• Rex Tillerson Secretly Meets With House Foreign Affairs Committee to Talk Trump
    Politics
    The Daily Beast

    Rex Tillerson Secretly Meets With House Foreign Affairs Committee to Talk Trump

    Jonathan Ernst/ReutersFormer secretary of state Rex Tillerson spoke with the leaders of the House Foreign Affairs committee on Tuesday in a lengthy session that, an aide said, touched on his time working in the Trump administration, the frictions he had with the president’s son-in-law, and efforts to tackle issues like Russian interference in the 2016 election.Tillerson’s appearance, first reported by The Daily Beast, took place as virtually every other Trumpworld luminary has been stonewalling congressional oversight efforts. At the same time the former secretary of state was speaking before lawmakers, former White House counsel Don McGahn was ignoring a subpoena to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee. Tillerson’s arrival at the Capitol was handled with extreme secrecy. No media advisories or press releases were sent out announcing his appearance. And he took a little-noticed route into the building in order to avoid being seen by members of the media. Tillerson reached out to the committee and expressed a willingness to meet, a committee aide said. In a more than six-hour meeting, he told members and staffers that the Trump administration actively avoided confronting Russia about allegations of interference in the election in an effort to develop a solid relationship with the Kremlin, a committee aide told The Daily Beast. Tillerson also told members and aides that he had tried to establish a formal and disciplined interagency process at the State Department whereby the president could receive informed briefings on sensitive foreign policy matters, the aide said. That effort never manifested, Tillerson told the committee, in part because of the president’s management style, but also because of interference from other aides.Tillerson told the committee that the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, at times impeded his ability to communicate effectively and introduce to President Trump policy proposals developed by State Department experts on major foreign affairs matters across the globe, not just in the Middle East. Kushner, a White House adviser, has publicly focused much of his international efforts on the Middle East and is set to unveil a Middle East peace plan in the coming weeks.Tillerson had a notoriously prickly relationship with the president, reportedly calling him a “moron” in private. But he was present during critical moments of the administration, including Trump’s private 2017 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg, Germany. Since leaving his post, Tillerson has rarely made public appearances, save for speaking at a panel in Houston in December. During that appearance, he said there was “no question” Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. “So often, the president would say, ‘Here’s what I want to do and here’s how I want to do it,’ and I would have to say to him, ‘Mr. President I understand what you want to do but you can’t do it that way. It violates the law,’” Tillerson said.Tillerson’s interview by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and ranking member Michael McCaul (R-TX)  comes a month after special counsel Robert Mueller published his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Since then, top Democrats on the Hill have demanded that Attorney General Bill Barr and Mueller answer questions related to the report and its publication. Barr has declined to testify before the House, citing the insistence of the committee that staff lawyers be allowed to conduct some of the questioning. Mueller is reportedly in negotiations to testify, though the Department of Justice had previously not agreed on a date for him to do so. On Tuesday, CNN reported that Mueller’s team had expressed reluctance about the possibility of a testimony taking place in public for fear that it would appear political. This story has been updated with additional reporting.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.

  • Prosecutor: Agent called migrants 'savages' before hitting 1
    News
    Associated Press

    Prosecutor: Agent called migrants 'savages' before hitting 1

    PHOENIX (AP) — A Border Patrol agent in Arizona sent texts calling immigrants "savages" and "subhuman" the month before using his patrol vehicle to knock over a Guatemalan man who was trying to flee, prosecutors say.

  • Huawei founder says US underestimates company
    Business
    AFP

    Huawei founder says US underestimates company

    Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei on Tuesday shrugged off US attempts to block his company's global ambitions, saying the United States underestimates the telecom giant's strength. Ren spoke to Chinese media days after President Donald Trump issued orders aimed at thwarting Huawei's business in the United States, the latest salvo in a months-long effort to stop the company's charge to the top of the leaderboard in next-generation 5G technology. "The current practice of US politicians underestimates our strength," Ren said, according to transcripts from state-run media.

