The new resolution and bail-in regime in Europe hypothetically lets banks fail without resorting to public funding. This column examines the effects of the bail-in of the Portuguese Banco Espírito Santo. Existing borrowers from the banks exposed to the bail-in experienced a negative impact on their credit supply from these banks, but were able to compensate with increased borrowing from other, less-exposed banks. Nevertheless, the bail-in had negative real economy consequences with affected firms reducing investment and employment, while increasing precautionary cash holdings.
LOS ANGELES ― Two investigators with the beleaguered Orange County District Attorney’s Office, which faces three investigations over its prosecutors’ alleged misuse of jail informants, have accused multiple senior OCDA staff members of covering up evidence in separate cases. When the two investigators flagged evidence from their own investigations to staff, the pair claim they were met with punishment for merely doing their jobs. OCDA investigators Tom Conklin and Abraham Santos each filed separate claims with the county’s Board of Supervisors on Friday, arguing that they have been subjected to mistreatment by various OCDA staff and that their careers have been damaged in the process. The investigators make extensive and deeply troubling allegations against members of their own investigative unit and several OCDA prosecutors ― some of whom are linked to the ongoing jail informant scandal. It’s the latest in a series of allegations of misconduct against the embattled district attorney’s office, which along with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department has been embroiled in the sprawling snitch scandal for more than three years. At the center of the scandal is the misuse of a sophisticated informant program ― operated by sheriff’s deputies and utilized by prosecutors to secure convictions ― that has allegedly violated the civil rights of numerous defendants and led to the unraveling of more than a dozen murder cases in the county. New hearings linked to the scandal began just this week. The complaints filed by Conklin and Santos are a prerequisite for filing a lawsuit against public entities, their lawyer, Joel Baruch said in a statement. Baruch also said that both Conklin and Santos are “whistleblowers in the strictest sense” and that they have put their law enforcement careers in jeopardy by “ensuring that the Orange County District Attorney’s Office follows the law in protecting the constitutional and statutory rights of all of us.” Here’s the alarming claims made by the DA’s investigators: Prosecutors allegedly covered up evidence in the Stephenson Choi Kim murder case. In 2004, Stephenson Choi Kim, along with several other suspects, were charged in a shooting at a cafe in Cypress, California. Seven years later, Choi Kim would be found guilty of all charges, including one count of murder and multiple other counts including premeditated attempted murder and street terrorism. In 2012, Superior Court Judge John Conley sentenced Choi Kim to life without the possibility of parole, plus 255 years in prison. But that conviction and sentencing would turn out to be built on the back of cheating. During the Choi Kim trial, Susan White, an ex-investigator with the Cypress Police Department, testified that she had interviewed multiple eyewitnesses to the shooting and that those witnesses all identified Choi Kim, and others, as being present at the cafe when the killing occurred. However, those same eyewitnesses would go on to testify in the trial that they had not in fact identified Choi Kim as the killer. While then-Deputy District Attorney Cameron Talley, who has since retired, did not call White to the stand to testify about her false testimony, the defense did. White was then forced to admit that her police reports were false and that eyewitnesses she claimed to have positively identified Choi Kim had not done so. The defense asked Judge Conley to declare a mistrial, claiming that White had committed perjury. Despite this obvious misconduct, Judge Conley denied the mistrial motion and ruled that White had not lied under oath, but instead had simply conducted a sloppy investigation and written inaccurate police reports. When the trial ended, the defense wrote a letter to OCDA declaring that White had committed perjury at the trial, had written false police reports and had also forged pretrial lineup identification. That’s when OCDA asked Investigator Conklin to review the allegations. In 2011, just three months after Choi Kim’s trial ended, Conklin completed his investigation into the matter and determined that Choi Kim’s defense attorneys were correct ― White had participated in the tainting of evidence, falsely manufactured her police reports and had committed perjury on the witness stand. But when he informed prosecutor Talley of his findings, Conklin says the prosecutor told him “it would be preferable if you said your investigation was not completed until after the date of the sentencing.” In other words, the complaint reads, Talley “did not want to advise” Choi Kim’s defense attorneys about Conklin’s findings “since he was concerned that it might