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An emissary for two Arab princes boasted to unnamed officials of a Middle Eastern government about his direct access to Hillary and Bill Clinton while funneling more than $3.5 million in illegal campaign contributions to the 2016 Clinton campaign and Democratic fundraising committees, according to a federal indictment.
Hunter's announcement that he would step down came days after the leading California lawmaker, a former U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran, entered his guilty plea in federal court in San Diego. "Shortly after the Holidays I will resign from Congress," Hunter, 42, said in a written statement released by his communications director.
Trump ally Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.) distanced himself from the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani during an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo Thursday night.“I think it’s a little weird that Rudy Giuliani is over in Ukraine right now, and I’m not here to defend Rudy Giuliani,” Gaetz told Cuomo.Cuomo began by asking Gaetz what he made of Giuliani’s presence in Ukraine, where he met this week with government officials as part of his ongoing effort to prompt the opening of a corruption investigation that would benefit Trump politically.Giuliani met on Thursday with a KGB-trained member of Ukraine’s parliament to discuss a possible investigation into Hunter Biden, son of former vice president Joe Biden. In November, news broke that Giuliani considered taking Ukraine’s top prosecutor as a client earlier this year, as he urged the prosecutor and other Ukrainian officials to investigate former vice president Joe Biden.Gaetz replied by saying that Giuliani deserved “to get the benefit of the doubt” due to his past credentials, but was not shy about voicing some skepticism.“As you point out, there’s some ambiguity about the role that Rudy Giuliani’s playing, and I think it probably would be helpful if Rudy clarified the role that he was playing in these different circumstances, and if he’s acting for other clients or other entities, that would be helpful information to have,” Gaetz said. The Florida congressman added that “if Mayor Giuliani did something wrong, which I haven’t seen evidence of, then of course there’s a process to deal with that.”> "There is some ambiguity about the role that Rudy Giuliani is playing," says GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz about the President's personal attorney's efforts in Ukraine. "It probably would be helpful if Rudy clarified the role that he was playing in different circumstances." pic.twitter.com/uepPuBECW9> > -- Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) December 6, 2019Gaetz was also quick to defend Trump when Cumo pressed on whether Giuliani’s work was proof of the crimes Democrats are mulling in drafting articles of impeachment.“When it comes to the president, which is what this impeachment is about, you have a long-held criticism and concern about foreign aid, you have a legitimate concern about Ukraine — the third-most corrupt country in the world — and you also have specific legitimate concern about Burisma,” Gaetz said.“It was in fact Mr. Kent, who testified that there was such substantial concerns about Burisma, that our own embassy had to pull out of a private partnership with them out of fear that we would be smeared with this type of corrupt behavior. So, with all of that being a legitimate question, the president should not never be impeached on it.”Giuliani continues to publicly claim that he is in possession of evidence that proves Joe Biden abused his position as vice president to benefit his son.> …to the US assisting Ukraine with its anti-corruption reforms. > > The American people will learn that Biden & other Obama administration officials, contributed to the increased level of corruption in Ukraine between 2014 to 2016. > > This evidence will all be released very soon.> > -- Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) December 5, 2019
As the holidays approach and many may find themselves dreaming of a white Christmas, Mother Nature has a different idea up her sleeves. The weather pattern will soon be reversed in the northeastern United States, allowing wintry landscapes to transform into a sloppy, muddy mess instead.Forecasters are closely watching a storm system that is expected to take shape and track toward the Great Lakes early next week -- and it will be the player that will help to flip the weather conditions in the East. As wintry weather and yet another snowstorm are predicted for portions of the Midwest, surging warm and moist air will race out ahead of the system.Temperatures are expected to rebound to the 30s over the northern tier to near 50 F in parts of Virginia as a southerly breeze develops on Sunday.On Monday, temperatures are forecast to surge into the 40s across the northern tier and the 50s and 60s across part of the mid-Atlantic region. The warm air combined with rain will dissolve the deep snow over part of the Northeast, potentially leading to flooding issues for some communities. Recent storms have buried parts of New York state and central and northern New England under as much as 1-3 feet of snow in the last couple of weeks. A car makes its way through a snowy landscape in Highland Falls, N.J., Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. The last of the snow is falling over parts of New Jersey after leaving behind power outages in the northwest part of the state. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) That snowcover contains a significant amount of locked-up moisture, called the snow-water equivalent.Within the existing snow on the ground, there is between 1 and 5 inches of water as of Thursday, Dec. 5.Many areas, including those places where deep snow is on the ground, may stay well above freezing Sunday night, which can allow the snow to soften up. This image was taken from the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. (NOAA) Some of the deep snow may harmlessly melt from Sunday to early Monday before the storm and its soaking rain arrives, but there is a risk that surging temperatures, moist air and drenching rain may cause a rapid meltdown of the existing snowcover from later Monday into Tuesday.Instead of releasing the 1-5 inches of water by itself, another 1-2 inches of water may be added in depending on the intensity of the rainfall that occurs. "Since the ground is not frozen, some of the melting snow and rain will be absorbed by the soil and should avoid disastrous stream and river flooding," Dale Mohler, AccuWeather senior meteorologist, said.However, some quick rises on small streams are likely with minor flooding possible in low-lying areas that are prone to flooding during heavy rain or spring thaw events. Some of the rivers may surge to bank full as well."Even if only part of the snow melts and only a light amount of rain falls, piles of snow along streets and highways that are blocking storm drains can lead to urban flooding," Brett Anderson, AccuWeather senior meteorologist, said.Anderson said that property owners should make sure that runoff has easy access to storm drains ahead of the system's arrival to reduce the risk of flooding as a precaution."Even in some of the major cities along the Interstate 95 corridor from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia and New York City where there is no appreciable snow on the ground, enough rain can fall to cause travel delays and ponding on roads that drain poorly," Dave Bowers, AccuWeather forecaster, said.Ski resorts in the region that have gotten off to their earliest start in recent years will take a hit from the storm. Those seeking ideal ski conditions are encouraged to hit the slopes into Sunday, before the rainstorm arrives.Along with bringing a swath of heavy snow to part of the Upper Midwest, next week's storm is predicted to unleash Arctic air in its wake later Tuesday and Wednesday. Remaining areas of slush and standing water can freeze as temperatures plummet across the northeastern U.S. There is a chance that the cold air may catch up with the back end of the rain and cause a period of snow at the tail end of the storm at midweek.Since the storm will be weak rather than strong, it's possible that a secondary storm may develop along the push of frigid air, according to AccuWeather Chief Broadcast Meteorologist Bernie Rayno."I am pretty convinced that a storm is going to form along this boundary [between warmer air in place and colder air surging] into the Carolinas Tuesday night. Then, the question becomes does the storm goes out to sea and the cold front blasts out to sea? Or, does the storm have enough energy because of all of the energy associated with the jet stream that the storm strengthens? And, if it does, it won't go out to sea. It will come up the coast. If the storm does strengthen, you've got to worry about a snowstorm," Rayno said.The I-95 corridor of the mid-Atlantic and eastern New England could face snow if the latter and stronger scenario unfolds. If a weaker secondary storm develops, then it will likely push out to sea. If a secondary storm forms and it strengthens enough, it may bring snow to the Northeast. No indications are currently pointing to a big snowstorm developing and rather it could be more of a nuisance snowfall, according to Rayno.However, this type of weather pattern has yielded major snowstorms in the past, and meteorologists will have to keep a watchful eye on how all of the weather players come together, Rayno added.AccuWeather meteorologists are also tracking the potential for yet another significant storm toward the middle of the month, warning that it could be disruptive to the eastern U.S. Download the free AccuWeather app to check the forecast in your area. Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
Hong Kong's much-maligned police force provided a rare behind-the-scenes look Friday at its bomb disposal squad to show the potentially deadly destructive force of homemade explosives seized during months of protests that have shaken the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. In July, police announced the seizure of about 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of TATP, which has been used in militant attacks worldwide. Other recent seizures in Hong Kong involved far smaller amounts, just 1 gram, of TATP, or tri-acetone tri-peroxide.
Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg said on Thursday he wants to become president to end "the nationwide madness" of U.S. gun violence, calling it evil and saying he would allow its victims to file lawsuits against gun manufacturers.
December 7, 1941 began as a perfect Sunday morning. These photos show the attack by Imperial Japan that changed history.
