In his questioning of David Hale, undersecretary of state for political affairs, Ratcliffe reprised a now familiar defense of the president, that putting a hold on military aid to Ukraine was done out of concern about corruption in the country. The reasons for the hold in summer 2019, during Ukraine's ongoing war with Russia, were not communicated either publicly or within the diplomatic and national security bureaucracy. Citing other recent instances in which congressionally approved U.S. foreign aid had been withheld without explanation, Ratcliffe asked Hale, “So, having no explanation for why aid is being withheld is not uncommon?
At the Democratic debate in Atlanta on Wednesday, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Sen. Kamala Harris of California clashed over their differing visions for the party, particularly when it comes to foreign policy. Gabbard had criticized Hillary Clinton as the “personification of the left that has sickened the Democratic Party” after the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee suggested in an interview last month that she believed Republicans were “grooming” Gabbard to be a spoiler as a third-party candidate. Clinton, who did not mention Gabbard by name, further suggested that the Hawaii Democrat is “the favorite of the Russians.
Andrew Yang didn't get much speaking time at Wednesday night's Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta, but he made memorable use of the time he got. Near the end of the debate, Yang was asked what he would say, if elected, in his first call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Well, first I'd say I'm sorry I beat your guy," he said.
An ammunition dealer who acknowledged selling hundreds of incendiary tracer rounds to the gunman who killed nearly 60 people at a Las Vegas music festival two years ago pleaded guilty on Tuesday to manufacturing bullets without a license. Douglas Haig, 57, of Mesa, Arizona, became the first and only person arrested and charged in connection with the Oct. 1, 2017, massacre, which ended when the gunman, Stephen Paddock, killed himself. Haig told reporters following his arrest last year that none of the surplus military ammunition he sold to Paddock in September 2017 was ever fired during the killing spree, which ranks as the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Flickr/Oliver Holzbauer American Airlines admitted Tuesday that whatever knocked out two flight attendants and forced an emergency landing in October was not spilled soap, as the airline had previously claimed. On October 21, American Airlines flight 729 was flying from London Heathrow to Philadelphia, but was forced to land in Dublin, Ireland, when two staff members passed out. American Airlines said at the time that the incident was caused by "an odor caused by a spilled cleaning solution in the galley."
Mexico's government said Wednesday it has helped 10 Mexican citizens file lawsuits against Walmart over an August shooting at a store in El Paso, Texas, where a suspected white nationalist killed 22 people. "The objective of these suits, presented in El Paso county, is to hold the company responsible for not taking reasonable and necessary measures to protect its clients from the attack," the foreign ministry said in a statement. Eight Mexicans were killed and eight wounded in the August 3 attack in El Paso, a city on the US-Mexican border where 83 percent of the population is Latino.
Three Ukrainian navy boats seized by Russia a year ago were vandalised before being handed back to Ukraine, the country's navy said. The fast gunboats Nikopol and Berdyansk and the tugboat Tany Kapu were welcomed by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and onlookers waving national flags arrived in Ochakiv, a Ukrainian naval port on the Black Sea on Wednesday evening. But Ukraine's navy said the vessels had been stripped bare and left so badly damaged that they had to be towed home by tug.
The eight submarines, including six nuclear-powered ships, sailed from their bases in northern Russia into the cold waters of the Barents and Norwegian Seas. At the same time, an additional two boats -- the nuclear-powered Sierra-class attack submarines Pskov and Nizhny Novgorod -- sailed into roughly the same waters for tests and training. The 10 vessels represent around 20 percent of the Russian submarine force.
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson said calls to oust Chinese companies from American stock indexes was contrary to the foundations of capitalism, as he warned against the dangers of decoupling the world's two largest economies. Paulson, who's now chairman of the Paulson Institute, told Bloomberg's New Economy Forum in Beijing that moves to reduce ties between the U.S. and China would weaken American leadership and New York's leading role in finance. “When the next crisis comes -- and a crisis will come, because financial crises are inevitable -- we will regret it if we lack mechanisms for the world's first and second-largest economies to coordinate,” Paulson told the forum on Thursday, according to a prepared version of his remarks.
Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) took apart a key Republican defense of President Trump during Wednesday's impeachment inquiry hearing.
Designed by world-renowned architects such as Zaha Hadid and Santiago Calatrava, these bridges are travel destinations in their own right Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
In a tense exchange at Wednesday's impeachment hearing of President Trump, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., grilled Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, over his changing testimony on what he understood about Trump's motivation in seeking an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. “Who would benefit from an investigation of the Bidens?” Maloney asked after an extended back-and-forth with Sondland on that point. “I assume President Trump would benefit —” Sondland said.
