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Impeachment and a path to redemption for TrumpPresident Trump’s most effective path forward, not only to prevail in the impeachment proceedings but to end this ordeal and create a strong position from which to govern, is to follow the Clinton model rather than the Nixon path. 

1/16/2020 11:23:01 AM

AOC-Linked Dark Money Goes After Biden and ButtigiegWait, isn't she against that...

1/15/2020 1:59:00 PM

US military training for Saudi students could resume soonU.S. training for more than 800 Saudi Arabian military students could be restarted "in the coming days," the Pentagon said Thursday, nearly six weeks after a shooting by one Saudi trainee killed three sailors at a Florida base. The Pentagon had stopped all flight and field training for the approximately 850 Saudi students amid fears that others may have known about or been involved in the shooting at the Pensacola Naval Air Station. Jonathan Hoffman, chief spokesman for the Defense Department, said officials probably will have an announcement soon about the training resumption.

1/16/2020 11:30:52 AM

Aide Accused of Murdering Former Arkansas State Senator Offered ‘Gold’ From Jail for Hit on Ex: ProsecutorsA woman awaiting trial for allegedly killing a former Arkansas state senator was hit with new charges Tuesday after she promised fellow inmates she would give them “gold and silver” to murder the victim’s ex-husband and his new wife, prosecutors said. Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell, who pleaded not guilty to several charges in the June murder of former State Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, was slapped with two counts of soliciting to commit murder and two counts of solicitation to commit tampering with physical evidence in connection with the elaborate plot she allegedly tried to orchestrate from prison.The former campaign staffer for Collins-Smith has been behind bars since June 14—10 days after the 57-year-old Republican was found fatally stabbed and wrapped in a blanket under a tarp at the end of her Pocahontas, Arkansas, driveway. Former Arkansas State Senator’s Shooting Death Investigated as ‘Homicide’Authorities at the time said O’Donnell was caught on video removing Collins-Smith’s home surveillance cameras on May 28, 2019—the last day the politician was seen alive—but have not elaborated on the details of the murder due to a gag order. O’Donnell, 49, faces the death penalty on the original murder charges and is being held without bond in Jackson County. “These newest charges further cement in our minds that the police have arrested the right person. Rebecca O’Donnell’s threats are being treated very seriously but have not deterred our faith in what we are committed to: justice for Linda,” the family of Collins-Smith said in a Wednesday statement to The Daily Beast. “Thank you all for your continued support, prayers and well wishes.”According to several jailhouse informants, O’Donnell allegedly tried to hire two fellow inmates to stage a murder-suicide at the home of the lawmaker’s ex, former state Judge Phil Smith, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in the Jackson County Circuit Court on Tuesday. During a Nov. 7 interview, one of the inmates told an Arkansas State Police special agent that O’Donnell wanted her to “shoot or hang Mr. Smith” and include a “suicide note” that the 49-year-old had handwritten, the affidavit states. The same inmate was then told to pack a bag to make it seem like his new wife “was in the process of leaving him,” the affidavit states.Prosecutors allege O’Donnell told other inmates that “Phil Smith needed to be killed” so that “charges would be dropped off her.” In exchange for the hits, the inmates were told they could take a bag of “gold and silver” from Smith’s home—which investigators said had been appraised to be worth between $20,000 and $30,000 during his divorce.O’Donnell, in addition to working on Collins-Smith’s campaign, had served as a witness in the couple’s acrimonious divorce, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.They Were Hired to Murder a Man’s Ex-Wife, But Accidentally Killed Her Sister: SheriffThe former campaign staffer also allegedly tried to enlist the inmates to go to Randolph County Jail to blow up her 2005 Honda Civic so she could “destroy any evidence” that could be used in her murder trial because “police had planted stuff in her truck,” the affidavit states. On top of that, she allegedly asked two inmates to kill a judge and prosecutor connected to her murder case.The prosecutor, Henry Boyce, was taken off the case in December without citing a reason. “My family’s faith in Becky is unwavering. We cannot imagine the evidence will actually substantiate these allegations. The allegations defy believability. I won’t even comment on the informant’s extensive criminal history but instead will wait to see if the state produces credible evidence at trial,” Tim Loggains, O’Donnell’s fiancé, said a statement. One inmate told police that while she never considered killing Smith, she was worried “a more gullible” inmate might. The three other inmates who reported O’Donnell also stated they refused the murder requests.Maryland Millionaire Daniel Beckwitt Found Guilty of Murder in 2017 Death of Man Who Helped Dig Bunker TunnelsO’Donnell’s defense attorney, Lee Short, denied the allegations in a statement to ABC News, casting doubt on the inmates’ credibility, insisting they had an incentive to offer information for a reduced punishment. Short did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment.“It’s not surprising at all—inmates do it all the time,” Short said. “In high-profile cases, especially homicides, people tend to seek opportunities to improve their situations by giving statements against people.”Collins-Smith was first elected to the state senate in 2014 but lost her re-election bid in 2018. Prior to her time in the Senate, the lawmaker served in the statehouse of representatives from 2011 to 2013. While she was elected as a Democrat, Collins-Smith switched parties just months after taking office, citing a change in “ideals.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get 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.