Fifteen Russian spies, including those accused of the Salisbury nerve agent attack, used the French Alps as a “base camp” to conduct covert operations around Europe over a five-year period, according to reports. The revelations came as Germany expelled two Russian diplomats after prosecutors said there was “sufficient factual evidence” linking Moscow to the killing of a former Chechen rebel commander in central Berlin. According to Le Monde, British, Swiss, French, and US intelligence have drawn up a list of 15 members of the 29155 unit of Russia's GRU military spy agency who all passed through France’s Haute-Savoie mountains close to the Swiss and Italian borders. They stayed between 2015 and late 2018, notably in the towns of Evian, Annemasse and Chamonix - the scene of a ski chase in the 1999 James Bond film, The World Is Not Enough. They arrived from London, Moscow, Spain and often Geneva. The Le Monde report added five new names to those already published by online investigative outlets such as Bellingcat and The Insider. Their identities and movements were uncovered during a joint probe by allied counterespionage services in the wake of the attempted poisoning of defector Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in March 2018, said the paper. Britain and its allies accuse the Kremlin of seeking to assassinate Mr Skripal, a charge Russia vehemently denies. Those who stayed in the Haute-Savoie included Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov - the cover names of the two GRU agents accused of carrying out the attack on Mr Skripal, along with Serguei Fedotov, the suspected mastermind. According to Le Monde, a fourth agent believed to be linked to the Skripal assassination attempt and who stayed in the Alps, Serguei Pavlov, was located in the UK by MI6 in 2017. Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, the Russian suspects in the Skripal poisoning, are among those alleged to have used the French Alps as a base Credit: Getty Images Europe Le Mondesaid the five new names cited, all aliases, are Alxandre Koulaguiine, Evgueni Larine, Tour Nouzirov, Naman Youssoupov and Guennadi Chvets. The unit was also active in areas such as Bulgaria, Moldova, Montenegro and Ukraine. Western intelligence services involved found no material or arms left behind by the agents during their stays in France, Le Monde said, but their presence was confirmed by where they ate, stayed and shopped. "The most likely hypothesis is to consider it (Haute-Savoie) as a rear base for all the clandestine operations carried out by unit 29155 in Europe," said a senior French intelligence official, quoted by Le Monde. The paper said that one theory is that by staying in the Alps, the agents hoped to shake off any suspicion before they carried out their missions, which could explain why they conducted no covert missions on French soil. On Wednesday, Angela Merkel’s government summoned the Russian ambassador and ordered two of the embassy staff to leave the country within seven days. The two diplomats concerned are believed to be Russian intelligence officers, according to local media reports. The German foreign ministry said they had been declared persona non grata in protest at Russia’s failure to cooperate with investigations into the killing of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian national shot dead in a Berlin park in August. The suspected killer was captured by police attempting to dispose of a gun believed to be the murder weapon in the nearby river Spree. He was carrying a Russian passport which identified him as Vadim Sokolov, but German prosecutors on Wednesday confirmed that they now believe that is a false identity. Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were both poisoned with Novichok, a banned chemical weapon, in Salisbury Credit: Social media/EAST2WEST NEWS Police findings indicate that it is “highly likely” the arrested man is Vadim Krasikov, a Russian national previously wanted for the murder of a businessman in Moscow in 2013, prosecutors said. A senior MP in Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat party (CDU) on Thursday described the case as a “return to the days of the Cold War”. “Counterintelligence and foreign reconnaissance against Russia must be significantly expanded,” Armin Schuster told Bild newspaper. “Germany must get its act together if a foreign state can order murder on German soil.”. France denies any “laxism” by its embassy in Moscow for handing him a 90-day emergency visa on July 29 on a fictitious address. He passed through Paris before travelling on to Berlin. British and French intelligence sources told Le Monde the assassination was “ordered by the pro-Kremlin Chechen regime of Ramzan Kadyrov with logistical help of the Russian state”. According to Le Monde, French intelligence suspects the Berlin assassination was leaked to the public for “political reasons” linked to President Emmanuel Macron's apparent rapprochement with Moscow. Last week, Mr Macron said: “Has the absence of dialogue with Russia made the European continent any safer? ... I don’t think so.” “France's desire to rebuild strategic ties with Moscow has clearly prompted reactions from states who prefer direct confrontation with Russia,” said one French intelligence source, who denied any French “complacency or naivity” towards Moscow. French surveillance of foreign Russian espionage was, the source told Le Monde, “no doubt higher than any other service in Europe”.
