• The U.S. Is Outplaying Iran in a Regional Chess Match
    World
    National Review

    The U.S. Is Outplaying Iran in a Regional Chess Match

    In the first two weeks of May, U.S.–Iran tensions appeared to be careening toward war. In an escalating series of warnings, the U.S. asserted that an attack by Iran would be met with unrelenting force. Iran eventually responded with its usual bluster about being prepared for a full confrontation with Washington. But on the ground the Middle East looks more like a chessboard, with Iran and its allies and proxies facing off against American allies. This state of affairs was brought into sharp relief when Iranian-backed Houthi rebels launched a drone attack on Saudi Arabia and a rocket fell near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.U.S. media have tended to focus on the role of national-security adviser John Bolton in crafting the administration’s policy — and whether America would actually go to war with Iran. Iranian media have also sought to decipher exactly what the Trump administration is up to. According to Iran’s Tasnim News, the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Hossein Salami told a closed session of Parliament that the U.S. was involved in a “psychological war” with Iran, predicting the U.S. didn’t have enough forces to actually attack Iran yet.In the complex game of wits being played between the Trump administration and the Iranian regime, it appears that the U.S. temporarily checked Iran’s usual behavior. Iran prefers bluster in rhetoric with a careful strategy of extending its influence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, knowing that any real battle with U.S. forces will result in Iranian defeat. Tehran can’t risk massive retaliation against its allies or the regime at home for fear that it will lead to instability and the destruction of all it has carefully built up in the last years. Iran is suffering from the effects of recent nationwide floods and from shortages due to sanctions, so it can’t afford a total war, and its allies in Iraq and Lebanon are in sensitive positions of power. In the past, Iran benefited from its opaque system of alliances and its ability to threaten western powers and attack U.S. forces with proxies, even seizing U.S. sailors, without fear of reprisal. It learned in the past that the U.S. preferred diplomacy, but the current administration appears to have put Tehran on notice.The question is what can be learned from the escalating tensions. If Iran thinks Washington isn’t serious, or if it senses that domestic opposition to Washington’s saber-rattling is building, Iran may call America’s bluff. But if Iran thinks that Trump’s team really will retaliate, it will tread carefully in all the areas of the Middle East where U.S. allies and Iran’s proxies rub up against one another.To understand the chessboard, we must look at the Middle East the way Iran does. Since the 1980s, Iran’s Islamic revolution has been increasing its influence in the region. This brought Iran into vicious conflict with Iraq in the 1980s, and for a while Iran saw few major geopolitical successes. However, the weakening of the Lebanese state and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 created opportunities for Iran to exploit local militia allies and gain power. It did this in Lebanon through Hezbollah, an armed terrorist organization that has seats in the Lebanese parliament. It also did this in Iraq through a plethora of militias, many of whose leaders had served alongside the IRGC in the 1980s. Today those Shiite militias are called the Popular Mobilization Forces and they are an official paramilitary force of the Iraqi government. They have threatened the U.S., and U.S. intelligence allegedly showed them positioning rockets near U.S. bases earlier this month.In Yemen, meanwhile, Iran has worked closely with the Houthi rebels, who are being fought by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, which includes the United Arab Emirates and the government of Yemen. (That coalition is controversial; in April, Congress attempted to withdraw support for the Yemen war.) The Houthis have fired Iranian-designed ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia and used Iranian-made drones. Iran is also active in Syria, not only in support of the Syrian regime’s war against the now mostly defeated rebels, but also using bases to threaten Israel.The U.S. sees Iran as inseparable from its cobweb of allied militia groups and proxies, many of which are supported by the IRGC. The U.S. designated the IRGC a terrorist organization in April and repeatedly has warned Iran that any attack by it or its proxies will be met with a response.Iran now wants to assure its own people that war isn’t likely through media stories about how the Trump administration isn’t serious. This is in contrast to the usual Tehran bluster and threats, even historic harassment of ships in the Persian Gulf and harassment of U.S. forces in Iraq. Iran’s sudden quiet could, of course, be the calm before the storm, but it is more likely a reflection of the regime’s sudden confusion about U.S. policy. This is a good thing for American interests. Iran needs to be kept guessing about U.S. intentions. It needs to tell its proxies to stop threatening U.S. forces in Iraq, as the Defense Department says they have done as recently as March. The U.S. gained the upper hand in its recent escalation against Iran by playing Iran’s game of bluster and support for allies on the ground. If Washington wants to continue to keep Iran in check, it needs to keep up the pressure.

  • Abducted Idaho girl found safe in Arizona, suspect jailed
    News
    Associated Press

    Abducted Idaho girl found safe in Arizona, suspect jailed

    SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — A 17-year-old girl abducted from an Idaho fast-food restaurant where she worked was found safe in Arizona on Tuesday and the man accused of taking her was jailed on a $1 million bond, authorities said.

