With preparations for the Senate impeachment trial underway, there are still several days before next week's opening arguments, leaving a vacuum Republicans and Democrats will fill with debate over whether witnesses will be allowed to testify. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been laying the groundwork for weeks to argue against witnesses in the Senate trial. McConnell's case against witnesses is built on a key premise that he has worked hard to establish: the idea that the House is a less serious, more partisan body whose members are more prone to take a short-term view.
A South Jersey man was sentenced to six years of probation after pleading guilty Thursday to offenses related to an incident with an underage girl at his wedding in Northampton, Pennsylvania, in 2018. Matthew Aimers, 32, of Willingboro, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor offenses, according to James O'Malley, spokesman for the Bucks County District Attorney's Office. Aimers pleaded guilty to simple assault stemming from a fight at the wedding and indecent exposure for an incident involving the teen.
The Washington-based Syria Justice and Accountability Center said Thursday that the evidence — documents produced by IS itself — could help identify individuals responsible for atrocities during the militants' four-year reign of terror and lead to criminal prosecutions. The 24-page report, called “Judge, Jury and Executioner,” is based on dozens of documents obtained by SJAC from inside Syria and collected by a local activist from abandoned IS offices in Raqqa province, where the militants also had their self-declared capital in a city that carries the same name.
A dark money group with ties to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced Tuesday it will spend over $500,000 on digital ads attacking former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Ocasio-Cortez has in the past called dark money the “enemy to democracy,” saying groups that use it do so to “manipulate electorates” and silencegrassroots candidates. The group, Organize for Justice, is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, meaning it can raise unlimited sums of money without having to disclose the identity of its donors to the public.
House Oversight Committee Republicans Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows issued nine demands to FISA Court presiding judge James Boasberg in a Thursday letter in response to the appointment of Obama Department of Justice lawyer David Kris to help oversee the FBI's reform of FISA applications. The letter, obtained by National Review, asked Boasberg to identify who else besides Kris was considered, whether Kris's past defense of the FISA application to surveil Trump-campaign adviser Carter Page was taken into account, and whether “the FISC bears any responsibility for the illegal surveillance of Carter Page,” among other concerns.
Hearings into whether a Huawei executive can be extradited to the United States will begin on January 20 in Vancouver, in a case with potential repercussions for ties between the US, China and Canada. Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecom giant and daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei, was detained in the Canadian city on a US warrant in late 2018. Founded by former People's Liberation Army (PLA) engineer Ren in 1987, Huawei has grown into one of the world's biggest technology firms.
The supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, is always up to something unusual. Using 13 years worth of data from the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, astronomers were able to identify a new class of objects extremely close to the black hole, Sagittarius A*. According to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, the six objects, named G1 through G6, appear to be interacting with the black hole.
Australia's fires this summer—unprecedented in the scale of their destruction—are the ferocious but inevitable reality of global warming. In most countries, asking people whether they believe in the science of climate change is like asking them whether they believe in gravity. Tragically, the climate-denying political right in Australia has turned what should be a practical question of how to respond to a real physical threat into a matter of values or belief.
Chinese President Xi Jinping flew into Myanmar on Friday for two days of talks to shore up massive infrastructure projects in the Southeast Asian nation isolated by the West over its treatment of the Rohingya Muslim minority. State counselor Aung San Suu Kyi greeted him with a handshake on the steps of the presidential palace after a ceremonial welcome by the president and a military marching band, on the first day of a two-day visit, Xi's first as leader and the first of any Chinese president in 19 years. Analysts say Xi will seek to reinvigorate stalled infrastructure projects central to his flagship Belt and Road Initiative described as a "21st century silk road".
After MSNBC's Rachel Maddow aired her interview with Lev Parnas on Wednesday night, fellow host Lawrence O'Donnell told her it was an "extraordinary hour" of television. "Why has he decided to basically turn on his friends in the conspiracy and talk about the conspiracy?" Parnas worked with Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal lawyer, to pressure Ukrainian officials to procure dirt on Joe Biden. Maddow said there's probably an "implicit" but far-fetched hope that cooperating with investigators and sharing what he knows will help him in his federal criminal case, but "I will tell you, Lawrence, I was convinced until the moment I was sitting there talking to him that it was going to be canceled." She added that for her, the "headline" from the interview was his claim about Vice President Mike Pence's involvement in the Ukraine meddling.
LOS ANGELES—United States District Court Judge James V. Selna ordered today that Stormy Daniels' ex-attorney Michael Avenatti remain in federal custody for possible violation of his conditions of pretrial release and be transported “forthwith” to New York, where he will stand trial next week. The judge found there was probable cause Avenatti had committed crimes in violation of the terms of his bond and ordered the embattled celebrity attorney detained without bond. Avenatti will continue to be held in an Orange County jail pending transfer to New York and will remain in custody “for the foreseeable future,” according to Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California.