result in a new trial” for Choi Kim. Conklin says Talley would never go on to inform Choi Kim’s lawyers about his findings. In June 2011, Conklin says his investigation was given to another prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Aleta Bryant, to review what, if any, criminal charges would be brought against White. Conklin says that around this same time prosecutor Talley was given a disk containing Conklin’s entire investigative materials in the White matter, including an interview he conducted with White, all audio recordings and transcripts of the eyewitness’ pretrial statements. However, about two weeks later, Conklin was told that OCDA had never received recorded pretrial interviews with two of the witnesses that Conklin had collected himself and which were contained on the disk he turned over to Talley. The day after Conklin received this notification, Bryant indicated that White would not be prosecuted for her alleged crimes. Then, that same day, Conklin says that Deputy District Attorney Talley yelled at him, saying he was a “de facto investigator for the defense and doing the defense’s dirty work.” He added that the prosecutor essentially asked him to lie, allegedly saying to him, “why didn’t you stop your investigation once you located the new recordings” and “why didn’t you wait until after the sentencing ― now I have to disclose suspect descriptions to the defense.” Mysteriously, Conklin says that then-Deputy DA Dan Wagner told his boss in July 2011 that he wanted to meet with Conklin about his investigation into the White crimes. But, after emailing Wagner about his own availability, Conklin says he never heard back from the prosecutor. And for the next four years, Conklin says he had no further conversations with any of the homicide prosecutors or OCDA management about his White investigation. He also assumed that his completed investigation materials and records were shared with Choi Kim’s defense team, which OCDA is legally required to do. But in 2015, Conklin saw an article in the local O.C. Weekly newspaper stating that Choi Kim had filed for an appeal for a new trial. Since the article made no mention of his investigation, Conklin says he became suspicious that OCDA had not turned over the contents of his investigation to Choi Kim’s lawyers. He also says that he thought the timing of the lack of disclosure was suspect because by 2015 the jailhouse informant scandal in the county had exploded and OCDA was facing tremendous scrutiny for their role in it. This alarmed Conklin further, he says, because Wagner was the prosecutor in the Scott Dekraai mass-murder case, which remains at the center of the scandal due to allegations that a snitch was illegally planted next to Dekraai in jail to glean incriminating evidence from him. Conklin says he he came to the conclusion that “the highest levels of management” at OCDA had not ever shared his White investigation with the Choi Kim defense, so he contacted Choi Kim’s defense attorney Michael Chaney. Chaney told Conklin, according to the complaint, that he was not familiar with Conklin’s name, any investigation he had conducted into White and that the OCDA office had in its possession numerous pieces of evidence from the White investigation. Conklin says he would go on to meet with Chaney and provided him with the “narrative and timeline” from his White investigation. Having been caught violating a defendant’s rights by not turning over evidence, Conklin alleges that the OCDA, through Wagner, at some point in 2016, concocted a scheme to cover up their misdeeds and attempted to shift blame onto Choi Kim’s defense team. Wagner informed the defense in 2016 letter that there was a set of materials that had never been picked up by them. But then, according to the complaint, Wagner allegedly included within those materials Conklin’s internal investigation, which had never before been turned over. Conklin believes that this was intended to give the defense the impression that it was their negligence that caused them to never have the investigation materials. Investigators claim they were pulled from a second case due to their whistleblowing. Like Conklin, investigator Santos claims he too has been subject to unfair discipline and harassment while working at OCDA, also due to whistleblowing on an investigation he was assigned by the agency into a car accident that former Fullerton City Manager Joe Felz was involved in. In the early hours of election night November 2016, Felz crashed his vehicle into a tree in a residential neighborhood. When Fullerton police arrived on the scene, Felz, according to Santos’ complaint, was slurring his words and told the officer, “I’m a City Manager,” and “call Danny Hughes” ― who, at the time of the crash, was the Chief of Police for the Fullerton Police Department. Santos says that the patrol officer called the chief who dispatched one of his sergeants, Jeff Corbett, to go to the scene of the accident and drive Felz home. Felz was not arrested that night and it wouldn’t be until March 2017 that he’d be charged with a DUI for the crash. Santos alleges that it was no accident that Corbett was called to help with preferential treatment of