1/15/2020 12:51:07 PM

Grey pineapples: Volcano devastates Philippines farmA farmer in the Philippines said his chances of salvaging produce from his 1-hectare (2.5-acre) farm were small and, in any case, there was no one to sell them to with tourists avoiding the Tagaytay area on the archipelago's biggest island Luzon, 32 km (20 miles) from the Taal volcano.

1/15/2020 6:37:43 AM

Teacher asks students to ‘identify rapist’ on homework assignment, prompting investigationTexas schools officials say they’ve taken “corrective action” after a ninth grade teacher included a question about a rape victim in a homework assignment receivedApproximately 90 students received an assignment that asked the following: “Suzy was assaulted in an alley and is a victim of rape. The police collected a sample of sperm that was left at the crime scene and now have three suspects in custody. Which of the suspects raped Suzy?”

1/15/2020 11:34:16 AM

Northam Declares State of Emergency, Invokes ‘Mayhem and Violence’ of Charlottesville ahead of Pro-Gun RallyOn Wednesday, Virginia governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency ahead of an annual second-amendment demonstration expected to draw thousands next Monday, and announced a ban on all weapons in the state capitol building, citing “credible intelligence” of “groups with malicious plans.”> We have received credible intelligence from our law enforcement agencies of threats of violence surrounding the demonstration planned for Monday, January 20. This includes extremist rhetoric similar to what has been seen before major incidents, such as Charlottesville in 2017.> > -- Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) January 15, 2020Northam implied the rally, hosted by Virginia Citizens Defense League ahead of the passage of a number of gun-control bills by the Democratic-led legislature, was motivating “violent rhetoric” that mirrored the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the FBI arrested three members of a neo-Nazi group called The Base, who had discussed attending the Richmond rally."No one wants another incident like the one we saw in Charlottesville," Northam said. "We will not allow that mayhem and violence to happen here."Northam said that while “I believe” the organizers of the rally, Virginia Citizens Defense League, when they state the protests will be peaceful, “they have unleashed something much larger, something they may not be able to control.”“Intelligence shows a threat of armed militia groups storming our capitol," Northam stated. “. . . I call on them to discourage people from other states from coming to Virginia with violent intent. Hate, intimidation, and violence have no place here."Northam supports a number of gun control measures, including universal background checks, a “red-flag-law” to allow for the gun-seizure, and setting a once-per-month limit on gun purchases. His efforts have sparked a grassroots movement in Virginia to resist the initiatives. A number of municipalities have already declared themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries.”

1/16/2020 8:57:07 AM

The Iranian government is turning on its military after it lied about the downing of a Ukrainian passenger planeExperts say the Iranian government's U-turn on its military reflects that it is struggling to control the narrative around the downing of the plane.

1/16/2020 4:27:00 AM

McConnell says 'the House's hour is over'During an address on the floor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, "The House's hour is over. The Senate's time is at hand."

1/16/2020 10:02:53 AM

As the Trump administration fills board seats, critics see an alarming attempt to remake governmentFor the Trump administration, appointing board members may be an effective and little-noticed means of weakening a federal apparatus it fundamentally distrusts. His board appointments, many of which may outlast his presidency, could serve an internal Republican resistance to a future Democratic administration. 

