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For all the hype surrounding the move by House Republicans to place Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio on the Intelligence Committee so he can be part of the public impeachment hearings, the conservative firebrand is not likely to have much of a role to play based on the rules governing the hearings.
Leah Millis/ReutersUnder Mick Mulvaney’s leadership, the Office of Management and Budget temporarily put a hold on the delivery of anti-tank missiles to Ukraine in 2017 because of concerns their arrival would upset Russia, according to former White House official Catherine Croft. She described OMB’s objection as “highly unusual.”Croft’s testimony indicates that concerns about the U.S. relationship with Russia had a direct—though short-lived—impact on U.S./Ukraine policy in the first year of Trump’s presidency.Croft told congressional impeachment investigators that after the Trump administration greenlit the delivery of Javelin missiles to Ukraine in late 2017—the first delivery of lethal aid to the country since Russian separatists seized territory in its Eastern region in 2014—Mulvaney’s office held it up. “Did you understand why?” asked the congressional staffer questioning her. “I understood the reason to be a policy one,” she replied. “What was the policy one?” “In a briefing with Mick Mulvaney, the question centered around the Russian reaction,” she continued. “What was the concern about the Russian reaction?” asked the staffer. “That Russia would react negatively to the provision of Javelins to Ukraine,” she said. The Daily Beast first reported last month that OMB held up the 2017 shipment of Javelins to Ukraine. Croft said the hold lasted “about a week or two,” and that “all of the policy agencies” wanted the aid to go to Ukraine. She said OMB’s interest in the decision about whether to send Javelins to Ukraine was abnormal. Key Impeachment Witnesses Finger Mulvaney In the Quid Pro Quo“[It] was rather unusual to have OMB expressing concerns that were purely policy-based and not budget-oriented,” she said. “At the beginning of the Ukrainian Javelin process, I had been told that OMB was taking a policy interest,” she continued. “And OMB began sending working level officials to attend meetings... which was very unusual at the time.” She noted that OMB staff also started attending meetings regarding aid to countries besides Ukraine and that the increase in their involvement was “quite taxing on a very small organization.”Mulvaney and several other OMB officials have refused to participate in the congressional impeachment inquiry. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said Monday that reports detailing the involvement of President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in the White House’s Ukraine policy were “deeply troubling.”“What I see right now troubles me. I see a state of conflict between the foreign policy professionals and someone who says he’s acting on behalf of the president but frankly I don’t know if that is the case,” Rice said at a conference in Abu Dhabi. “This is just not a good thing. The world shouldn’t get confusing messages from the United States of America.”Multiple witnesses have alleged in house testimony that Giuliani conducted his own investigative work without regard for the administration’s formal policy.William Taylor, the former top American diplomat in Ukraine, whose testimony was released last week, asserted that Giuliani was actively undermining U.S. foreign policy.“The irregular channel seemed to focus on specific issues, specific cases, rather than the regular channel’s focus on institution building,” Taylor said, according to the transcript. “So the irregular channel, I think under the influence of Mr. Giuliani, wanted to focus on one or two specific cases, irrespective of whether it helped solve the corruption problem, fight the corruption problem.”Earlier Monday, news broke that Lev Parnas, an associate of Giuliani, will tell investigators that Giuliani attempted to leverage an official visit from Vice President Mike Pence to coax Ukraine into announcing an investigation into Joe Biden's son Hunter's business connections to Burisma.Rice also said she thought Trump’s mention of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma, during the call was “out of bounds.”“The call is murky, it is really murky. I don’t like for the president of the United States to mention an American citizen for investigation to a foreign leader,” Rice said.
Pirates attacked an Italy-flagged offshore supply vessel in the southern Gulf of Mexico, injuring two crew members, the Mexican Navy said on Tuesday, in the latest outbreak of robbery and piracy to hit oil platforms and infrastructure in the area. Owned by Italian offshore contractor Micoperi, the boat is a supply vessel for Mexico's oil industry. Micoperi and the Italian embassy in Mexico did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
At a base in eastern Syria, a senior U.S. coalition commander said Monday that American troops who remain in Syria are redeploying to bases, including in some new locations, and working with the Kurdish-led forces to keep up the pressure on the ISIS militants and prevent the extremists from resurging or breaking out of prisons.