Felz. “Sometime before [the Felz crash] Sergeant Corbett, who supervised the narcotics unit at FPD, was found by a Fullerton PD officer having sexual relations in his police vehicle while on duty behind a local business,” according to the complaint. Corbett was not arrested for the act, Santos says, and that instead Corbett told his fellow narcotics division officers that they should say he was involved in work-related surveillance. Santos then claims Chief Hughes did Corbett a favor and covered up that misconduct so, come the night of Felz accident, Corbett was willing to do his chief a favor back. Upon investigating the incident, Santos says he discovered evidence that led him to conclude that Chief Hughes had criminally obstructed justice. So in January of this year, the investigator informed Assistant District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh that he was concerned about the case because of the DUI and what appeared to be a cover-up. But according to Santos’ complaint, Baytieh ― a county prosecutor who has been at the forefront of his office’s response to the ongoing jail informant scandal and who has been accused of misconduct himself over informant use ― told Santos that “I am friends with Chief Hughes and we are only going to be investigating the DUI and not anything else.” The investigator then says that Baytieh threatened to take him off the investigation. And the following month, Santos claims his supervisor took the Felz investigation away from him completely. Both investigators claim that they have now been subject to internal discipline, and even have had management falsely document wrongdoing in their personnel records, directly due to their whistleblowing. They claim that the punishment is ongoing and that as recently as February the pair were formally taken off of another investigation they had partnered on. Additionally, Santos claims he’s also been the target of false rumors in the office that he was having an affair with one of his investigation assistants. Santos says his sexual harassment complaint linked to that incident was never appropriately addressed nor investigated by OCDA. “The OCDA learned of the two complaints from the media this morning,” Michelle Van Der Linden, OCDA spokeswoman, told HuffPost. “Both claims are personnel matters involving litigation and as such, we are unable to discuss or provide additional information at this time.” Fullerton Police Chief David Hinig told HuffPost that “this matter pertains to the actions of members of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Any reference to employees of Fullerton, former or current, constitute personnel matters and we cannot comment further.” This story has been updated with comments from Fullerton Chief of Police David Hinig. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Royal Dutch Shell’s Brazilian subsidiary BG E&P Brasil and partners began production in a deepwater field in the Santos Basin on Friday, according to a new report by World Oil. The floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) P-66 sits at a depth of 2,150 meters and can extract 150,000 barrels of oil and six million cubic meters of natural gas per day. The vessel is the first in a series commissioned by Petrobras to exploit the BM-S-11 block within a consortium. “Achieving production at Lula South is an important accomplishment…
Petrobras recently announced plans to offload its 100% stake in the Jurua natural gas field in the Amazon region as a part of its divestment strategy to raise $21 billion by the end of 2018.
Наставник национальной команды Португалии по футболу Фернанду Сантуш вызвал форварда мадридского «Реала» Криштиану Роналду и защитника петербургского «Зенита» Луиша Нету для подготовки к грядущему Кубку конфедераций2017.
The new app is powered by the idea of what it means to be a luxury shopper in a digital age, which for M’oda means a combination of technology, superior customer service and experience. “We approach service with an optimized intimacy, it's a blend of data and vision,” adds Santo Domingo.
Один из основателей студии Capmo Santo Шон Ванаман и дизайнер Олли Мосс, который нарисовал обложку для игры про лесного смотрителя Firewatch, приняли участие в создании комикса "Рик и Морти". Комикс основан на одноимённом мультипликационном сериале. Ванаман и Мосс ответственны за 29-й выпуск комикса "Рик и Морти". Новый выпуск комикса "Рик и Морти" выйдет в августе.
Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) started deepwater production through the P-66 floating production, storage, and offloading vessel in Lula South field from the Brazilian presalt of the Santos basin in 2,150 m of water on May 17, said Royal Dutch Shell PLC subsidiary BG E&P Brazil.
In the first of a series of videos on critical issues confronting regional Australia, Gabrielle Chan investigates the proposed Narrabri gas project in New South Wales. The oil and gas company Santos proposes 850 wells in the Pilliga and some locals see the opportunity for jobs. But others warn of the potential damage to the land and water supply. Now it’s up the NSW government to decideIn Narrabri, everyone has a stake in the farming v mining fight Continue reading...