  • 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."

  • China's Navy Is Growing So Fast Its Running Out of Names For Its Warships
    World
    The National Interest

    China's Navy Is Growing So Fast Its Running Out of Names For Its Warships

    China’s navy has a new problem: not enough names for its rapidly growing fleet of warships.“China is running out of provincial capitals to name new destroyers, and it might have to turn to other big domestic cities, which reflects the country's rapid naval development in recent years,” according to Chinese newspaper Global Times.The People’s Liberation Army Navy recently named its first Type 055 destroyer the Nanchang, which is the capital city of East China's Jiangxi Province.One of the three other Type 055 destroyers will be named Lhasa, the capital of Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, according to Chinese media. That just leaves Nanning and Taipei as the names of provincial capitals for destroyers (Taipei is Taiwan’s capital, though Taiwan has not yet declared independence as a separate nation from China).Which means non-capital cities will have to bequeath their names to Chinese destroyers. The latest destroyer is named Qiqihar, which is a non-capital city in in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. A few ships have been named after major cities, such as the Shenzen, a Type 051 destroyer.“Chinese destroyers and frigates should be named after big and medium Chinese cities, according to the naval vessels naming regulation,” Global Times said. “This means naming of destroyers does not necessarily have to use provincial capitals, as it was a non-binding tradition.”

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Louisiana senate passes anti-abortion bill in latest attack on women's rights
    News
    The Guardian

    Louisiana senate passes anti-abortion bill in latest attack on women's rights

    Amendment, which would change state constitution to say Louisianans have no right to abortions, set to go before votersPro-choice campaigners in Texas on Tuesday. Critics called the bill’s passage ‘shameful’ and noted it did not make exceptions for victims of race or incest. Photograph: Eric Gay/APThe Louisiana senate approved a state constitutional amendment on Tuesday declaring that citizens have no constitutional right to abortions. The move is the latest salvo in a broader assault against reproductive rights in the state, and it comes on the heels of extreme legislation in Georgia, Missouri and Alabama all aimed at near-total bans of the procedure.The measure now heads back to the house, which has already passed a version, for final approval. The amendment still, however, needs to be ratified by Louisiana voters in a referendum this fall.Critics called the senate’s move “shameful”, noting that it did not make exceptions for victims of rape or incest.“Constitutions are meant to protect rights, not deny them. But that’s exactly what the state senate did today when it passed an amendment that will directly hurt some of our most vulnerable citizens: poor women,” said Michelle Erenberg, the executive director of Lift Louisiana, an advocacy group that defends women’s access to healthcare.While the legislation is similar to extreme anti-choice bills that have popped up in statehouses throughout the US in recent months, the party politics present a wrinkle fairly unique to Louisiana. The bill, like several others currently up for consideration, was introduced by a Democrat – the state representative Katrina Jackson. “I’m pro-woman and I’m pro-life because abortions hurt more women than anything else,” she said in front of the state capitol before the proposal passed.That’s also true of a “fetal heartbeat” bill, in the model of those passed in Georgia and Missouri, which was introduced by the Democratic senator John Milkovich. The bill would ban abortions after cardiac activity is detected in the fetus, which is about six weeks into a pregnancy – before many women are even aware they are pregnant. Milkovich’s bill has already passed in the senate and is likely to receive a vote in the House early next week. Governor John Bel Edwards, a self-described “pro-life” Democrat, has said he intends to sign it when it reaches his desk.That both bills originate with Democrats is hard to square with national party politics. In 2016, the party approved a platform plank stating: “Every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion.”But that’s not the common wisdom in Louisiana, according to Bel Edwards, who addressed the dissonance on his monthly radio show earlier this month. “I know that for many in the national party, on the national scene, that’s not a good fit. But I will tell you, here in Louisiana, I speak and meet with Democrats who are pro-life every single day,” Edwards said.Statewide polling suggests a majority of Louisiana residents oppose abortion in “all or most cases”, but only a quarter say the procedure should never be permitted.Elisabeth Smith, an attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights, said that, in part because of the cross-party unity on anti-abortion measures, Louisiana is already one of the most restrictive states on abortion. “There are lots of abortion restrictions that are passing in other states that Louisiana has already legislated. In some ways, there are not many more places where the state can go,” Smith said.This includes a 2006 “trigger law” that would make abortion illegal in the state if Roe v Wade were overturned; five other states have passed similar laws. Jackson’s constitutional amendment is, in a sense, an effort to one-up that measure and provide an additional layer of protection from future legal challenges.“By enshrining this in the constitution, it makes it just that much more difficult for a future legislature to change the law,” said Ellie Schilling, an attorney who has represented all three of Louisiana’s remaining abortion providers in various legal challenges.Like the trigger law, Tuesday’s constitutional amendment would require the overturning of Roe v Wade to have any real impact in Louisiana. The state’s fetal “heartbeat” bill, too, conflicts with the landmark 1973 supreme court ruling, and would be immediately subject to extensive legal challenges if and when it passed. For that reason, lawmakers tethered the bill to similar legislation that passed in neighboring state of Mississippi in March. With this strategy, Louisiana can save the cost of fighting off a challenge – estimated to cost upwards of $1m in Mississippi – and simply piggyback off the ruling there.That law went before the US district judge Carlton Reeves on Tuesday, but even if he strikes the law down, the state of Mississippi will appeal to the very conservative fifth circuit court of appeals, which Erenberg said is “not one that has been willing to really scrutinize abortion restrictions” in recent memory.Ultimately, the case, or one like it from another state, is probably bound for the supreme court. At least that’s largely what the architects of these plainly unconstitutional bills are hoping for with a firm five-to-four conservative majority now in place on the court. In the meantime, anti-choice lawmakers in Louisiana are still chipping away at reproductive rights through more immediate means, pushing a number of restrictive laws intended to make abortion services more difficult to provide and receive. This includes bills: * requiring medication abortions (those induced by taking a pill, rather than a surgical procedure) to be completed only at abortion clinics * requiring clinics to keep seven years of medical records (and 10 years for minors) * requiring anyone working at an abortion clinic who has contact with patients (including receptionists) to be a mandatory reporter of human trafficking * requiring providers to tell patients, in writing, their physicians’ names, where they completed their residencies, whether they have malpractice insurance, and whether they have been placed on probation in the last decade.“It’s all just aimed at the strategy of just making it more and more onerous and difficult for abortion providers to provide abortion,” Erenberg said.She added that even before any of these laws fully take effect, they have a profound impact on women’s access because of the misunderstandings they can create.The average Louisianan not keeping tabs on the finer points of the legislative process might see the governor signing a bill like the one passed today and reasonably believe that abortions are now illegal.“There is absolutely a chilling impact on women’s basic understanding about whether or not they still have these rights and still have the ability to access these services,” Erenberg said.

