• 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.

  • 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.

  • Ukraine's New Leader Sets Snap Parliamentary Election for July
    World
    Bloomberg

    Ukraine's New Leader Sets Snap Parliamentary Election for July

    (Bloomberg) -- Ukraine’s new leader started a two-month countdown to snap parliamentary elections as the TV comedian-turned-politician tries to consolidate power after his rapid rise to power.

  • With shelters at 'max' California border agents drop migrants at bus station
    News
    Reuters

    With shelters at 'max' California border agents drop migrants at bus station

    U.S. Border Patrol in the El Centro area of southern California said it began to drop migrants off at San Bernardino's Greyhound Station on Wednesday after it ran out of room to hold them. "It was a decision that was made because they couldn’t take any more families and obviously we cannot keep them in custody for much longer because we are at capacity," said Miguel Garcia, acting assistant chief patrol agent. Apprehensions of migrant families in California's El Centro sector rose 383 percent in the seven months through April from a year earlier as record numbers of mainly Central Americans crossed the border, Border Patrol data shows.

  • US intelligence chiefs shared classified info with tech execs about doing business with China
    Business
    BGR News

    US intelligence chiefs shared classified info with tech execs about doing business with China

    The trade war with China has reached new heights in the past few weeks, as the Trump administration recently announced that US companies will be banned from buying equipment from certain Chinese companies. Huawei's name wasn't explicitly mentioned, but it was obviously implied that China's biggest tech company is included on the list. Separately, the US government also issued a ban that prevents Huawei from dealing with US tech companies, whether it's for parts procurement or software licenses. The first effects of that decision are already here, as Google has already said it will comply with the ban, effectively revoking Huawei's access to the version of Android that everybody wants. Several chipmakers, including Intel and Qualcomm, have also reportedly cut ties with Huawei for the time being.On top of that, a report reveals that top officials from the US intelligence community have been meeting with tech execs, universities, and trade organizations to brief them about the security perils related to doing business with China.The briefings began last October and have been held in California and Washington, The Financial Times reports (via The Verge), with US intelligence informing those in attendance about the cyber threats and the theft of intellectual property risks that come with dealing with China.Among those giving the briefings was Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, the report notes. The meetings reportedly included the sharing of classified information, which is an unusual element for such meetings. It's unclear what kind of information was shared with tech execs during these meetings, and what companies attended them.Republican Senator Marco Rubio, one of the politicians who organized the meetings, confirmed their existence. "The Chinese government and Communist party pose the greatest long-term threat to US economic and national security," Rubio said. "It's important that US companies, universities, and trade organizations understand fully that threat."

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • Marlen Ochoa-Lopez murder: Baby boy cut from mother's womb opens eyes for the first time
    News
    The Independent

    Marlen Ochoa-Lopez murder: Baby boy cut from mother's womb opens eyes for the first time

    A baby boy, cut from his mother's womb after her murder last month, opened his eyes for the first time on Tuesday as he fights for his life in a Chicago hospital.The mother, 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, was nine months pregnant when she was killed last month. Clarisa Figueroa and her daughter Desiree Figueroa have been arrested as suspects.According to police, the pair had lured Ochoa-Lopez to their home under the pretext of offering her baby clothes.After strangling Ochoa-Lopez, the two allegedly cut the unborn baby out of her womb. Police said that they believe the elder Figuaroa had hoped to raise the child as her own after the recent death of her own son. Both Figueroas have been arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Clarissa's boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, has also been arrested and charged with concealing a homicide.The baby, who was removed from the womb almost two months premature, has been fighting for his life ever since.Sunday however, a picture emerged of the little boy in the arms of his father, Yovany Lopez, apparently taken shortly after he had opened his eyes for the first time, CNN reported."We were just praying and praying and he opened his eyes, and his dad said, 'Oh my God, he opened his eyes!'" Cecilia Garcia, a student pastor who is assisting the family and is the one who took the photo, told CNN.Garcia, said she was horrified when she first heard about the killing, but believes that the country has united in support of the family."She's evoked the whole nation of people, pouring their love out for this family," Garcia said in reference to Marlen. "He's a single dad now, and we're praying this baby makes it."

  • 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.”

  • Dog sitter caught walking around naked in customer's home
    U.S.
    Yahoo News Video

    Dog sitter caught walking around naked in customer's home

    A dog sitter has been caught on camera walking around her client’s house naked. Rosie Brown hired Casey Brengle to look after her two dogs, Penny and Daisy, while she went to a wedding for four days.