OH, LOOK, A SELF SERVING POLITICIAN: I just checked, and yep, sky is still blue. President Santos Offers Self-Serving Comments on Border Wall.
The Vice President hosted President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia for a working breakfast at the Vice President's Residence at the Naval Observatory this morning, building on productive discussions begun yesterday with President Trump, members of the Cabinet and key advisors. The Vice President commended President Santos on his leadership in achieving an historic peace accord that ended the longest-lasting armed conflict in the hemisphere. The Vice President acknowledged that Colombia still faces challenges on the road ahead, including a recent surge in drug production and implementation of the peace accord, and pledged the support of the United States to address these issues together. The leaders also discussed the on-going crisis in Venezuela, and expressed particular concern for the Venezuelan people who suffer most. The Vice President expressed his hope to visit Colombia, and together with President Santos, reiterated a shared commitment to strengthening the bilateral relationship and advancing mutual interests, including through closer economic cooperation.
President Donald J. Trump met with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia to discuss ways to deepen the close friendship and longstanding partnership between the United States and Colombia. President Trump underscored the United States Government's support for the successful implementation of Colombia's historic peace accord and highlighted the need for Colombia to make quick and concrete progress in curbing coca cultivation and cocaine production. President Trump commended Colombia’s great leadership in training its neighbors in Central America and the Caribbean on security efforts. President Trump and President Santos also discussed the importance of strengthening bilateral trade and investment ties and increasing opportunities for United States military sales to Colombia. The leaders exchanged concerns about the deepening political and economic crisis in Venezuela and discussed the importance of preserving democratic institutions in that country.
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Angola's opposition called on the government on Friday to reveal the state of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos' health amid reports that Africa's second-longest ruler is seriously ill at a hospital in Spain.
US President Donald Trump had a heated exchange with a journalist during his joint press conference with his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos in Washington DC, Thursday. The commander-in-chief refused to answer the question: ‘Did you at any time urge former FBI Director James Comey in any way, shape, or form to close or to back down the investigation into Michael Flynn?’, cutting off the journalist by saying ‘No. Next question.’ READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/8c22 COURTESY: RT's RUPTLY video agency, NO RE-UPLOAD, NO REUSE - FOR LICENSING, PLEASE, CONTACT http://ruptly.tv RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-air Subscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaToday Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnews Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_com Follow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rt Follow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RT Listen to us on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rttv RT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.
East Room 4:04 P.M. EDT PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. It is a great pleasure to welcome President Santos to the White House. Colombia is one of our closest allies in the hemisphere, and today we reaffirm partnership between our two great nations. President Santos and I had a very productive meeting, and we will continue to work very closely together to bring peace, safety and prosperity to the hemisphere. Perhaps no area is really more important in terms of cooperation than our joint effort to end the terrible drug crimes that plague both of our countries. Recently, we have seen an alarmed -- and I mean really a very highly alarmed and alarming trend. Last year, Colombia coca cultivation and cocaine production reached a record high, which, hopefully, will be remedied very quickly by the President. We must confront this dangerous threat to our societies together. Today, I affirmed the United States’ willingness to assist Colombia’s strategy to target and eliminate drug trafficking networks, illicit financings, coca cultivation, and cocaine production, of which there is far too much. The drug epidemic is poisoning too many American lives, and we’re going to stop it many different ways. One of them will be the wall. My administration is committed to keeping drugs and gangs from pouring into our country. Already border crossings are down more than 73 percent. Secretary Kelly is with us; he’s done a fantastic job. