Thursday morning news: April 11, 2019


E.U. grants British prime ministers request for Brexit delay » The UK is staying in the European Union at least a little while longer.

With Britain set to crash out of the EU tomorrow with no divorce agreement in place, Prime Minister Theresa May pleaded with EU leaders for a lengthy Brexit delay. And on Wednesday, members states voted to grant her request.

Britain now has until the end of October to come together on a plan.

European Council President Donald Tusk said the extension is a little shorter than he expected.

TUSK: But it’s still enough to find the best possible solution. Please do not waste this time.

EU leaders wrangled well into the night before agreeing to grant the six month extension.

The deal will allow Britain to leave earlier than October 31st if lawmakers can come together on a Brexit plan before that date.


Israeli prime minister poised for historic fifth term » Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is poised for a historic fifth term after his main rival Benny Gantz conceded defeat on Wednesday. That could make Netanyahu the country’s longest-serving prime minister.

With nearly all votes counted, Gantz’s Blue and White party and Netanyahu’s Likud party both won 35 seats each in the 120-seat parliament.

But as Israeli political analyst Emmanuel Navon explains, that really doesn’t matter.

NAVON: Even though the two parties, Likud and Blue and White party, are neck to neck, that is nearly irrelevant because at the end of the day you do need a majority in order to form a government. Netanyahu does have this majority. Gantz doesn’t. 

Netanyahu will likely form a coalition with nationalist and ultra-Orthodox allies to gain a ruling majority.


Pence calls un U.N. to join calls for Maduro to leave Venezuela » Vice President Mike Pence addressed world leaders at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday about the crisis in Venezuela.  

Pence urged the UN to accept the conclusion of more than 50 nations that disputed leader Nicolas Maduro rigged last year’s presidential election and must step aside.

PENCE: This body should revoke the credentials of Venezuela’s representative to the United Nations, recognize Interim President Juan Guaidó, and seat the representative of the free Venezuelan government without delay. 

And Pence directly addressed the Venezuelan envoy. Turning to face him at the opposite end of a horseshoe-shaped table, the vice president told Samuel Modcada…

PENCE: With all due respect Mr. ambassador, you shouldn’t be here. You should return to Venezuela and tell Nicolas Maduro that his time is up. It’s time for him to go. 

Pence said the U.S. will continue to apply diplomatic and economic pressure and still hopes for a peaceful transition of power. But he added, “all options are on the table.”


Attorney general says he is looking into “spying” on Trump campaign » Attorney General William Barr told lawmakers on a House panel Wednesday that “spying did occur” on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Testifying for a second day on Capitol Hill, Barr said he has concerns about the origins of the Russia probe and—quote—“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal.”

He clarified that he is not asserting that the surveillance was improper.

BARR: But I need to explore that. I think that is my obligation. Congress is usually very concerned about intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane, and I want to make sure that happened.

Barr disputed media reports that he’s already assembled a team to investigate.

Congressman Devin Nunes, the Republican ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, said earlier this week that he’s preparing to make eight criminal referrals to Barr regarding the Russia investigation.

On Tuesday Barr said the Justice Department’s inspector general is almost finished with its investigation into the origins of the probe.


Former Obama White House counsel reportedly expected charges from Russia probe » Meantime, new charges may be forthcoming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Lawyers for former Obama administration White House counsel Greg Craig reportedly say they expect their client to be charged in a foreign lobbying investigation that grew out of the special counsel’s Russia probe.  

The scrutiny of Craig stems from an investigation of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his work on behalf of a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. About three months ago, Craig’s former law firm agreed to pay more than $5 million and publicly acknowledge that it failed to report its work for the Ukrainian government.


(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves to his supporters after polls for Israel’s general elections closed in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, April 10, 2019. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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