  • US weather service issues highest tornado warnings in two years
    News
    The Independent

    US weather service issues highest tornado warnings in two years

    More than two million people in Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle are in harms way after the National Weather Service's Storm Prevention Centre announced a threat level-five warning - their highest - for violent tornadoes as well as warnings for significant hail and flooding lasting into Monday night.They've also designated the storm a 'Particularly Dangerous Situation' or PDS, their most dire classification. This is the first time in two years that the National Weather Service has issued such high warnings for a storm. According to the SPC, the probability of all three weather types is 95%. The only other storm to have had such high probabilities in the SPC's history, was an Alabama storm in 2011, the centre pointed out. Marble-sized hail has already been reported in Oklahoma and baseball sized hailstones are a possibility.In anticipation of the storm Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma, closed down schools for the day, while Tinker Air force Base evacuated some of its aircraft, CNN reported. Veteran storm chaser Mike Smith cautioned others against braving the storm. "To: StormChasers, I believe I am the only one of the original, 1972, chasers still chasing. But, I will not be out today. It is too dangerous. The tornadoes will be difficult to see and too dense & flooding could cut off escapes." he wrote in a tweet.The storm comes on the 6th anniversary of the 2013 Moore tornado that killed 24, including 9 children, in the town of Moore, Oklahoma.Over the weekend 52 other tornadoes hit seven states across the country.

  • Iran Has Amassed the Largest Ballistic Missile Force in the Middle East
    World
    The National Interest

    Iran Has Amassed the Largest Ballistic Missile Force in the Middle East

    Deterring regional adversaries from threatening Iran is the primary reason Tehran has amassed the largest ballistic missile force in the Middle East.The missile program actually began under the Shah, but it was accelerated during the Iran-Iraq War in order to threaten Saddam Hussein with strikes deep in Iraqi territory. Since then, Iran has worked with countries like Libya, North Korea and China in order to develop a large and diverse arsenal of ballistic and cruise missiles that form one part of its three-leg deterrent strategy. With Iran now using missiles in conflict, it’s worth taking a closer look at the weapons in its arsenal.(This first appeared back in 2017.)Shahab-SeriesThe backbone of Iran's missile forces are the Shahab-series of liquid-fueled (mostly) short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM). There are three variants of the missile: The Shahab-1, Shahab-2 and Shahab-3. The Shahab-1 was the first missile Iran acquired and is based on the Soviet Scud-B missile. Iran reportedly purchased these initially from Libya and possibly Syria, but North Korea has been its main supplier. The Shab-1 has a reported range between 285–330 kilometers, and can carry a warhead of around one thousand kilograms. Iran is believed to have three hundred Shahab-1 rockets.

  • Researchers say a tiny planet slammed into the Moon a long time ago
    Science
    BGR News

    Researchers say a tiny planet slammed into the Moon a long time ago

    Earth's Moon only ever shows us one face. It's locked into its current orientation, with a permanent nearside and farside, but it wasn't until the Apollo missions that scientists were able to see just how different the two sides really are. The nearside, with its sea of dark gray basins standing in contrast to the brilliant white powder that covers the rest of its face, varies dramatically from the farside, which is marked with countless smaller craters in a more uniform distribution.The debate over how the Moon's split personalities developed has raged for decades, but new research seems to indicate that one of the possible explanations does indeed hold water. The theory, that Earth's Moon was struck by a tiny dwarf planet long ago, is the subject of a new research paper published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.Using computer models to simulate what may have happened to the Moon's surface long ago, researchers suggest the most likely scenario seems to be the collision between the Moon and a very large body. The impact of a dwarf planet as large as 480 miles across would have struck what we see today as the Moon's nearside at a speed of 14,000 miles per hour.This theory stands in contrast to other proposed explanations, including the theory that Earth may have once had not one Moon, but two. The two-moon theory suggests that Earth's moon duo may have at one point collided and merged, leaving the Moon as we see it today looking oddly unsymmetrical.The dwarf planet collision scenario assumes that whatever the body that struck the Moon was, it was in its own path around the Sun and just happened to be in the right place at the right time to strike Earth's natural satellite. This, the researchers say, would also explain why the crust on the farside of the Moon is different than that of its nearside."We demonstrate that a large body slowly impacting the nearside of the Moon can reproduce the observed crustal thickness asymmetry and form both the farside highlands and the nearside lowlands," the paper explains. "Additionally, the model shows that the resulting impact ejecta would cover the primordial anorthositic crust to form a two‐layer crust on the farside, as observed."

  • Business
    Reuters

    GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks slide as worries about Huawei fallout mount

    Global equity markets fell on Monday as a U.S. crackdown on China's Huawei Technologies led chipmaker stocks in Europe and on Wall Street to slide on fears of a widening trade war, while the dollar was steady before fresh insight on the Federal Reserve's interest rates policies this week. China accused the United States of harboring "extravagant expectations" for a trade deal, underlining the gulf between the two sides as the U.S. action last week against Huawei began to hit the global tech sector. Alphabet Inc's Google suspended some business with Huawei, Reuters reported, and Lumentum Holdings Inc, a major supplier of Apple Inc's face ID technology, said it had discontinued all shipments to Huawei.