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. And, in short, we have a tremendous group of people working with us in terms of ICE, the ICE Patrol and the Border Patrol agents. They’ve done a fantastic job, and I’d like you to give them my highest compliments, Mr. Secretary. And MS-13, likewise -- a horrible, horrible, large group of gangs that have been let into our country over a fairly short period of time -- are being decimated by the Border Patrol, by ICE, and by our incredible local police forces. And they are getting out of our country, or, in some cases, going directly into prisons throughout our country. But they’ve literally taken over towns and cities of the United States. They will be gone very quickly. I look forward to working with President Santos as we target drug trafficking. Both the United States and Colombia have strong law enforcement and security relationship. We’ve had it -- and especially over the last fairly short period of time. Together, we will continue to fight the criminal networks responsible for the deadly drug trade that our people have a really strong commitment to getting rid of, because they want a much brighter future. President Santos and I also discussed the deteriorating situation in Venezuela, and it is really in a very bad state, as you see and as we all see through the media. The stable and peaceful Venezuela is in the best interest of the entire hemisphere, and America stands with all of the people in our great hemisphere yearning to be free. We will be working with Colombia and other countries on the Venezuelan problem. It is a very, very horrible problem. And from a humanitarian standpoint, it is like nothing we’ve seen in quite a long time. The United States and Colombia are also strong economic partners, and we will continue to pursue trade policies that benefit both of our peoples. The nations’ common goals of protecting our citizens, expanding opportunity, and confronting the drug crisis will improve the lives of our people and many throughout the region. So many people are being so horribly affected by what’s going on in terms of violence and in terms of drugs, and we’re going to take care of the situation. And we’ve both agreed to take care of it strongly and quickly. President Santos, it was an honor to meet with you and your entire group of representatives, very talented people indeed, who have been working with us and my representatives. And I look forward to many more productive meetings, such as the one we just had. I’d like to thank you very much for being at the White House, being our guest. And I’d like to congratulate you on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. That’s a very great achievement. Thank you very much. PRESIDENT SANTOS: (In English.) Mr. President, I want to thank you personally for this warm and productive visit and for the strong support Colombia has received from your administration, from Congress, and from the American people. (As interpreted.) As you know, our nations have had for a long time a strategic alliance and extraordinary friendship. We believe in the same principles of democracy, freedom and the rule of law. And we work so that the Western Hemisphere can be more prosperous and safe. The United States and Colombia, both democracies of greater -- of longer standing in the hemisphere, we have supported each other. Our soldiers fought shoulder-to-shoulder in the Korean War. At the request of the United States, we sent anti-drug experts to Afghanistan. And today, Colombia and the United States are working together to support Central America in their fight against drug cartels and the violence of organized crime. I can say, Mr. President, based on our conversation this afternoon, that I have no doubt that the United States and Colombia continue to be, today, more than ever, a support, one for the other. Our alliance was strengthened. Our most valuable cooperation has been Plan Colombia, which I can sum up in very simple terms. When Colombians were fighting to survive -- for our democracy to survive, actually -- faced with the threat of terrorism and drug trafficking, the United States stretched out a hand and helped us win that battle. We will never forget it. Today, we live in a different country. Today, Colombia is a more peaceful society, a more modern and a fairer society. In November last year, we ended the longest and last armed conflict existing in our hemisphere. The guerilla is putting down weapons at this precise time to the United Nations. Insecurity has gone down significantly. Today, we have the lowest levels of violence of the last 40 years. At the same time, we have had significant progress for our citizens on issues such as education, housing, health, and social services. Millions of Colombians have been lifted out of poverty. Today, we continue next to you as partners in Peace Colombia to consolidate peace in the most affected areas. With the robust support of your government, we are removing thousands of anti-personnel mines that murdered and mutilated children, women and soldiers. We are healing the wounds of our victims, and we are embarking on a big social-development program. Such as we said today, we are working with your administration to take advantage of the unique opportunity peace offers so as to reduce permanently the production of coca leaf in Colombia and fight more effectively the other links in drug trafficking, including consumption. We must continue and deepen the fight against organized crime, transnational crime responsible not just for drug trafficking, but also for human trafficking and illegal mining. Our shared agenda, framed within a high-level dialogue that we Colombians value so much, includes cooperation which has allowed us to have unprecedented progress towards quality education for everyone. And this is a priority in the policies of my government, and we wish to do more with regards to innovation and technology. With the active participation of the private sector, we have reached trade agreements, investment agreements that are mutually beneficial. This morning, we established the entrepreneurial council between the United States and Colombia. We are and wish to continue to be the best