The Islamic Republic has been reeling from one crisis to another, from the targeted killing by the United States of its top general to the Revolutionary Guard's accidental shootdown of a passenger plane carrying scores of young people, most of them Iranians. U.S. sanctions have crippled its economy as tensions with America have soared. In a rare Friday sermon in Tehran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stuck to the playbook Iran has relied on since 1979, blaming the country's woes on the U.S. and other Western powers, and proclaiming that Iranians still support the Islamic Revolution.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk submitted his resignation on Friday after an audio recording suggested he had criticized the president, but then appeared to suggest in comments to Reuters that he might stay in his job.
Newly revealed surveillance video circulating on social media appears to show two missiles slamming into a Ukrainian passenger jet that crashed, killing all 176 people aboard minutes after takeoff from Tehran a week ago. Peter Goelz, a former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board, told USA TODAY it's possible the plane would have survived the first hit. "It's conceivable that if they hadn't fired the second shot, the outcome might have been different," Goelz said.
The Philippines said Friday it was reimposing a ban on its citizens going to work in Kuwait after a Filipina was allegedly killed by her employer, echoing a 2018 row between the two countries. President Rodrigo Duterte approved the ban as his government accused the emirate of covering up the killing of a maid, one of about 240,000 Filipinos working in the Gulf state. Duterte's government briefly banned Filipinos deploying for work in Kuwait two years ago amid a diplomatic row that began with the discovery of the remains of a murdered Filipina maid in her employers' freezer.
Vermont Fish and Wildlife shared the clip of an eight-point buck shedding its antlers in the middle of the night, captured by a resident of Northfield, Vermont. The wildlife agency posted the footage on Facebook, calling it “spectacular and unique.” It's been viewed more than 277,000 times and shared by over 3,000 users. The animal is called an eight-point buck for its eight antlers, according to the Noble Research Institute, an agriculture research organization.
Yet, before U.S. leaders dismiss this warning into a heap of other global calamities, they should briefly peruse the words below from an unsigned Chinese editorial in the December 25, 2019 edition of Global Times: “The United States as a whole must understand that although Taiwan is the easiest place to provoke Mainland China, it is also the place where the U.S. is most at risk. It is precisely that China has the most real cards against the U.S. provocation in the Taiwan Strait region, and China has the strongest will and capability to defend the core interests of the country [美方作为整体必须了解，台湾虽是最容易挑衅、刺激中国大陆的地方，但也是对美方来说风险最大的地方。中国在台海地区反制美方挑衅的实牌恰恰也是最多的，而且中国在这里捍卫国家核心利益的意志和能力都是最强的].
Two things happened simultaneously on Wednesday: (a) The House of Representatives transmitted to the Senate two articles of impeachment approved on straight partisan lines a month ago, and (b) the House's impeachment inquiry — yes, it's still very much alive — highlighted new, relevant evidence it has turned up about the activities in Ukraine of President Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Giuliani's associates. The Democrats' strategy is coming clear. The House provided the Senate with two half-baked impeachment articles.
AP Photo/Steve Helber The FBI has arrested three alleged members of the neo-Nazi hate group The Base, The New York Times first reported Thursday. The men who were arrested were 27-year-old Patrik Jordan Mathews, a former Canadian soldier who entered the US illegally; 33-year-old Brian M. Lemley Jr., a former US Army soldier, and 19-year-old William G. Bilbrough, according to the US Attorney's Office in Maryland. They were arrested in Maryland ahead of a major gun-rights rally in Virginia amid growing concerns about violence reminiscent of the 2017 white supremacy march in Charlottesville.
A gun-rights group has filed an emergency appeal of a judge's ruling upholding the Virginia governor's ban on firearms at a pro-gun rally that's expected to draw thousands of gun activists to the state Capitol on Monday. The Virginia Citizens Defense League and Gun Owners of America sought an injunction against the ban, but Judge Joi Taylor ruled Thursday that Gov. Ralph Northam has the authority under state law to take action related to "the safety and welfare" of the state. The group's lawyers then turned to the Supreme Court of Virginia.
Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden has been distancing himself from his 2002 vote for the invasion of Iraq as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time.
A federal court in New York is preparing to release more sealed documents in a 2015 defamation suit filed by Virginia Giuffre, a victim of dead sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, against his alleged madam, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell. As part of the review process, other secret “non-parties” to the case who are named in the documents—including other alleged victims, and people accused of having sex with Giuffre—will need to be notified ahead of the unsealing and have the option to object. After those objections are filed, legal teams for Maxwell and Giuffre will have a chance to file their own oppositions.
An actress who had a role in "Marriage Story" and her husband are suing Princess Cruises, alleging their room on the Emerald Princess ship was infested with bedbugs and left them with bites all over their bodies. Connie and Alvin Flores allege in a lawsuit, filed in November 2019, that their stateroom aboard the cruise they took a year earlier was "infested with hundreds of bedbugs." The pair cruised from Nov. 28, 2018, through Dec. 4, 2018, out of Los Angeles. Connie Flores played an "arguing woman" in "Marriage Story," and is now speaking publicly about the suit.
Five tourists arrested for damaging Peru's iconic Machu Picchu site will be deported to Bolivia later on Wednesday, police said. A sixth was released from custody and ordered to remain in Machu Picchu pending trial after paying bail of $910. The six tourists -- four men and two women -- were arrested for damaging Peru's "cultural heritage" after being found in a restricted area of the Temple of the Sun on Sunday.