  • Several Tornadoes Touch Down Across Oklahoma
    U.S.
    KFOR - Oklahoma City

    Several Tornadoes Touch Down Across Oklahoma

    Residents in several Oklahoma communities were forced to take shelter as severe storms moved through their area on Monday.

  • Is It Cheaper To Buy A 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback From Britain?
    Lifestyle
    motorious

    Is It Cheaper To Buy A 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback From Britain?

    This immaculate 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback is estimated to sell at British auction for $95K. It’s hard not to whisper Steve McQueen’s name when presented with a Ford Mustang 390 GT Fastback, even if it isn't a 1968 model. The American classifieds may provide evidence of eye-watering sums being traded for healthy Fastback specimens, but it’s not always the case in Great Britain.

  • Contempt or impeachment? Trump and Democrats locked in ultimate congressional battle
    Politics
    The Guardian

    Contempt or impeachment? Trump and Democrats locked in ultimate congressional battle

    The White House strategy appears to be designed to force the Democrats’ hand, but lawmakers are treading cautiouslyThe Trump administration has attempted to block any and all requests from Democrats in Congress. Photograph: Carlos Barría/ReutersDemocrats grabbed control of the House of Representatives in January of this year determined to restore congressional oversight. But with the Trump administration now at a moment of reckoning, a battle royal has unfolded. What exactly is the White House doing?The Trump administration’s strategy is simple: block any and all requests from Democrats in Congress, even if it means defying a subpoena, such as blocking compliance by former White House counsel Don McGahn, a key witness in the Mueller inquiry, to testify on Capitol Hill this week.Also this month, the attorney general, William Barr, has ignored a subpoena for the full report by Robert Mueller on his Trump-Russia investigation and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin rebuffed a House request to hand over six years’ of Trump’s tax returns. Trump, who has dismissed the congressional inquiries as “presidential harassment”, suggested the Democratic chairs of House committees instead turn their powers to investigating his former political opponent Hillary Clinton. Why are the Democrats not looking into all of the crimes committed by Crooked Hillary and the phony Russia Investigation? They would get back their credibility. Jerry Nadler, Schiff, would have a whole new future open to them. Perhaps they could even run for President! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2019The White House strategy appears designed either to force Democrats to take the administration to court – which could take years – or pull the trigger on impeachment. What can Democrats actually do?Democrats on the House judiciary committee have voted to hold Barr in contempt and have threatened to hold McGahn in contempt, too.The House majority leader, Steny Hoyer, said the chamber may consolidate multiple contempt citations against officials. Some Democrats cite the House’s “inherent contempt” powers, which grant them the right to jail individuals in the Capitol – an action that hasn’t been taken since the 1930s – or issue fines.Adam Schiff, the House intelligence committee chairman, suggested US officials held in contempt of Congress be fined $25,000 a day.“We’re looking through the history and studying the law to make sure we’re on solid ground,” Schiff told Axios in a recent interview.Others see the third branch of US government, the judicial branch, as the answer.“The only recourse is litigation, which the president will likely lose, but it will cause delay,” said Greg Brower, a former assistant director in the FBI’s office of congressional affairs.The White House could drag court action out beyond the 2020 election. Is impeachment really in the cards?The heart of the debate among Democrats is whether or not to begin impeachment proceedings.Some rank-and-file lawmakers have already embraced the idea, stating the 11 instances outlined in Mueller’s report in which Trump or his campaign sought to obstruct justice are reason enough alone.But Democratic leaders are treading cautiously, because they would never win a conviction in the Republican-led Senate.The American public is split on the issue , with polls showing a majority against it and support for the idea falling even among Democrats.Justin Amash, a representative from Michigan, just became the first Republican to call for impeaching Trump, an important bipartisan point that drew widespread backlash for him.And Jerry Nadler, Democratic chair of the powerful House judiciary committee, signaled impatience on Tuesday, after McGahn was a no-show to testify.“We will not allow the president to stop this investigation, and nothing in these unjustified and unjustifiable legal attacks will stop us from pressing forward with our work on behalf of the American people,” Nadler said.“We will hold this president accountable, one way or the other.”