destination in Latin America for American businesses. Colombia will continue to be very proudly a close friend and a strategic ally of the United States. Dear President Trump, I hope you can visit us soon so that you can personally witness the transformation underway in our country. I hope to be able to welcome you to a Colombia in peace, a more equitable Colombia, a better-educated Colombia that you have so much contributed to. Thank you so much. PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Does anybody have any questions? (Laughter.) I’m shocked. Jon, go ahead. Q Mr. President, thank you very much. PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. Q Mr. President, I’d like to get your reaction to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s decision to appoint a special counsel to investigate the Russian interference in the campaign. Was this the right move, or is this part of a “witch hunt”? PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I respect the move, but the entire thing has been a witch hunt. And there is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can always speak for myself -- and the Russians, zero. I think it divides the country. I think we have a very divided country because of that and many other things. So I can tell you that we want to bring this great country of ours together, Jon. And I will also say very strongly, we’ve had tremendous success. You look at our job numbers, you look at what’s going on at the border, as we discussed before; if you look at what will be happening -- you’re going to see some incredible numbers with respect to the success of General Mattis and others with the ISIS situation. The numbers are staggering, how successful they’ve been, the military has been. Tomorrow, as you know, I’m going to Saudi Arabia, going to Israel. I’m going to Rome. And we have the G7. We have a lot of great things going on. So I hate to see anything that divides. I’m fine with whatever people want to do, but we have to get back to running this country really, really well. We’ve made tremendous progress in the last 100-some-odd days. Tremendous progress. And you see job numbers, you see all of the production that's starting. Plants starting to open again. Haven’t been open in years. I'm very proud of it. That's what I want to be focused on. Because, believe me, there's no collusion. Russia is fine. But whether it's Russia or anybody else, my total priority, believe me, is the United States of America. So, thank you very much. Q (As interpreted.) President Trump, President Santos, can we say that today we are setting a new roadmap in the relationship between Colombia and the United States? Which are the concrete commitments? You were talking about the post-conflict time. Many funds are needed for that. And on the issue of Venezuela, President Trump, many deaths, human rights violations. There's plenty to be done. PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, that's true. Venezuela has a very, very serious problem. We haven’t really seen a problem like that, I would say, Mr. President, in decades, in terms of the kind of violence that we're witnessing. The President was telling me -- and I knew -- that Venezuela was a very, very wealthy country, just about the wealthiest in your neck of the woods, and had tremendous strengths in so many different ways. And now it's poverty-stricken. People don’t have enough to eat. People have no food. There's great violence. And we will do whatever is necessary -- and we'll work together to do whatever is necessary -- to help with fixing that. And I'm really talking on a humanitarian level. When you look at the oil reserves that they have, when you look at the potential wealth that Venezuela has, you sort of have to wonder, why is that happening? How is that possible? But it's been unbelievably poorly run for a long period of time. And hopefully that will change, and they can use those assets for the good and to take care of their people. Because right now what's happening is, really, a disgrace to humanity. And, Jon, I think you also had a question for the President, if you'd like to. Q Does he have another one? PRESIDENT SANTOS: His question about the commitment. (As interpreted.) The commitment on President Trump's side and his administration was shown through the approval of the budget that, for Colombia, means an increase in the support to fund the post-conflict era. Last night we received from a very important organization, The Atlantic Council, a report, which includes both parties presided by a Republican senator and a Democrat senator with a roadmap recommending the governments of the United States and Colombia to follow. This morning, we established this entrepreneurship council, United States-Colombia, so that the private sector can also have a voice in that roadmap. This means we are working together on every front that can be convenient for both countries. But we'll continue to work together. We have ratified that commitment today, during our conversation. And as I said before, we have the best of relations with the United States. We are strategic allies in the region, and we will continue to be so. Q Thank you, Mr. President. President Santos, to you, you heard President Trump say that critical to stopping the flow of drugs into the United States will be the wall that he wants to build on the Mexican border. Do you agree with him? Would that wall be a step -- a positive step and a step towards reducing the flow of drugs across the border? PRESIDENT SANTOS: I believe that the best way to fight the drug trafficking is by collaborating. This is not a problem