By cutting off communications.
Law Professor Jonathan Turley, who was called before Congress this week by Republicans, argues that Donald Trump should not be impeached for using the courts to prevent Congress from obtaining evidence of his misconduct. Turley said this despite the fact that Trump has categorically instructed current and former government employees not to comply with requests for testimony and documents, having unilaterally declared Congress’ impeachment investigation to be constitutionally “illegitimate,” One former Republican prosecutor now sitting on the nation’s highest court long ago was far less tolerant of efforts to stymie the disclosure of evidence of presidential misconduct.Trump has proffered supposed legal arguments for some, but by no means all, of his rejections of Congress’s requests for witnesses and information, including that his closest White House advisers are “absolutely immune” from testifying about even the most serious presidential crimes. It is also all but certain that Trump will broadly assert the executive privilege in an effort to bar the now absent witnesses from answering key questions, even if they do ultimately appear before Congress, likely leading to yet another round of litigation. Trump’s Shameless Plan to Disqualify Every Impeachment WitnessApart from the impeachment proceedings, Trump has been litigating for months against virtually all demands for documents and information related to various types of potential presidential misconduct. Trump has also suffered a remarkable series of courtroom losses, often accompanied by emphatic judicial repudiations of his typically weak and overreaching arguments, and the lower court losses are now piling up before the Supreme Court. Now, like a mafia don who attempts to win a racketeering trial by knocking off his crew before they cooperate against him, Trump is arguing that his to-date successful efforts to prevent Congress from questioning potentially significant witnesses should allow him to avoid impeachment.Based on his past work as a member of Ken Starr’s team during the investigation of Bill Clinton, it is clear that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh would emphatically disagree with Trump’s efforts to benefit from this obstruction of Congress.During Starr’s grand jury inquiry, Bill Clinton initially invoked the executive privilege in response to demands for the testimony of several witnesses. The matter went before a trial court, which ruled in Starr’s favor. Clinton initially filed a notice of appeal, but—after Starr asked the Supreme Court to hear the case on an emergency basis—Clinton withdrew his effort to quash the subpoenas. And although Clinton made certain additional, more limited, privilege assertions in connection with the testimony of White House attorneys, Starr once again ultimately obtained the testimony he was seeking.Starr assigned Kavanaugh to play a key role in authoring Starr’s report to Congress, which included a section setting forth potential bases for impeaching the president; among them was a claim that Clinton should be impeached for going to court to assert the executive privilege in the first place. According to Starr and Kavanaugh, the privilege assertion was itself impeachable, because it was purportedly meritless and Clinton had managed to use the privilege litigation to delay Starr’s investigation. As the Starr Report put it, the temporary delay amounted to an illicit “conceal[ment]” by Clinton of his “personal misconduct.” Starr and Kavanaugh also argued that Clinton should be impeached because he refused to voluntarily testify himself, despite the fact that (unlike Trump) Clinton ultimately testified after receiving a subpoena; once again, mere delay was deemed potentially impeachable.The House did not ultimately include the Starr/Kavanaugh theory of obstruction by litigation delay in its articles of impeachment, but then, Trump’s stonewalling scheme is far more comprehensive than anything Clinton ever attempted. Clinton voluntarily dropped his litigation challenges, thus allowing Starr to obtain the evidence he sought in more than sufficient time to complete his report. All of the relevant evidence was ultimately made available to Congress in connection with its impeachment inquiry. By contrast, Trump has managed to employ litigation—and outright obstinacy—to keep potentially important documents and witnesses relating to the Ukraine investigation wholly out of the hands of Congress. Furthermore, Trump has gone to court in an effort to prevent Congress from reviewing the testimony and documents underlying Robert Mueller’s investigation as well. It is not hard to imagine what a young Brett Kavanaugh would say about Trump’s bad-faith use of the courts to stonewall Congress’ investigation. He would say it amounts to “unlawful” presidential obstruction of Congress.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.