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FBI agent Peter Strzok testifies, Had damaging information on Trump

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Washington, July 13 Controversial FBI agent Peter Strzok testified in a congressional hearing that he had damaging information on US Prtesident Donald Trump during the 2016 US presidential election that may have derailed his campaign and rejected accusations that he allowed his private political views bias his official actions.
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The joint hearing before the House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committees Thursday became emotionally charged, and at times, highly personal, as bitter partisan arguments erupted.

Strzok was an investigator on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. He also led the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

“This information had the potential to derail and quite possibly defeat Mr. Trump, but the thought of expressing that, or exposing that information never crossed my mind,” Strzok told lawmakers during a congressional hearing.

Strzok denied that the FBI was biased against then-candidate Trump and rejected that his actions in the Russia probe after the 2016 election had political motivations.

“Let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath: not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took,” the FBI agent said during the contentious hearing in Congress.

“I understand we are living in a political era in which insults and insinuation often drown out honesty and integrity,” Mr. Strzok said, continuing: “I have the utmost respect for Congress’s oversight role, but I truly believe that today’s hearing is just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.”

Strzok has been widely criticized for a text exchange he had during the electoral campaign with an FBI lawyer, who asked him if Trump would be president, to which the agent responded: “No, he’s not. We’ll stop it.”

The text exchange at issue was detailed in a recently-released Justice Department internal watchdog report, which revealed that on August 8, 2016, now ex-FBI lawyer Lisa Page wrote in a text, Trump is “not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” to which Strzok replied, “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”

The official took part in the investigation regarding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for official communications during her tenure as US Secretary of State and was involved in the Russia probe, led by special counsel Robert Mueller, although he was taken off the case after his text exchange was revealed.

Strzok’s case has been used by the president and many Republicans to discredit Mueller’s investigation on alleged ties between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin.

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Global Covid-19 cases top 31mn mark: Johns Hopkins

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Corona Death Body

The overall number of global coronavirus cases on Monday surpassed the 31 million mark, while the deaths have increased to more than 960,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

The total number of cases stood at 31,044,033 and the fatalities rose to 960,826, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 6,805,629 and 199,512, respectively, according to the CSSE.

India comes in the second place in terms of cases at 5,487,580, while the country’s death toll soared to 87,882.

The other top 15 countries with the maximum amount of cases are Brazil (4,544,629), Russia (1,105,048), Peru (768,895), Colombia (765,076), Mexico (697,663), South Africa (661,211), Spain (640,040), Argentina (631,365), France (467,614), Chile (446,274), Iran (422,140), the UK (396,744), Bangladesh (348,918), Saudi Arabia (329,754) and Iraq (319,035), the CSSE figures showed.

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 136,895.

The countries with a death toll above 10,000 are Mexico (73,493), the UK (41,866), Italy (35,668), Peru (31,369), France (31,257), Spain (30,495), Iran (24,301), Colombia (23,665), Russia (19,420), South Africa (15,953), Argentina (13,053), Chile (12,286) and Ecuador (11,090).

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UK PM to address nation over ‘winter lockdown plans

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Boris Johnson

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to address the nation to brace citizens for “winter lockdown plans” in preparation for a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, media reports said.

The Prime Minister could make the TV address as early as Tuesday, said The Sun newspaper.

The Prime Minister could make the TV address as early as Tuesday, said The Sun newspaper.

He is looking at making pubs and restaurants close early and banning households from meeting up, it added.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Officer Patrick Vallance will reportedly make an address ahead of the Prime Minister, the Metro newspaper said in a report.

The scientists will outline the consequences of taking no action to curb the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, a government adviser, Professor Susan Michie, told The Telegraph on Sunday that every day of delay could have dire health outcomes.

“We need a stitch in time. We need to learn the lessons of the spring. Every day’s delay to a step change in measures to restrict transmission when it is increasing exponentially will be expensive in terms of health and lives in the short term and the economy in the long term,” she added.

Johnson has previously admitted that second national lockdown would be “nothing short of disastrous”‘ for the UK, the Metro newspaper reported.

The development comes as more than 10 million across the UK are placed in some form of local lockdown.As of Monday, the UK has reported a total of 396,744 coron mm mm u huhavirus cases, with 41,866 deaths.

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4 new Covid-19 cases reported in NZ

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Wellington, Sep 20 (IANS) New Zealand reported four new coronavirus cases on Sunday, taking the nationwide tally to 1,464, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

Of the four new cases, two were community cases and two were at managed isolation facilities, Xinhua news agency reported citing the Ministry statement.

The current number of active cases in New Zealand has reduced to 71, including three patients in Auckland hospitals.

Laboratories across New Zealand have conducted 5,417 tests, increasing the total number till date to 910,853, according to the Ministry.

New Zealand is now at COVID-19 Alert Level 2 with additional restrictions on gatherings for its biggest city Auckland.

–IANS

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