  • New Quinnipiac poll shows Biden leading Dems, Trump not getting credit for the economy
    Politics
    USA TODAY

    New Quinnipiac poll shows Biden leading Dems, Trump not getting credit for the economy

    According to the poll, 71% of the voters say that the economy is "good" or "excellent," but only 38% of voters approve of Trump.

  • 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.

  • AP Explains: How Yemen's rebels increasingly deploy drones
    World
    Associated Press

    AP Explains: How Yemen's rebels increasingly deploy drones

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In Yemen, the high-pitched whine of drones has been a part of life for over 15 years, ever since the first U.S. drone strike here targeting al-Qaida in 2002. But now, Iran-backed Houthi rebels increasingly deploy drones in Yemen's brutal civil war.

  • Eiffel Tower climber 'admitted to psychiatric unit'
    World
    AFP

    Eiffel Tower climber 'admitted to psychiatric unit'

    A man, believed to be Russian, who sparked a mass evacuation of the Eiffel Tower by scaling the iconic Paris landmark has been admitted to a psychiatric unit, legal sources said Tuesday. The man caused chaos Monday and the closure of the monument to tourists by spending six hours clinging to the outer metal framework of the Eiffel Tower. An investigation has been opened for unauthorised entry into a cultural monument, a judicial source said.

  • China Surveillance Giant Hikvision Slumps on U.S. Ban Report
    Business
    Bloomberg

    China Surveillance Giant Hikvision Slumps on U.S. Ban Report

    The White House will make a final decision in coming weeks on whether to limit exports of U.S. components to Hikvision, as it’s done with Huawei Technologies Co., the Times reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Such a move would escalate tensions with China and raise questions about whether the U.S. is going after more of the country’s technology champions. Hikvision has grown into a surveillance giant, selling its cameras around the world after cashing in on China’s obsession with monitoring its citizens.

  • 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

  • Pompeo says 'quite possible' Iran behind Gulf incidents
    Politics
    AFP

    Pompeo says 'quite possible' Iran behind Gulf incidents

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday it was "quite possible" Iran was responsible for sabotage of Gulf oil interests as he prepared to brief lawmakers on rising tensions. Pompeo cautioned that the United States has not made "a definitive conclusion" that can be presented publicly over mysterious sabotage incidents of oil tankers off the United Arab Emirates or drone strikes on a crude pipeline in Saudi Arabia. "But given all the regional conflicts that we have seen over the past decade and the shape of these attacks, it seems like it's quite possible that Iran was behind these," Pompeo told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

  • Boeing Had Big Plans to Build Its Very Own F-35 (And Flopped)
    Business
    The National Interest

    Boeing Had Big Plans to Build Its Very Own F-35 (And Flopped)

    The fundamental issue with the Joint Strike Fighter was that is was always an overambitious program to replace multiple specialized types with one aircraft in the hope that it could perform every role equally well. The result is predictably a jack-of-all-trades but master of none.On October 26, 2001, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that Lockheed Martin’s X-35 had won the Joint Strike Fighter contest over Boeing’s X-32.(This first appeared in late 2015.)The win secured Lockheed’s future as the manufacturer for all of America’s fifth-generation fighter platforms. But Lockheed’s resultant F-35 has suffered myriad delay, technical glitches, unrecoverable technical shortfalls and massive cost overruns. Already the largest ever defense program with an estimated price tag of $233 billion in 2001 for a total of 2,866 aircraft, the F-35 program is now estimated to cost more than $391 billion for 2,457 jets, according to the Government Accountability Office.Moreover, while the short-takeoff vertical landing F-35B was originally projected to achieve initial operational capability with the U.S. Marines in 2010, it only reached that milestone in 2015—five years late. Meanwhile, the conventional F-35A and the F-35C carrier variant were both slated to achieve initial operational capability with Block 3 software in 2012—but that software block is now scheduled to be delivered for operational testing in 2017 at the earliest.

