An emissary for two wealthy Arab princes boasted to unnamed officials of a Middle Eastern government about his direct access to Hillary and Bill Clinton while funneling more than $3.5 million in illegal campaign contributions to the former secretary of state's 2016 presidential campaign and Democratic fundraising committees, according to a federal indictment announced by the Justice Department this week. Wonderful meeting with Big Lady. Can't wait to tell you all about it,” George Nader allegedly wrote to an official of one of the foreign governments he advises in the Middle East after attending a political fundraiser with Hillary Clinton on April 16, 2016.
A convicted murderer set to become the first federal inmate to be executed in 16 years was granted a stay of execution on Thursday by a judge in Indiana. Daniel Lewis Lee, a white supremacist convicted in Arkansas of murdering a family of three, was granted the stay by U.S. District Judge James Patrick Hanlon. Lee's execution had been set for Monday, but a separate ruling by a judge in Washington last month put his execution and that of three other federal inmates on hold.
More than 50 polar bears have gathered on the edge of a village in Russia's far north, environmentalists and residents said, as weak Arctic ice leaves them unable to roam. The Russian branch of the World Wildlife Fund said climate change was to blame, as unusually warm temperatures prevented coastal ice from forming. The WWF said 56 polar bears had gathered in a one-square-kilometre (0.4-square-mile) area near the village of Ryrkaipy in Chukotka on the northeastern tip of Russia.
Reddit has said that leaked documents on US-UK trade deal discussions were likely posted on the site as part of a Russian influence campaign. The documents were cited by Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK's opposition Labour party, as evidence that his opponent in the UK general election, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was poised to sell out the NHS in trade negotiations with the US. Researchers earlier in the week said that the accounts that posted the documents on Reddit indicated links to a vast Russian influence campaign uncovered on Facebook dubbed Secondary Infektion.
As Democrats champion anti-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community and Republicans counter with worries about safeguarding religious freedom, one congressional Republican is offering a proposal on Friday that aims to achieve both goals. The bill that Utah GOP Rep. Chris Stewart plans to unveil would shield LGBTQ individuals from discrimination in employment, housing, education, and other public services — while also carving out exemptions for religious organizations to act based on beliefs that may exclude those of different sexual orientations or gender identities. Stewart's bill counts support from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but it has yet to win a backer among House Democrats who unanimously supported a more expansive LGBTQ rights measure in May.
A Virginia state commission released a report Thursday calling for the official repeal of “deeply troubling” state laws still on the books that contain “explicitly racist language and segregationist policies. The Commission to Examine Racial Inequity in Virginia Law published a lengthy report saying that the outdated laws should not “remain enshrined in law” despite no longer being in effect. The commission believes that such vestiges of Virginia's segregationist past should no longer have official status,” the report states.
Shootings a day apart at two high schools in Wisconsin have shaken the state and sparked a renewed debate over how to combat violence in American schools. An Oshkosh police department resource officer shot a 16-year-old student Tuesday after the boy stabbed him in the officer's office at Oshkosh West high school. A day earlier, a resource officer at Waukesha South high school helped clear students out of a classroom after a 17-year-old student pointed a pellet gun at another student's head.
Key point: The United States is beginning to lose its footing in East Asia. In October 2018, Chinese media announced that the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) would publicly unveil its new H-20 stealth bomber during a parade celebrating the air arm's seventieth anniversary in 2019. Prior news of the H-20's development had been teased using techniques pioneered by viral marketing campaigns for Hollywood movies.
Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg said on Thursday he wants to become president to end "the nationwide madness" of U.S. gun violence, calling it evil and saying he would allow its victims to file lawsuits against gun manufacturers.
Joe Biden said Friday he would not rule out appointing donors as ambassadors, but wouldn't make decisions about those roles based on someone's financial contributions. Nobody in fact will be appointed by me based on anything they contributed,” he told a group of reporters aboard his “No Malarkey” bus in Decorah, Iowa. But, for example, you have some of the people who are out there that are prepared to in fact, that are fully qualified — head of everything from being the ambassador to NATO to be the ambassador to France or any other country — who may or may not have contributed, but that will not be any basis upon which I in fact would appoint anybody.
WASHINGTON – The House Ethics Committee instructed indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. to "refrain from voting" on legislation in the House of Representatives after he pleaded guilty to a campaign finance charge on Tuesday. In a two-page letter dated Dec. 5, the committee told Hunter his guilty plea could bring a sentence of "two or more years of imprisonment," meaning that under House rules, Hunter "should refrain from voting on any question at a meeting of the House or of the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union."