A woman who confronted Jeffrey Epstein at a July bail hearing to tell a judge he touched her inappropriately when she was 16 sued his estate Tuesday, alleging he had subjected her to sex trafficking as part of his attacks on young women and girls. Lawyers for Annie Farmer filed the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court, along with a lawsuit on behalf of her sister, Maria Farmer, and Teresa Helm, an Ohio woman. A lawyer for Epstein's estate did not return a message seeking comment.
Look up Sunday night, and you may see the Leonid meteor showers, which come from the constellation Leo the Lion.
Venezuela's former military intelligence chief has gone missing in Spain just days after a court approved a request for his extradition to the United States on drug trafficking charges, police said Wednesday. "They are currently looking for him," said a spokeswoman for Spain's national police, referring to General Hugo Armando Carvajal. Judicial sources said police had gone to his house in Madrid after Friday's court decision but could not find him.
Ocasio-Cortez recently apologized for blocking a critic on Twitter and settled a lawsuit he filed alleging she violated the First Amendment.
Hezbollah amassed great power even as its fighters died in Syria. But the bold uprising in Lebanon has brought quiet Shiite grumblings into the open.
WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's chief of staff and former national security adviser clashed in court Monday. Two new books describe how top aides to the president secretly plotted to circumvent him. And nearly every day brings more testimony about the deep internal schism over the president's effort to pressure Ukraine for domestic political help.In the three years since his election, Trump has never been accused of running a cohesive, unified team. But the revelations of recent days have put on display perhaps more starkly than ever the fissures tearing at his administration. In the emerging picture, the Trump White House is a toxic stew of personality disputes, policy differences, political rivalries, ethical debates and a fundamental rift over the president himself.The fault lines were most clearly evident Monday when Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, abruptly withdrew his effort to join a lawsuit over impeachment testimony after a sharp collision with his onetime colleague John Bolton, the former national security adviser. Mulvaney retreated only hours after a lawyer for Bolton and his former deputy, Charles Kupperman, went to court arguing that his clients wanted nothing to do with the staff chief because they had vastly different interests.In withdrawing his motion, Mulvaney indicated that he would now press his own lawsuit to determine whether to comply with a subpoena to testify in the House impeachment inquiry. But it left him at odds with the president, who has ordered his team not to cooperate with the House, an order Mulvaney essentially has refused to accept as other administration officials have until he receives separate guidance from a judge.Mulvaney's lawyers emphasized that he was not trying to oppose Trump, maintaining that he was actually trying to sue House Democrats, and an administration official who insisted on anonymity said there was "no distance" between the president and his chief of staff. Still, Mulvaney hired his own lawyer instead of relying on the White House counsel, and he consciously made clear that he was open to testifying if left to his own devices.The situation underscored long-standing enmity between Mulvaney and the counsel, Pat Cipollone, who have repeatedly been at odds throughout the impeachment inquiry, according to four administration officials briefed on the events.Mulvaney, who has been left with an "acting" title for more than 10 months and therefore insecure in his position, is said to see Cipollone as angling for his job as chief of staff. People close to Cipollone deny that and say he is not interested, although they acknowledged that there were previous discussions with Trump about such a shift.Hoping to bolster his own place in the White House, Mulvaney has recommended to Trump that he hire Mark Paoletta, the general counsel at the Office of Management and Budget, where Mulvaney is still technically the director, according to people familiar with the maneuvering. Paoletta would not displace Cipollone but would give Mulvaney an ally on the legal team as the impeachment battle plays out.Another person familiar with the latest moves said that Paoletta was considered but that West Wing officials decided they were pleased with the hiring of Pam Bondi, a former attorney general of Florida, and Tony Sayegh, a Republican strategist, both of whom began full time this week.The latest personnel struggle echoed an attempt by Mulvaney several weeks ago to hire former Rep. Trey Gowdy, a fellow South Carolina Republican, to join the president's legal team. Cipollone and others were said to take issue with the idea, concerned it was an effort by Mulvaney to run his own legal team. Cipollone told allies he had no such concerns, but eventually, Gowdy bowed out, facing an issue with a ban on former House members lobbying Congress.Despite his own tenuous job status, Mulvaney has privately told associates in recent days that there is no easy way for Trump to fire him in the midst of the impeachment fight, the implication being that he knows too much about the president's pressure campaign to force Ukraine to provide incriminating information about Democrats.The court fight between Mulvaney and Bolton on Monday brought their long-running feud into the open. Mulvaney was among those facilitating the Ukraine effort while Bolton was among