1/15/2020 4:00:17 AM

Why Andrew Yang thinks candidates of color have been shut out of the Democratic debatesAndrew Yang has a theory for why there are barely any candidates of color left in the Democratic primary race.After Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) dropped out earlier this week, Yang remains the only person of color in the Democratic race with a solid base of support. And as he tells Politico ahead of Tuesday night's Democratic debate, that dilemma stems from "inequities and financial realities" that affect people of color outside of politics, too.While Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) made the December debate stage, she dropped out of the 2020 race due to a lack of financial support beforehand, leaving Yang the only person of color in that debate. That left him feeling "a bit of extra pressure" to talk about race both in the debate and in his campaign in general, he told Politico. "Race has not been the central theme of my campaign from the beginning," Yang said, but added "it's more natural to talk about it when you're literally the only person of color on a national debate stage."Now, Yang has been barred from Tuesday's debate after he failed to make the Democratic National Committee's polling threshold, leaving six white candidates on the stage. This, Yang says, "reflects the realities of our society where being able to run for office and contribute to political campaigns requires a degree of disposable income. If you're black or Latino in the country, you are much less likely to have disposable income."DNC Chair Tom Perez defended the thresholds as a "remarkably inclusive and frankly low bar" which have resulted in "the most diverse field in American history."More stories from John Bolton will reportedly reveal some of what he knows about Trump's Ukraine scandal in his upcoming book 'Okay Boomer' was just used in a Supreme Court argument for the 1st time The paradox of Trump's trillion-dollar deficit

1/14/2020 7:15:00 PM

Pakistan: 21 more bodies recovered in avalanche-hit KashmirSearch teams aided by Pakistani troops pulled out 21 more bodies from homes destroyed by this week's avalanches in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, raising the overall death toll due to severe winter weather to 160 for Pakistan and Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday. Rescuers were racing against time to reach scores of people believed still to be trapped inside their homes, buried under avalanches triggered by heavy snowfall in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

1/15/2020 11:17:37 AM

Former Philippine police chief indicted for drugs war corruptionThe former chief police enforcer of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's deadly war on drugs will be charged with corruption for allegedly protecting officers linked to the narcotics trade, the justice department said Thursday. Oscar Albayalde resigned in October after serving as Philippine police chief for more than a year, having presided over an anti-narcotics crackdown that left thousands of drug suspects dead. The episode that led to his sudden fall from grace cast an unwelcome light on a drug war that is immensely popular with Filipinos, but which has faced international criticism over allegations that police were summarily executing suspects.

1/15/2020 6:55:52 PM

Australian tourism industry seeks urgent help as cost of bushfires growsAustralia's peak tourism body estimated the country's bushfire crisis has so far cost the industry almost A$1 billion ($690 million) and called for urgent help from the government to lure back visitors. Industry bosses were due to meet with Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham later on Thursday as storms and heavy rain brought some respite from months of fierce bushfires across Australia's east coast. "People have basically stopped travel," Simon Westaway, executive director of Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC), told Reuters.

1/15/2020 6:45:02 PM

China's Stealth Fighters And Bombers Are Only As Good As Their EnginesAnd those need a lot of work.

1/16/2020 12:45:00 AM

The Navy cryptically says it has top-secret UFO briefings that would cause 'exceptionally grave damage' to US national security if publishedThe Navy previously confirmed it was treating objects that baffled pilots in Department of Defense videos as UFOs.