  • Comrade Sanders Targets Charter Schools
    News
    National Review

    Comrade Sanders Targets Charter Schools

    Few things offend Bernie Sanders as much as people escaping from command-and-control government systems, even minority students whose parents are desperate to get their kids a decent education.The socialist wants to turn George Wallace on his head and not block black children from attending traditional public schools, but block them from exiting those schools for something better.  The New York Times wrote a long, devastating report the other day on the then-Burlington, Vt., mayor’s love affair with the Sandinistas in the 1980s. So many decades later, his reflex is the same: If the Sandinistas wouldn’t favor it, he’s not inclined to like it much either. That goes for charter schools that, yes, are publicly funded, but still too flexible and unregulated for refined socialist tastes. Over the weekend, Sanders unveiled his education plan. He wants to end for-profit charter schools (about 15 percent of all charters) and impose a moratorium on new public funding of charters, while taking steps to impose a one-size-fits-all regulatory regime on existing charters.Sanders thus seeks to kneecap what has been an astonishingly successful experiment in urban education because it doesn’t fit nicely within his ideological preconceptions.That Sanders says he wants to do this to advance the principle that “every human being has the fundamental right to a good education” is hilariously perverse. The comrades will have a good chuckle over that one.Charter schools aren’t the product of a libertarian conspiracy. They fall short of the vouchers favored by conservatives to allow parents to get access to private schools. Charters receive public money but have more leeway to develop policies outside the regulatory and union straitjacket of traditional public schools. Charters had bipartisan support before a Vermont socialist became one of the party’s thought leaders. Bill Clinton won the first-ever lifetime achievement award from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Promoting charters was a hallmark of Barack Obama’s education agenda and a signature of Cory Booker’s mayoralty in Newark, N.J.Not all charters are created equal. Some don’t serve their students well, especially online charter schools, and the performance of suburban and rural charter schools hasn’t been very impressive. It’s the charter schools in urban areas with the worst traditional public schools that have excelled. According to a well-regarded 2015 study by Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, students in urban charter schools got the equivalent of 40 additional days of math instruction and 28 additional days of reading annually. The numbers for African-American students in poverty were even better. Charters in Newark and Boston have seen enormous academic gains.In New York City, the Success Academy founded by Eva Moskowitz — one of the foremost education reformers of our time — has eliminated racial and economic achievement gaps.It’s amazing what schools can do when they impose discipline, have the highest expectations, and focus with a laser intensity on instruction. Anyone interested in the education of minority students should seek to build on these oases of excellence, rather than cut them off. But the teachers unions hate charters, and they are a much more powerful potential cadre in the Sanders “revolution” than poor black kids. Sanders suggests that charter schools somehow increase segregation. This is nonsense, as Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine points out. Urban charter schools reflect the segregation of their neighborhoods where they are located — just like traditional public schools do.The polling shows that minority parents get what Sanders (and white progressives) refuses to understand. A solid majority of black and Hispanic Democrats have a favorable view of charters, while white Democrats have an unfavorable view by a 2-1 margin. It is doubtful how much of his anti-charter agenda Sanders would be able to enact if elected, since much of the action is at the state and local level. That he’s hostile to these schools should, regardless, redound to his shame. © 2019 by King Features Syndicate

  • Star Mueller Witness Don McGahn Says He Won’t Testify Before Congress
    Politics
    The Daily Beast