those objecting to it. At one point, according to testimony in the impeachment inquiry, Bolton declared that he wanted no part of the "drug deal" Mulvaney was cooking up, as the then national security adviser characterized the pressure campaign.Their clash was just one of many inside Trump's circle spilling out into public in recent days. The legal conflict Monday came just a day before Nikki Haley, the president's former ambassador to the United Nations, plans to publish a memoir accusing Trump's former secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and former chief of staff, John Kelly, of conspiring behind his back while in office. Her account in effect is a mirror image of another book coming out this month by an anonymous senior administration official describing how concerned aides mounted their own internal resistance to Trump.Kelly disputed Haley in a statement Sunday and Tillerson added his own refutation Monday. "During my service to our country as the secretary of state, at no time did I, nor to my direct knowledge did anyone else serving along with me, take any actions to undermine the president," Tillerson said in a statement.While he offered Trump frank advice, he said, once the president made a decision, he did his best to carry it out. "Ambassador Haley was rarely a participant in my many meetings and is not in a position to know what I may or may not have said to the president," Tillerson added.Tillerson was never enamored of Haley when they were both in office, seeing her as a rival trying to upstage him and run foreign policy from her perch at the United Nations. Haley's portrayal of herself fighting off Trump's internal enemies was met Monday with scoffs from several administration officials, who said they were aware of little evidence to back up her self-description. But a former senior administration official who witnessed some of the interactions Haley had with the president described her as heavily involved with policy.The books are being published at the same time new transcripts are released by the House documenting how Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and a coterie of allies, including Mulvaney, sought to sideline career diplomats and other foreign policy officials who warned against enlisting Ukraine to help the president's personal political interests.The dispute pitted one part of Trump's administration against another in a struggle over foreign policy that now has the president on the precipice of being impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.The lawsuit that Mulvaney sought to join was filed by Kupperman, a longtime associate of Bolton, and asked a court to decide whether Kupperman should obey the president's dictate to stay silent or a House subpoena to testify.While not technically a party to the lawsuit, Bolton, who left his post in September after clashing with Trump, is represented by the same lawyer, Charles Cooper, and is taking the same position as Kupperman in waiting for the court to decide whether he should testify or not.Mulvaney's effort to join the lawsuit late Friday night stunned many involved in the impeachment debate because he still works for the president. Mulvaney did not ask Bolton or Kupperman for permission to join the lawsuit nor did he give them a heads up. Bolton and his team considered it an outrageous move since they were on opposite sides of the Ukraine fight and did not want their lawsuit polluted with Mulvaney.Not only did the motion filed Monday by Bolton's camp seek to keep Mulvaney out of the lawsuit, it even advanced an argument that the acting chief of staff may have to testify before House impeachment investigators. The motion noted that in a briefing with reporters last month, Mulvaney appeared "to admit that there was a quid pro quo" before later trying to take back the admission, meaning that he might not have the right to defy a House subpoena since he had already discussed the matter in public."Accordingly, there is a serious question as to whether Mulvaney waived the absolute testimonial immunity claimed by the president," the motion said.Mulvaney's lawyers rejected that. "The idea that Mr. Mulvaney has somehow waived broad immunity by speaking about this" at a briefing "doesn't have any legs," Christopher Muha, one of the lawyers, told the judge in the case Monday afternoon, according to a transcript of a conference call released by the court.Nonetheless, Judge Richard Leon, of the U.S. District for the District of Columbia, indicated at the end of the call that he was inclined to reject Mulvaney's request to join the suit. Mulvaney then withdrew it and said he would file his own separate action.The motion filed by Bolton's camp noted that Kupperman does not take a position on who is right, the president or Congress, and "will remain neutral on the merits of the constitutional issue," while Mulvaney "has made it clear that he supports the executive" branch interpretation.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company
A missile test last November made the point quite clear.
Hong Kong prepared for more clashes on Wednesday as anti-government protesters planned to paralyse parts of the Asian financial hub for a third day, with transport, schools and many businesses closing after violence escalated across the city. Protesters and police battled through the night at university campuses and other locations only hours after police Senior Superintendent Kwong Wing-cheung said the Chinese-ruled city had been pushed to the "brink of a total breakdown". Police fired tear gas at protesters overnight, while some activists torched a vehicle, hurled petrol bombs at a police station and metro train and broke into a major shopping mall.