1/15/2020 4:47:25 AM

Buttigieg Says Zuckerberg Has Too Much Power: Campaign Update(Bloomberg) -- Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has too much power and that there is a strong case for the social media giant to be broken up.“No one company and no one person should have the kind of power that they’ve accumulated,” Buttigieg told The New York Times editorial board in an interview published Thursday.Buttigieg said he had concerns about the company’s data security and privacy practices as well as its monopoly power, namely Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp. “At a certain level, instead of the burden being on the state to demonstrate that some of these mergers will be harmful, I think the burden should be on the company to demonstrate that they won’t,” he said.The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor has not been as vocal as a critic of big tech as presidential rivals such as Elizabeth Warren, who paid for billboards in San Francisco calling for breaking up big tech companies. Moreover, Buttigieg has been criticized for his coziness with Silicon Valley, where he has held many private fundraisers and raised millions of dollars.Buttigieg was also asked in the Times interview about his relationship with Zuckerberg, who, as Bloomberg News first reported, quietly made staff recommendations to the Buttigieg campaign. “So, we were in college at the same time, got a lot of mutual friends, and it doesn’t mean we agree on a lot of things,” Buttigieg said. They both attended Harvard University. More Than One Democrat Could Claim Iowa Victory (12:31 p.m.)Changes in how the Iowa Democratic Party will report results of the Feb. 3 caucuses could allow three different candidates to claim victory — though only one number will count in the all-important race for delegates.For decades, Democrats have reported Iowa results in terms of state delegate equivalents — an estimate of the number of representatives each candidate will have at a statewide caucus to nominate Iowa’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention. That’s still the number that will be used by the state and state and national parties, and the Associated Press said Thursday it would use that number as well.But this year, as part of a push toward greater transparency following the contested 2016 caucuses, Iowa will report two other numbers:First allocation: The total number of caucus goers supporting each candidate in the first round of selection.Final allocation: The total number of caucus goers supporting each candidate after nonviable contenders — those who fail to meet a threshold of at least 15% — are eliminated in each precinct.Most campaigns have committed to using the state delegate equivalents, but a lower-polling candidate could benefit from touting a strong showing in the first round. -- Gregory KorteCOMING UP:The Democratic presidential candidates will debate again in New Hampshire on Feb. 7.The first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses will be held Feb. 3. The New Hampshire primary is Feb. 11. Nevada holds its caucuses on Feb. 22 and South Carolina has a primary on Feb. 29.(Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)\--With assistance from Gregory Korte.To contact the reporter on this story: Tyler Pager in Washington at tpager1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at, Magan Crane, Max BerleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

1/16/2020 1:24:55 PM

Trump threatened UK with 25% car tariffs unless it agreed to accuse Iran of breaking nuclear dealDonald Trump threatened the UK with a 25 per cent tariff on its cars unless the British government officially accused Iran of breaking the 2015 nuclear deal, it has been reported.The secret threat last week, first reported by The Washington Post, which cited unnamed European officials, would have seen the tariff imposed on all European automobile imports to the US unless Britain, France and Germany agreed to the ultimatum.