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken the next step to join the scrum to unseat Donald Trump, formally filing to run as a Democrat for the post of President of the United States. The billionaire Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat-again declared his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission early on Thursday afternoon. Mike Bloomberg 2020 Inc., his campaign committee, also filed FEC paperwork.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) traveled to Europe with three aides from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3, 2018, on a $63,000 taxpayer-funded investigative trip, and Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani arrested last month on federal campaign finance and conspiracy charges, helped arrange meetings and calls for his trip, The Daily Beast reports, citing Parnas lawyer Ed MacMahaon and congressional records. Nunes aide Derek Harvey was involved in the Parnas meeting, and he accompanied Nunes to Europe along with fellow aides Scott Glabe and George Pappas.
Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh was charged on Wednesday with wire fraud and tax evasion relating to sales of her self-published "Healthy Holly" children's book to charities where she worked, federal prosecutors said. The charges against the Democrat and former state lawmaker relate to her dealings with the University of Maryland Medical System, where she was a board member, and which paid her for her children's books. Pugh, 69, who initially defended the arrangement, called it a “regrettable mistake” in March and resigned in May.
The US aircraft carrier strike group Abraham Lincoln sailed through the key Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday to show Washington's "commitment" to freedom of navigation, the Pentagon said, amid tensions with Tehran. The group's move through the strategic waterway separating Iran and the United Arab Emirates towards the Gulf was scheduled, and unfolded without incident, the US Navy said in a statement. It was the first time a US aircraft carrier group went through the strait since Iran downed a US drone in June in the same area.
A speech by conservative commentator Ann Coulter at University of California, Berkeley drew hundreds of protesters Wednesday night. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, police in riot gear guarded the building's entrances and barricades were erected in anticipation of the protests. Coulter was invited to speak by the Berkeley College Republicans for a speech about immigration called “Adios, America,” the Chronicle reported.
The Royal Navy may already have identified a possible replacement for its Type 45 destroyers. A version of the new Type 26 frigate, which should enter service with the U.K. fleet in the mid-2020s, ultimately could replace the air-defense-optimized Type 45s beginning in the 2030s. The prospect of developing an air-defense variant of the Type 26 offers some hope to the United Kingdom's beleaguered naval shipbuilders that they might be able to build a large number of ships of different classes without a long break in production.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected his indictment on an array of corruption charges, saying the country is witnessing an “attempted coup” against him. Netanyahu was unable to form a government following unprecedented back-to-back elections this year, in part because of his legal woes, and a third vote could be held within months. Israel's attorney general says the indictment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a “heavy-hearted decision” based solely on professional considerations.
Restaurant owner Alex Yeung, along with a 55-year-old former Hong Kong resident, were issued a “stern warning” over what was said to be a gathering of about 10 people sharing their views of the escalating protests, which is an offense under the Public Order Act. Yeung, who has a Youtube channel of largely pro-Beijing content was further instructed he would not be allowed to enter Singapore again without permission from the authorities. “Singapore has always been clear that foreigners should not advocate their political causes in Singapore, through public assemblies, and other prohibited means,” the Singapore Police Force told Channel News Asia late on Wednesday.
Ambassador Gordon Sondland's explosive testimony Wednesday that “everyone was in the loop” on President Trump's efforts to secure an investigation of a political rival prompted rank-and-file Democrats to discuss whether it was time to expand their probe. Sondland testified in minute detail — down to the names of staffers and code words used internally to identify officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — how Vice President Mike Pence, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, former national security advisor John Bolton and others knew the intimate details of Trump's plans. “Was there a quid pro quo?” Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testified.
American Airlines admitted Tuesday the powerful fumes that knocked two flight attendants unconscious and forced a flight to make an emergency landing were not caused by spilled soap, as the airline had previously claimed.
The fifth day of public impeachment hearings hasn't been going much better for Rudy Giuliani than the first four. Former Russia adviser Fiona Hill and diplomat David Holmes testified in a public hearing Thursday amid the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Holmes during his testimony spoke about frustrations in the administration over Trump's personal attorney, who was pushing for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and discredited allegations about Ukraine interfering in the 2016 election, with some officials fretting over his many, many media appearances.
Russian investigators said on Thursday they had opened two criminal cases into the management of a company involved in building the Vostochny Cosmodrome, a space center in the country's Far East. The announcement came less than two weeks after President Vladimir Putin complained to government officials about corruption at the facility and called for further investigations. Construction of the Vostochny Cosmodrome began in January 2011, part of a plan for Russia to reduce its dependency on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, which Russia leases from the former Soviet Republic for space operations.
A decade after 58 people were killed in the Philippines' worst political massacre, none of the alleged masterminds have been convicted yet, leaving families fearful that justice may never come. Though a verdict is now due next month over the bloodshed that drew international outrage, there is no guarantee of a conviction and the painfully slow-moving trial could still be derailed by corruption or even violence. "We are afraid for the life of the prosecutor or even our judge," said Mary Grace Morales, whose sister and husband were among 32 journalists killed in the attack, making it one of world's deadliest on media workers.