  • Huawei to the Danger Zone: Chinese Telecommunications Company Threatens Britain's National Security
    Business
    The National Interest

    Huawei to the Danger Zone: Chinese Telecommunications Company Threatens Britain's National Security

    The news that the United States has put Huawei on the Entities List comes as the Henry Jackson Society publishes a report on the prospect of including Huawei into the United Kingdom’s build of 5G. I coauthored this report alongside Member of Parliament Bob Seely and Professor Peter Varnish. My job was to look into claims around Huawei’s place within China’s foreign-policy strategy. We have all seen claims around it being too close to the PLA or China’s security services, but were they actually true? Were these claims just an overly-protectionist America seeking to discredit a successful Chinese tech competitor to Apple and Silicon Valley? This whole discussion took place in the wake of a UK National Security Council meeting in late April, during which time—if the Telegraph newspaper is to believed—the council decided that Huawei could take part in a limited part of the UK’s 5G network.Our findings were absolutely clear: Huawei was constrained, influenced and directed by the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese state in a multiplicity of ways.Economic Direction

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • Ministers Plot to Thwart May as PM Keeps Fighting: Brexit Update
    World
    Bloomberg

    Ministers Plot to Thwart May as PM Keeps Fighting: Brexit Update

    May’s chief whip will meet the executive committee that represents rank-and-file Conservative MPs at 5:30 p.m, according to people familiar with the situation. Current rules don’t allow Tory lawmakers to hold another vote of “confidence” in May until a year after she survived the last one in December.

  • 'Nowhere for the water to go': Tornadoes, floods hit central US day after 20 tornadoes
    News
    USA TODAY

    'Nowhere for the water to go': Tornadoes, floods hit central US day after 20 tornadoes

    A tornado tore through a neighborhood near Tulsa International Airport on Tuesday as a powerful storm triggered flash flooding and washed out roads across parts of Oklahoma.

  • Kashmir group seeks UN probe into torture by India troops
    World
    Associated Press

    Kashmir group seeks UN probe into torture by India troops

    SRINAGAR, India (AP) — A prominent rights group in Indian-controlled Kashmir is advocating for the United Nations to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate what it calls the endemic use of torture by government forces amid a decades-long anti-India uprising in the disputed region.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Mid-Engined Corvette Spied without Rear Wing
    Lifestyle
    Car and Driver

    Mid-Engined Corvette Spied without Rear Wing

    Caught high-speed testing at GM's proving grounds, this car looks like it could be a base model due to its lack of a rear wing.From Car and Driver