Uprising in Venezuela, an infrastructure deal, and Trump sues banks to block House investigations

An uprising in Venezuela, Trump and Democrats agree to an infrastructure deal, Trump sues 2 banks to block House investigation by Democrats, and much, much more.

 

Good evening, it’s Tuesday, April 30th, here’s what you need to know…

 

 

1. Uprising in Venezuela

 

Tensions have escalated and chaos has erupted in Venezuela as government officials say they are confronting a coup attempt backed by opposition leader Juan Guaidó. Guaidó, who has been recognized by most democratic nations, including the U.S., as the country’s legitimate interim president, called for the military to overthrow the socialist government of Nicolás Maduro on Tuesday. In the early morning hours, Guaidó released a video of him standing alongside soldiers and supporters, calling on the military to stage an uprising and turn against embattled President Maduro. Military commanders rejected the call which resulted in violent street protests and clashes between pro-government forces and armed opposition supporters in the capital city of Caracas. Maduro called the anti-government protests a “coup” attempt as Venezuela’s political crisis intensifies to its most violent point. Guaidó supporters were captured by television cameras throwing objects at armored military vehicles, which retaliated at one point by plowing into the crowd. The total number of injuries or possible deaths remain unclear at this point. Guaidó has declared himself as the interim president ever since Nicolás Maduro was re-elected as president in a contested election marred by claims of fraud. President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and other U.S. officials reiterated their support for Juan Guaidó on Tuesday.

 

2. Russia convinced Maduro to stay in power as he was prepared to leave Venezuela

 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was prepared to flee the country amid an uprising by government opponents led by Juan Guaidó, but was convinced to stay by Russian officials. “He had an airplane on the tarmac, he was ready to leave this morning as we understand it and the Russians indicated he should stay,” Pompeo said Tuesday. He added that Maduro was headed for Cuba, a longtime supporter of his oppressive regime, before he was talked into staying in power by Russia, also an ally of Maduro. Sec. Pompeo’s announcement came several hours after Venezuelan officials loyal to President Maduro said they were fighting a surprise “coup” led by opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who called the uprising a “final phase” in his plan to oust Maduro.

 

3. Trump and Democrats agree to $2 trillion infrastructure deal

 

President Donald Trump and congressional Democratic leadership have agreed to a budget of $2 trillion to spend on infrastructure improvements over 25 years. The rare bipartisan agreement was struck after a 90-minute meeting between the president, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer at the White House Tuesday morning. Schumer said the meeting was “very constructive” and called the $2 trillion spending “very, very good” for infrastructure, adding that he and Pelosi had originally proposed a lower amount, but Trump was “willing” to increase spending. Infrastructure projects such as bridges, highways, water, broadband, and the power grid would be the focus of improvements, Schumer said. Rebuilding America’s aging infrastructure has long been a bipartisan issue and one that will likely boost the economy and create jobs across the country. The trio will meet again in three weeks to discuss how the $2 trillion proposal will be paid for. WASHINGTON EXAMINER

 

 

4. Trump sues 2 banks to block Democrats’ investigation

 

President Trump, his children, and his business, The Trump Organization, have filed a lawsuit against Deutsche Bank and Capital One to prevent the banks from providing Trump’s financial records to congressional committees in response to subpoenas for the information. The move is the second recent action taken by Trump in court to stonewall House investigations by congressional Democrats who are probing the president’s finances. The president and his children have criticized the investigations by the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees as too wide-ranging and as a means of harassment. In the complaint filed on Monday with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the plaintiffs argue that the congressional subpoenas “have no legitimate or lawful purpose” and are intended “to rummage through every aspect of [Trump’s] personal finances, his businesses, and the private information of the President and his family.” The complaint adds that the subpoenas were issued to unearth “any material that might be used to cause him political damage.” After taking control of the House following the 2018 mid-term election, Democrats have vowed to investigate the president’s finances, including that of his business entities and his family. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the chairs of both committees named in the suit, said in a joint statement that Trump’s latest action was “only designed to put off meaningful accountability as long as possible.”

 

 

5. California synagogue gunman pleads not guilty

 

Josh T. Earnest, the 19-year-old man accused of perpetrating the deadly Chabad of Poway synagogue shooting in San Diego, California, on Saturday, has entered a plea of not guilty. Earnest was arraigned in a San Diego courthouse on charges of murder and attempted murder for killing Lori Gilbert Kaye and wounding three others. It was the first time he has appeared publicly since the shooting and he was ordered to be held without bail. Prosecutors said Earnest legally purchased an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle that he used to attack the Jewish congregants and entered the synagogue with more than five 10-round magazines on him. He could face life in prison without parole or the death penalty if convicted, the district attorney’s office said.

 

 

 

6. Minneapolis police officer convicted of murder

 

A former Minneapolis police officer was convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a 40-year-old dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia, in July 2017. Mohamed Noor, 33, a Somali immigrant and a two-year veteran of the police department was found guilty following jury deliberations that lasted more than 11 hours over two days. Damond, who was unarmed, was killed after calling 911 to report a possible rape near her home and approached Noor’s vehicle minutes later. Noor, who was a passenger in his partner’s squad car, fired a single fatal shot at Damond after he testified that she appeared at the driver side window and raised her right arm – allegedly startling the pair of officers. He testified to firing his weapon to protect his partner’s life. The death of Damond sparked both international and national outrage and intensified tensions between the police and Minneapolis-area communities. Noor could face a total of 20 years in prison at his sentence hearing scheduled for June 7.

 

 

 

7. Japan’s Emperor steps down

 

Japan’s Emperor Akihito has formally abdicated the Chrysanthemum Throne, becoming the first emperor to do so in more than 200 years. The abdication took place Tuesday during a historic ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo as Akihito’s son, Crown Prince Naruhito, 59, will be inaugurated as Japan’s 126th emperor on Wednesday. At 85 years old, Akihito will have served as emperor for 31 years after he became the first to serve in the symbolic position following Japan’s post-World War II constitution. “Since ascending the throne 30 years ago, I have performed my duties as the emperor with a deep sense of trust in and respect for the people, and I consider myself most fortunate to have been able to do so,” Emperor Akihito said during the Tuesday ceremony. NPR

 

 

8. ISIS’ mysterious leader appears to be alive

 

The Islamic State’s reclusive leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has appeared for the first time in nearly 5 years after ISIS released a video purporting to show him. The 18-minute propaganda video shows al-Baghdadi praising the terrorists who carried out the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka that targeted churches and hotels earlier this month. The attacks killed more than 300 people and injured 500 others. The video was released by the terror group’s al-Furqan news network on Monday, but the exact date or time when the video was recorded could not be verified. Al-Baghdadi is a mysterious figure who rarely makes public appearances and little public information is known about him. The last time his face was shown was in 2014 when he appeared in a video speaking from Mosul, Iraq, when the caliphate he led was growing in strength. Al-Baghdadi was previously reported — on numerous occasions — to have been killed during the war campaign in Syria and Iraq.

 

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