1/16/2020 7:42:13 AM

Virginia governor bans guns from State Capitol ahead of pro-gun rallyA lobby day against stricter gun laws is expected to attract thousands of people, including members of anti-government groupsThe Virginia governor on Wednesday said he was temporarily banning all guns and weapons from the area around the Capitol in Richmond ahead of a major gun rights demonstration set for next week.Ralph Northam, who is leading the push for stronger gun laws in his state, said he wants to avoid a repeat of violence that erupted at a 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, when a march by white nationalists erupted into violence and led to the death of a counter-protester.Northam said on Twitter he had received credible intelligence from law enforcement agencies of threats of violence surrounding a lobby day against stricter gun laws planned for 20 January.“We support citizens’ rights to peacefully protest and express their views to their elected officials. But we must also keep the public, as well as those who work around Capitol Square, safe,” Northam said.The lobby day, organized by a Virginia gun rights group, is expected to attract tens of thousands of people to the state capital, including members of anti-government groups from other states. Northam said on Twitter that law enforcement intelligence suggested “militia groups and hate groups, some from out of state, plan to come to the Capitol to disrupt our democratic process with acts of violence”.A “substantial number” of the demonstrators “may be armed, and have as their purpose not peaceful assembly but violence, rioting, and insurrection”, the governor’s executive order read.A state official told the Associated Press that threatening social media posts, including a photo of an AR-15 rifle and text saying there were “great sight angles from certain buildings” near Capitol Square, had prompted the governor’s decision.The Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), the state gun rights group organizing Monday’s lobby day event, had previously asked supporters not to bring rifles and other long guns to the lobby day, citing concerns about the optics of gun owners toting AR-15s or AK-47s around the state Capitol. But the group had publicly anticipated that the event would attract “enough citizens armed with handguns to take over a modern mid-sized country”.Philip Van Cleave, the VCDL president, told the Guardian that the group was consulting its lawyers and exploring a legal challenge to the governor’s ban on weapons in Richmond’s Capitol Square. In the meantime, he said, the group would advise supporters who wanted to be armed to stay in the area outside of the immediate Capitol grounds.Because VCDL is expecting at least 50,000 supporters to show up to Monday’s event, and the group has been informed that the Capitol grounds will only be able to hold 10,000 people, there will probably be a large number of armed gun rights activists in the streets of downtown Richmond regardless, Van Cleave said.Asked about the threatening social media posts officials had cited, Van Cleave said that he himself had forwarded “between five and 10” concerning posts to Virginia law enforcement, including one aerial photo of the Capitol grounds that had been marked with potential locations for a sniper, but that he was not sure if any of the posts were credible threats.“Anybody can get an overhead shot from Google, and they can get a red pen and they can circle spots, and they might not know what they’re doing,” he said.The group was dealing with a deluge of false and distorted information about lobby day, he said, and it wasn’t clear how much of it was coming from “some keyboard warrior”.Asked how credible he thought any threats of violence related to the event might be, Van Cleave said, “I don’t know. I personally haven’t lost any sleep over it.”Since Democrats won control of Virginia’s state government in the November elections and promised to pass a slate of stricter gun laws, pro-gun activists across the state have organized a vigorous grassroots movement to protest against the new bills. More than 125 counties, cities and towns across the state have passed “second amendment sanctuary” resolutions, pledging to respect gun owners’ rights and to not enforce any state gun laws deemed to be unconstitutional.The local second amendment sanctuary movement has attracted hundreds and even thousands of supporters at local government meetings, drawing comparisons to the Tea Party movement. The rhetoric of some of these local activists has been intense, with calls of treason and tyranny, and open references to civil war. Lies, conspiracy theories and misinformation about Democrats’ proposed gun control bills have circulated widely, prompting outrage and threats of violence against Democratic politicians.This grassroots gun rights movement in Virginia has attracted attention from pro-gun activists across the country, some of whom have pledged to come to Virginia to stand with local activists on Monday, Van Cleave said. He said he was expecting buses of gun supporters from as far as Texas and Connecticut, and even some activists from the west coast, including California, Washington and Oregon.The movement has also been seized on by more extreme groups, including anti-government militias and white supremacists, who see the tensions in Virginia as a potential flashpoint that could lead to violent resistance and civil war, often referred to in online conversations as the “boogaloo”, according to an analyst at the Anti-Defamation League, which monitors extremists.The Oath Keepers, a national organization of current and former law enforcement and military officials described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of the country’s largest anti-government groups, called for members to travel to Virginia to attend lobby day and said they also intended to train local activists.A handful of the same extremists who attended the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 have also publicly suggested they might attend lobby day, the Daily Beast reported on Wednesday.The bill that sparked the most outrage from Virginia gun owners, a proposed ban on assault weapons that originally included language that would ban the “possession” of certain military-style guns, has already been withdrawn from consideration by its sponsor, the state senate majority leader, Richard Saslaw.Virginia Democrats have made some statements that have only increased tensions. In mid-December, Democratic congressman Donald McEachin publicly speculated that the governor might call in the national guard to enforce gun laws if local law enforcement officials refused, something that a spokeswoman for the governor said was not actually under consideration.Gun rights activists in Virginia also pointed to Northam’s response to a question in early November about whether he supported confiscating assault weapons from citizens who already owned them. Asked directly about confiscation, Northam “demurred”, the Washington Post reported at the time.“That’s something I’m working [on] with our secretary of public safety,” Northam was quoted as saying. “I’ll work with the gun violence activists, and we’ll work [on] that. I don’t have a definitive plan today.”Two days later, during a National Public Radio interview, Northam was again asked if he planned to confiscate assault weapons that Virginia citizens already owned.“No ma’am, not at this stage,” Northam said. “We’re looking at banning the sales of assault weapons ... that would be what we would start with.”The governor’s office clarified in a statement in early December that proposed assault weapon ban legislation, which had included language banning the possession of military-style weapons, would include a “grandfather” provision, allowing citizens who currently owned the guns to keep them.

1/15/2020 5:08:59 PM
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