  • Man who threatened to kill ‘as many girls as I see’ because he was repeatedly rejected set to be spared jail
    News
    The Independent

    Man who threatened to kill ‘as many girls as I see’ because he was repeatedly rejected set to be spared jail

    A man who threatened to murder “as many girls” as he could see may escape a jail sentence, despite pleading guilty to a charge of attempted threat of terrorism.Christopher Cleary wrote a detailed Facebook post about how he planned to become “the next mass shooter” in January 2019.The 27-year-old described himself as a virgin who had never had a girlfriend.He also said he wanted to make the fact that so many women had turned him down “right” by going on a shooting spree, according to documents filed by Provo Police.Cleary was arrested on 19 January after publishing the Facebook post.Cleary then struck a deal with Utah prosecutors, pleading guilty to a reduced criminal charge.Attempted threat of terrorism is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.But Utah prosecutors agreed to recommend him for probation, despite his extensive criminal record.A judge will decide whether or not to accept the deal at a hearing on Thursday.The 27-year-old has been accused of stalking multiple times, with at least eight alleged victims contacting the authorities about his behaviour since 2012, according to police and court records.He was on probation following a marijuana conviction in 2016 when he was charged with stalking two teenagers he had met online.Cleary was put on probation for the stalking cases but in 2017 was charged with stalking and harassing his case worker.In 2018 judges in Jefferson County, Colorado sentenced him, once again, to probation for all three stalking cases.In one of the cases a 19-year-old woman said she lived with Cleary for a fortnight in a hotel room. She said that he strangled and urinated on her during that time, court records show.Cleary was out on probation for the three cases when he was arrested in a McDonald's in January, after publishing his Facebook post.Pam Russell, a spokeswoman for the Utah’s county prosecutor’s office, said once the case was concluded Cleary would be returned to Colorado.Prosecutors in Denver will seek to revoke his probation and send him to prison in relation for the stalking and harassment cases, she added.“All I wanted to be was loved,” Cleary wrote in his Facebook post.“Yet no one cares about me, I’m 27 years old and I’ve never had a girlfriend before and I’m still a virgin, this is why I’m planning on shooting up a public place soon and being the next mass shooter cause I’m ready to die.”It is unclear how truthful the Facebook post was, as at least two of Cleary’s accusers have said they had a sexual relationship with him.Some news reports have speculated that Cleary could be part of the “incel movement”, which promotes the misogynistic idea that men are entitled to have sex with women.But a Colorado police detective, who investigated two accusations against the 27-year-old, said there as no evidence he was part of the movement.“I truly think he’s just wired differently,” he said. Additional reporting by agencies

  • May holds out promise of new Brexit referendum
    World
    AFP

    May holds out promise of new Brexit referendum

    British Prime Minister Theresa May promised Tuesday to give lawmakers a vote on whether to hold a second Brexit referendum as part of a last-gasp push to get her deal over the line. The embattled British leader dangled a series of sweeteners that she hopes can resolve the Brexit crisis three years after the country first voted to leave the European Union after 46 years. "The government will therefore include in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill at introduction a requirement to vote on whether to hold a second referendum," she said.

  • Could One of America's Allies Take Down the F-35 Program?
    Business
    The National Interest

    Could One of America's Allies Take Down the F-35 Program?

    What does America need to save its troubled F-35 stealth fighter?Turkey, that’s what.Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan recently warned that the multinational F-35 program, of which Turkey is a member, would fail if Turkey were excluded. Turkey is facing sanctions, including being dropped from the F-35 program if it goes ahead with purchasing Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, which has raised Washington’s fears that F-35 secrets might be leaked to Russia. The U.S. has stopped shipping equipment to Turkey for that nation’s planned purchase of 100 F-35s, while the first two aircraft officially delivered to Turkey are still in the United States.For its part, Ankara is adamant that it has a right to purchase both American stealth fighters and Russian anti-aircraft missiles, despite the fact that the S-400 is one of the most likely Russian weapons to be used against the F-35. “We were surely not going to remain silent against our right to self-defense being disregarded and attempts to hit us where it hurts,” Erdogan said at a Turkish defense trade show. “This is the kind of process that is behind the S-400 agreement we reached with Russia.”“Nowadays, we are being subject to a similar injustice - or rather an imposition - on the F-35s ... Let me be frank: An F-35 project from which Turkey is excluded is bound to collapse completely.”

  • After Huawei, U.S. could blacklist Chinese surveillance tech firm - media
    Business
    Reuters

    After Huawei, U.S. could blacklist Chinese surveillance tech firm - media

    The U.S. administration is considering Huawei-like sanctions on Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision, media reports show, deepening worries that trade friction between the world's top two economies could be further inflamed. The restrictions would limit Hikvision's ability to buy U.S. technology and American companies may have to obtain government approval to supply components to the Chinese firm, the New York Times reported https://nyti.ms/2MfgBS3 on Tuesday. The United States stuck Huawei Technologies on a trade blacklist last week, effectively banning U.S. firms from doing business with the world's largest telecom network gear maker, in a major escalation in the trade war.

  • New laws bring confusion, uncertainty for abortion clinics
    News
    Associated Press

    New laws bring confusion, uncertainty for abortion clinics

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Abortion clinics are facing protesters emboldened by a flurry of restrictive new state laws as they reassure confused patients that the laws have yet to take effect, abortion providers said.