of Colombia only or a problem of the United States only. It's a world problem. And we have to all work together. We declared the war on drugs 40 years ago. The world declared the war on drugs. And it's a war that has not been won. So we must be more effective and more efficient. Now, we are doing a very big effort, because of the peace process, to have a new strategy -- carrot and stick. Stick, by forced eradication. We have already eradicated, this year only, 15,000 hectares, which is the whole volume that we eradicated last year. And we're starting to eradicate -- to substitute voluntarily, through a program where the peasants -- and we have 80,000 families already in the program -- that they are going to substitute for legal crops. And this is the first time that this could be done because of the peace. Before, the conflict did not allow us to build roads and to give these peasants an alternative. Now we have. So we have to take advantage of this opportunity and continue reducing the production of coca. In the meantime, we will work together, the U.S. and Colombia, with other countries -- Central America -- to fight the other links of the chain, the intermediaries. We have destroyed 22,000 laboratories in the Colombian jungles, seizing cocaine in transit. We have seized record amount of tons last year, and this year we're doing even better than last year. So by working together we can be much more effective, and that is the commitment we just made or ratified this afternoon. PRESIDENT TRUMP: And that was a long and very diplomatic answer to your question. I will say it a little bit shorter: Walls work. Just ask Israel. They work. Believe me, they work. And we have no choice. Peter Baker. Yes. Q Thank you, Mr. President. In the light of a very busy news week, a lot of people would like to get to the bottom of a couple of things, give you a chance to go on record here. Did you at any time urge former FBI Director James Comey in any way, shape, or form to close or to back down the investigation into Michael Flynn? And also as you look back -- PRESIDENT TRUMP: No. No. Next question. Q Next question. As you look back over the past six months or year, have you had any recollection where you've wondered if anything you have done has been something that might be worthy of criminal charges in these investigations or impeachment, as some on the left are implying? PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think it’s totally ridiculous. Everybody thinks so. And again, we have to get back to working our country properly so that we can take care of the problems that we have. We have plenty of problems. We've done a fantastic job. We have a tremendous group of people. Millions and millions of people out there that are looking at what you had just said, and said, "What are they doing?" Director Comey was very unpopular with most people. I actually thought when I made that decision -- and I also got a very, very strong recommendation, as you know, from the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein. But when I made that decision, I actually thought that it would be a bipartisan decision, because you look at all of the people on the Democratic side -- not only the Republican side -- they were saying such terrible things about Director Comey. Then he had the very poor performance on Wednesday. That was a poor, poor performance. So poor, in fact, that I believe -- and you’d have to ask him, because I don't like to speak for other people -- but I believe that's why the Deputy Attorney General went out and wrote his very, very strong letter. And then, on top of that, after the Wednesday performance by Director Comey, you had a person come and have to readjust the record, which many people have never seen before, because there were misstatements made. And I thought that was something that was terrible. We need a great director of the FBI. I cherish the FBI. It’s special. All over the world, no matter where you go, the FBI is special. The FBI has not had that special reputation with what happened in the campaign, what happened with respect to the Clinton campaign, and even you could say -- directly or indirectly -- with respect to the much more successful Trump campaign. We're going to have a director who is going to be outstanding. I’ll be announcing that director very soon, and I look forward to doing it. I think the people in the FBI will be very, very thrilled. And just in concluding, we look forward to getting this whole situation behind us so that when we go for the jobs, we go for the strong military, when we go for all of the things that we've been pushing so hard and so successfully, including healthcare -- because Obamacare is collapsing. It’s dead; it’s gone. There’s nothing to compare anything to because we don't have healthcare in this country. You just look at what’s happening. Aetna just pulled out. Other insurance companies are pulling out. We don't have healthcare. Obamacare is a fallacy. It’s gone. We need healthcare. We need to cut taxes. We're going to cut taxes. Forget what I want; it will be the biggest tax cut in the history of our nation. And that's what I want. It’s going to bring back companies. It’s going to bring back jobs. We lost so many jobs and so many companies to countries that are not so far from you, Mr. President -- they're very close to you, actually -- and to many other places throughout the world. We're going to change that. We're going to have expansion. We already do. You look at what’s happening with Ford and with General Motors in Michigan and Ohio. You look at the tremendous number of jobs that are being announced