    Star Mueller Witness Don McGahn Says He Won’t Testify Before Congress

    Alex Wong/GettyDon McGahn does not have testify before Congress, according to a memo released Monday from the Department of Justice. And according to his lawyer, he won’t be. “[T]he President has unambiguously directed my client not to comply with the Committee’s subpoena for testimony,” McGahn’s lawyer, William Burck, wrote in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) telling him McGahn would not comply with the chairman’s order that he testify on Tuesday. “In the event an accommodation is agreed between the Committee and the White House, Mr. McGahn will of course comply with that accommodation.”McGahn’s appearance before lawmakers had already seemed improbable, given that the White House had directed him to refuse to turn over documents related to the Mueller probe. But his formal refusal to testify adds even more fuel to an already bitter political and legal fight between the parties over the boundaries of executive privilege and presidential power. Those battles took shape in various legal memorandum on Monday—memorandum that could functionally reshape the relationship between two branches of government and will undoubtedly be tested in the courts. The Justice Department memo, released by the department's Office of Legal Counsel and addressed to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, argued that Congress inherently does not have the power to make the former White House Counsel talk to them about his work for President Donald Trump. The memo also said the president had the power to order McGahn not to testify and that Congress did not have the power to punish him––criminally or civilly––for following such an order. “The immunity of the President’s immediate advisers from compelled congressional testimony on matters related to their official responsibilities has long been recognized and arises from the fundamental workings of the separation of powers,” reads the memo, signed by OLC chief Steven Engel, a Trump appointee. “Those principles apply to the former White House Counsel.  Accordingly, Mr. McGahn is not legally required to appear and testify about matters related to his official duties as Counsel to the President.”Trump Lawyer Don McGahn’s Exit Tees Up a Clash With MuellerCiting the DOJ memo, Cipollone sent a separate directive to McGahn from Trump, telling him that he was not to testify to Congress about his time in the White House. “Because of this constitutional immunity, and in order to protect the prerogatives of the Office of the Presidency, the President directs Mr. McGahn not to appear at the Committee's scheduled hearing on Tuesday, May 21, 2019,” Cipollone wrote in the letter, which The Daily Beast obtained. “This long-standing principle is firmly rooted in the Constitution's separation of powers and protects the core functions of the Presidency, and we are adhering to this well-established precedent in order to ensure that future Presidents can effectively execute the responsibilities of the Office of the Presidency.” McGahn’s decision to skip Tuesday’s testimony and the OLC memo providing the legal foundation for him to do so is the latest chapter in the administration’s strategy of fighting virtually all elements of Democratic oversight following the issuance of the redacted version of the Special Counsel report on Russia’s electoral interference. But it is, perhaps, the most far-reaching part of that strategy to date.The OLC memo argues that presidential advisors like McGahn would have to refuse to answer many questions from members of Congress because of executive privilege––the president’s right to keep his communications with his advisors about his duties from becoming public. It also lays out an argument Trump allies have been making ever since the inception of the Mueller probe: that letting White House aides testify to Mueller was not an automatic waiver of executive privilege, since that testimony stayed under the executive branch’s control. The argument is controversial, to say the least.Hours after the memo was released, President Trump himself defended telling McGahn to stay mum.“Well as I understand it, they’re doing that for the office of the presidency, for future presidents,” he said of the OLC memo’s objective. “I think it’s a very important precedent. And the attorneys say that they’re not doing that for me. They’re doing it for the office of the president. So we’re talking about the future.”McGahn was the White House’s top lawyer for the first two years of the Trump administration, advising the president on how to navigate Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. He sat for more than 30 hours of interviews with the Mueller team—with the blessing of other White House lawyers—laying out in detail conversations where Trump asked him to interfere in the Mueller probe. Mueller ultimately chose not to decide whether or not to charge the president with obstruction of justice, but outside observers who argue he should have brought the charge point to McGahn’s statements as evidence that Trump may have broken the law. According to the Mueller report, McGahn said that the president twice pushed him to have the special counsel fired, and also urged him to deny contemporaneous reports that he had asked him to do so. McGahn told Mueller he refused all those requests. The report also says that shortly after then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from overseeing the Russia probe, Trump asked McGahn to “talk to Sessions” about revisiting the decision. When McGahn said he wouldn’t do that, the president “screamed” at him, per ex-White House advisor Steve Bannon’s testimony to Mueller. McGahn is the report’s most-cited witness, by The New York Times’ count––157 times. After the report came out, the White House still turned to McGahn for reputational clean-up. According to The Wall Street Journal, Trump asked McGahn to publicly say he didn’t think the president obstructed justice. And Trump has publicly criticized his former confidant. “I was NOT going to fire Bob Mueller, and did not fire Bob Mueller,” he tweeted the day after the Journal story broke. “In fact, he was allowed to finish his Report with unprecedented help from the Trump Administration. Actually, lawyer Don McGahn had a much better chance of being fired than Mueller. Never a big fan!”This story has been updated with additional reporting. 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.

  • Washington's Huawei reprieve triggers relief rally in bruised EU chip stocks
    Business
    Reuters

    Washington's Huawei reprieve triggers relief rally in bruised EU chip stocks

    Shares in European semiconductor companies, one of the most sensitive sectors to the global trade tensions, recovered from their worst day in 4-1/2 months on Tuesday after the White House backtracked overnight on tough limits on China's Huawei. AMS, STMicroelectronics and Germany's Infineon shot higher - between 2-5.6% - in early deals after Washington temporarily eased trade limits on China's Huawei Technologies, in a move aimed at minimizing disruption for its customers. The technology index was up 1% at 0741 GMT, recovering some of the 2.8% lost on Monday as investors shunned the sector amid worries that Huawei suppliers would lose business or have to sever ties with the world's No. 2 smartphone company due to tough U.S. restrictions imposed last week.