statements and failure to report foreign bank accounts.
George Papadopoulos, a former Trump foreign-policy advisor, has pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia during the campaign. Read more
Salvini Would Pick Populists Over Center-Left for Coalition
Italy’s Northern League would rather go into coalition with the populist Five Star Movement than the mainstream center-left, its leader, Matteo Salvini, has said.
Speaking in Palermo on Monday, the conservative lamented that the Five Stars are “showing their incompetence where they govern.”
But, he added, “if I were to call someone, I wouldn’t call Renzi or Alfano” — referring to Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi and Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, the leader of the small center-right Popular Alternative.
Renzi’s Democrats are polling neck and neck with the Five Star Movement. Salvini’s Northern League is vying with former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia to become the largest party on the right. Support for the Popular Alternative is in the single digits. Read more
Old-School Leftists Break with Democratic Party in Italy
The likelihood of elections being called soon is escalating tensions in Italy’s ruling center-left Democratic Party.
Senate speaker Pietro Grasso has left the party after criticizing the way it enacted electoral reforms. (By tying them to confidence votes, the government ensured they would pass without amendments.)
The Democrats and Progressives — left-wing critics of former prime minister and Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi — applauded Grasso’s move.
Former prime minister Massimo D’Alema, now a member of the Democrats and Progressives, said Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni “has become like Renzi.”
Four Renzi loyalists — Transportation Minister Graziano Delrio, Sports Minister Luca Lotti, Agricultural Minister Maurizio Martina and Cabinet Secretary Maria Elena Boschi — did not attend a cabinet meeting this week where Ignazio Visco was confirmed to serve another term as governor of the Bank of Italy. Renzi wanted him out. Read more
Catalonia’s Far Left Could Hold the Key to Independence
Catalonia’s far left could hold the key to independence after the next regional election.
Snap elections are likely in the next few months, whether called by the regional government to preempt the suspension of home rule or by the Spanish government once home rule is suspended
Polls suggest the ruling center-right European Democratic Party (PDeCAT) will trade places with its junior partner, the Republican Left.
But the balance between pro- and anti-independence parties could be unchanged — unless Catalonia in Common (Barcelona mayor Ada Colau’s party) and Podem (the Catalan branch of Podemos) change sides. Read more