  • Farage's Brexit Party to Trounce May, Sporting Index Says
    World
    Bloomberg

    Farage's Brexit Party to Trounce May, Sporting Index Says

    Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives will win seven, while Labour will take 13 and the Liberal Democrats 12, Sporting Index predicted in an email in London on Tuesday. Sporting Index has had a consistently strong record in predicting some of the key twists and turns of the Brexit saga. Last month, about two hours before the latest vote on May’s Brexit deal, the spread betting firm forecast she’d lose by 60 votes.

  • DOD: Iranian Threats ‘Put on Hold’ Thanks to U.S.
    World
    National Review

    DOD: Iranian Threats ‘Put on Hold’ Thanks to U.S.

    The Department of Defense said Tuesday that potential threats from Iran have been "put on hold" thanks to precautionary measures taken by the U.S.“We have put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans,” Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan said at the Pentagon.The U.S. deployed four B-52 bombers, Patriot air-defense missiles, and the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier-strike group to the Persian Gulf earlier this month amid fears that Iran was transporting short-range ballistic missiles in the region. Shanahan cited “indications of a credible threat by Iranian regime forces” in justifying the move.The State Department last week ordered all non-critical government employees to leave Iraq, saying the tensions with neighboring Iran could endanger Americans in the area. Additionally, a rocket was fired Sunday night which landed less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, and no casualties occurred."There haven't been any attacks on Americans," Shanahan confirmed. "That doesn't mean that the threats that we've previously identified have gone away. Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region.""I just hope Iran is listening,” Shanahan added, vowing that any attack by Iran on U.S. assets "will be met obviously with great force."

  • More House Dems come out for impeachment as McGahn defies subpoena
    Politics
    Yahoo News

    More House Dems come out for impeachment as McGahn defies subpoena

    The drumbeat among Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump got a little louder Tuesday, when former White House counsel Don McGahn failed to appear before the House Judiciary Committee after Trump instructed him to defy a subpoena.

  • Business
    USA TODAY

    American Airlines blames mechanics for 2,200 flight delays, cancellations, warns of summer travel trouble

    American Airlines says a slowdown by mechanics led to nearly 2,200 flight cancellations, delays since February and has intensified.

  • Fears rise China could weaponise rare earths in US tech war
    World
    AFP

    Fears rise China could weaponise rare earths in US tech war

    The US has hit China where it hurts by going after its telecom champion Huawei, but Beijing's control of the global supply of rare earths used in smartphones and electric cars gives it a powerful weapon in their escalating tech war. A seemingly routine visit by President Xi Jinping to a Chinese rare earths company this week is being widely read as an obvious threat that Beijing is standing ready for action. Xi's inspection tour "is no accident, this didn't happen by chance," said Li Mingjiang, China programme coordinator at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore.

  • Iran Bluster Is about Red Lines, Not War
    Politics
    The National Interest

    Iran Bluster Is about Red Lines, Not War

    In the past week, American-Iranian tensions flared to heights not seen since the Reagan years, when U.S. and Iranian ships and planes faced off in the Persian Gulf. Not only have Iranian irregular forces apparently sabotaged four ships off the major Emirati port of Fujairah with either magnet bombs or underwater drones, but a subsequent drone attack on a Saudi pipeline amplified tensions to a new level.Even on the best of days in hyper-partisan Washington, there are enough polemics to go around. The fact that national security in general—and Iran policy in particular—have become political footballs only makes the problem worse. Never one to miss an opportunity to throw fuel on the rhetorical fire, President Donald Trump threatened via tweet, “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”Happily, however, nothing in the American military posture makes it appear that war—or even a limited engagement—is imminent, let alone likely.Consider the U.S. Navy’s posture: The Trump administration has reportedly dispatched an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, but if a war against Iran really was on the table, then this would be the worst possible move.

  • InterDigital expects to be able to license 5G tech to Huawei, despite U.S. ban
    Business
    Reuters

    InterDigital expects to be able to license 5G tech to Huawei, despite U.S. ban

    InterDigital and Qualcomm are the two major American holders of patents for wireless networking technology, including the 5G networks rolling out this year in China. Last week, President Donald Trump issued an executive order restricting the ability of U.S. firms to sell technology to Huawei, though officials on Monday eased some of those restrictions for 90 days. InterDigital, which generates revenue by developing wireless technologies and then licensing out the patents, said it believes it can continue its efforts to strike a 5G deal with Huawei because export control laws do not cover patents, which are public records and therefore not confidential technology.