in so many different fields. That's what I’m proud of, and that's what we want to focus our energy on. The other is something I can only tell you: There was no collusion. And everybody -- even my enemies have said, there is no collusion. So we want to get back and keep on the track that we're on. Because the track that we're on is record-setting, and that's what we want to do, is we want to break very positive records. Thank you. You could ask a question. PRESIDENT SANTOS: Sorry, you have another question? Q For you -- yes, sir, Mr. President. My question is, as someone who led a nation that's really done a lot of rebuilding and had to rebound from an epidemic of crime and drugs over quite a many years, what do you make of Mr. Trump’s America First policy? And further, you've had a tough time with conservative radio, sometimes been called a punching bag. And you’ve said you have to persevere. I’m curious if you've given any advice to President Trump on how to do so. PRESIDENT SANTOS: I don't think I’m in a position to give any advice to President Trump. He can take care of himself. (Laughter.) And what we did in Colombia, you quite rightly mentioned it, is persevere. When you know your port of destination, and you know that you're doing the correct thing, you simply have to persevere. And that's what we've done in Colombia, and that's why we were on the verge of being a failed state some years ago. And now we're one of the stars of the region. And that's through hard work, perseverance, and clarity of your objectives. And that's what we have done, and we have to continue because the trip is not over. Q (As interpreted.) Mr. President, I’d like to ask you about trade. You're about to start the renegotiation of NAFTA on Colombia. And like other countries in the hemisphere, it has a large trade deficit with the United States. Are you worried about the fact that that could contribute to increasing that trade deficit? What is your position on the peace process in Colombia? PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, it's been a long process, and it’s been a great thing to watch in the sense that the President did a fantastic job. That's not easy after so many years of war. So I’m very, very proud to get to know you, and I really congratulate you. There’s nothing tougher than peace, and we want to make peace all over the world. And you are really a great example of somebody that started it. I mean, FARC is -- that was a long, tough situation, as you know very well, coming from the country. But I think the President has done a magnificent job. Not easy. But he’s done a magnificent job. PRESIDENT SANTOS: (As interpreted.) Clearer impossible. (Laughter.) On the trade issue, our deficit with the United States is not so large. It is a moderate deficit, which, of course, both countries will try to increase the volume of trade in both directions, and investments also in both directions. Colombia is becoming an important investor here in the United States, and this is something not many people know. But we have considerable investments in the United States. We have attempted to give dynamism to these flows of trade, of investment, getting together those main players who are the investors in the private sector. I believe the foundations have been laid. We have the free-trade agreement, which is working well. The number of Colombian businesses that are exporting to the United States has grown. And we both believe that we can take greater advantage of those agreements in order to increase flows in both directions for the benefit both of the Colombian and American peoples. PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you, thank you. END 4:36 P.M. EDT
Controversial reports about the Trump administration are being released in rapid succession.
President Donald Trump on Thursday said he fired former FBI Director James Comey in part because of his "poor, poor performance" during recent testimony before lawmakers on Capitol Hill, as he shifted his explanation of the much-criticized decision.The president had previously taken sole ownership of the decision to fire Comey, telling NBC he would have done so regardless of the Justice Department's position. But on Thursday, he said the ex-FBI chief's performance before Congress helped prompt a memo by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein laying out criticisms of Comey's tenure. "He had the very poor performance on Wednesday. That was a poor, poor performance," Trump said. "So poor, in fact, that I believe—and you would have to ask him because I don't like to speak for other people—but I believe that's why the deputy attorney general went out and wrote his very, very strong letter."That was a shift not only from Trump's earlier explanation of the events leading to Comey's ouster but also comments Rosenstein reportedly made to U.S. senators on Thursday. Multiple senators leaving a briefing with the deputy attorney general said Rosenstein told them that he already knew when he wrote the memo that Comey was going to be fired.Rosenstein learned Comey was being ousted on May 8, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said, but the memo was dated May 9—the day the firing took place.Responding to a question from a reporter, Trump denied reports he had asked Comey to shut down an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. And he said Comey was too unpopular to remain on the job. "Director Comey was very unpopular with most people," Trump said during a joint press conference with Colombian President Juan Manual Santos at the White House. "I actually thought it would be a bipartisan decision."