Bay Area Rapid Transit police said Steve Foster, of Concord, California, violated state law by eating a sandwich on a BART station's platform.
A federal court in Boston has ruled that warrantless U.S. government searches of the phones and laptops of international travelers at airports and other U.S. ports of entry violate the Fourth Amendment. Tuesday's ruling in U.S. District Court came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of 11 travelers whose smartphones and laptops were searched without individualized suspicion at U.S. ports of entry. ACLU attorney Esha Bhandari said the ruling strengthens the Fourth Amendment protections of international travelers who enter the United States every year.
More than 50 cars crashed on a strip of Ohio freeway in the middle of a snowstorm as the US braces for severe weather and hundreds of record-breaking, below-freezing temperatures overnight.Whiteout conditions across the northeast and midwest caused several accidents, some deadly, as an Arctic blast of frigid weather moves eastward. Many roads and schools have closed and thousands of flights were cancelled or delayed as millions of Americans prepare for an early winter blast of Arctic air.
Authorities say Alexis Crawford and her roommate Jordyn Jones had a physical altercation and Jones' boyfriend intervened and choked Crawford to death.
The United Nations' nuclear watchdog said it had detected uranium particles at an undeclared site in Iran in its latest report on the country's nuclear programme issued on Monday. The particles are understood to be the product of uranium which has been mined and undergone initial processing, but not enriched.
President Trump considered firing Intelligence Community inspector general Michael Atkinson after Atkinson reported the whistleblower complaint that touched off the House's presidential-impeachment inquiry to Congress, according to the New York Times.According to the report, Trump originally discussed firing Atkinson in September, at about the time the whistleblower complaint became public. Sources cited by the Times said that Trump has continued to bring up the possibility of firing Atkinson, and that he considers the IG to be disloyal.Two people familiar with the matter said they thought Trump was just venting frustration by bringing up the subject. The White House and Atkinson's office declined to comment on the matter.Democrats are currently conducting an impeachment inquiry centered on allegations that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate corruption allegations involving Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden. The whistleblower complaint conveyed concerns over the content of a July 25 phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as measures taken by the Trump administration to restrict access to the transcript of the call.Trump made the transcript public one day before the whistleblower complaint was revealed to Congress. The transcript showed that Trump repeatedly urged Zelensky to investigate Biden over the course of the call.Atkinson has come under fire from Trump during the impeachment inquiry."The Whistleblower’s lawyer is a big Democrat. The Whistleblower has ties to one of my DEMOCRAT OPPONENTS," Trump wrote on Twitter on October 9. "Why does the ICIG allow this scam to continue?"
But will they ever leave the drawing board?
A South Korean woman who had been forced to work in a Japanese wartime military brothel said Japan lacked honor for failing to attend a South Korean court on Wednesday as it began hearing a civil case brought against its government by a group of victims. "I am a living proof of history," said Lee Yong-soo, the 91-year-old survivor, her voice quaking with emotion as she addressed a news conference held near the courthouse, before proceedings began. Reminders of Japan's 1910-45 colonization of the Korean peninsula are inflammatory for both sides.
From "be water" to "blossom everywhere", Hong Kong's black-clad pro-democracy protesters' tactics have evolved this week in their bid to overwhelm police by creating flashpoints in as many areas as possible. The campaign of massive disruption has seen small groups of protesters emerge all across the city of 7.5 million people from Monday to block intersections, vandalise shops, clash with police and damage the vital train network. "We must blossom everywhere to divert the police force," read an anonymous post on Wednesday morning on an internet message board popular with protesters, echoing other calls online.
Jordan's king announced Sunday that his country is retaking "full sovereignty" over two pieces of land leased by Israel, reflecting the cool relations between the neighboring countries as they mark the 25th anniversary of their landmark peace deal. King Abdullah II had said last year that he wouldn't renew the parts of the 1994 treaty that gave Israel a 25-year lease of the two small areas, Baqura and Ghamr. "Today, I announce the expiration of the Peace Treaty annexes on Ghamr and al-Baqura and the imposition of our full sovereignty over every inch of those lands," he said.
The National Weather Service said the unseasonal cold air, which spread from Kansas to Minnesota to Kentucky to New York, has brought an early winter.
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