Tesla has changed the production timelines for the most and least expensive trims of its Cybertruck pickup truck. It said production for the three-motor, all-wheel-drive Cybertruck, which starts at $69,900, would begin in 2021, a year earlier than Tesla first announced. The single-motor, rear-wheel-drive Cybertruck, which starts at $39,900, will enter production in late 2022, a year later than its original timeline, Tesla said.
U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter will resign from Congress following his guilty plea to a federal charge of conspiring to misuse campaign funds, he said on Friday. Hunter's announcement that he would step down came days after the leading California lawmaker, a former U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran, entered his guilty plea in federal court in San Diego. "Shortly after the Holidays I will resign from Congress," Hunter, 42, said in a written statement released by his communications director.
Vernon Unsworth, who participated in the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped for weeks in a Thailand cave last year, had sought $190 million in damages for the shame and humiliation caused by the man his lawyer called a “billionaire bully." It took less than an hour for an eight-person jury in Los Angeles federal court to reject Unsworth's claim after a four-day trial. Musk said the verdict restored his faith in humanity as he quickly left the court with his security detail.
Fifteen Russian spies, including those accused of the Salisbury nerve agent attack, used the French Alps as a “base camp” to conduct covert operations around Europe over a five-year period, according to reports. The revelations came as Germany expelled two Russian diplomats after prosecutors said there was “sufficient factual evidence” linking Moscow to the killing of a former Chechen rebel commander in central Berlin. According to Le Monde, British, Swiss, French, and US intelligence have drawn up a list of 15 members of the 29155 unit of Russia's GRU military spy agency who all passed through France's Haute-Savoie mountains close to the Swiss and Italian borders.
Representative George Holding (R., N.C.) announced Friday that he will not seek reelection in 2020 after a North Carolina district reconfiguration put his seat in danger. “I should add, candidly, that yes, the newly redrawn Congressional Districts were part of the reason I have decided not to seek reelection,” he said in a statement. Holding, a former federal prosecutor who is wrapping up his fourth-term on Capitol Hill, added that he hoped to return to public office at some point in the future.
Key point: The Pentagon may end up flying the B-52 for 100 years. Sixty-seven years after the U.S. Air Force received its last B-52 from Boeing, the flying branch finally has firmed up plans to fit the heavy bomber with new engines. Air Force magazine in its January 2019 issue took a deep dive into the re-engining effort.
Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg on Friday defended the policy implemented by his news agency to steer clear of investigating him, saying doing so would not be credible. Bloomberg told CBS News he "hired somebody outside" to run the Bloomberg News organization and establish policies for ethics. When asked about complaints from Bloomberg journalists that the policy to avoid investigating him or other Democratic candidates, he replied, that they "have to live with some things" about the job.
Despite the lack of Meghan McCain on Thursday's broadcast of The View, things still devolved into a tense and heated back-and-forth when the table discussed the right-wing outrage over impeachment witness Pamela Karlan's wordplay pun involving Barron Trump's name. During Wednesday's House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing, Karlan—a Stanford Law professor—attempted to make a point about the Constitution, noting that President Donald Trump is not a monarch. “So while the president can name his son Barron, he can't make him a baron,” Karlan said.
The Trump Administration will reauthorize the use of so-called “cyanide bombs” to poison coyotes, foxes and feral dogs that could threaten private livestock. The decision comes four months after halting their authorization amid public backlash. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Thursday it would include new safety requirements to protect humans and pets, such as additional signs and increased distances the distance the “cyanide bombs” must be from homes and roads.
Former Vice President Joe Biden argued that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's politics are far to the left of the Democratic Party's average voter in an interview with Axios. Biden added that the media falsely reported that the Democratic Party "moved extremely to the left" following Hillary Clinton's 2016 loss. "You all thought that what happened was the party moved extremely to the left after Hillary," Biden said.
Indian police shot dead four men on Friday who were suspected of raping and killing a 27-year-old veterinarian near Hyderabad city, an action applauded by her family and many citizens outraged over sexual violence against women. The men had been in police custody and were shot dead near the scene of last week's crime after they snatched weapons from two of the 10 policemen accompanying them, said police commissioner V.C. Sajjanar. Thousands of Indians have protested in several cities over the past week following the veterinarian's death, the latest in a series of horrific cases of sexual assault in the country.
A female officer who was reportedly caught on video kissing then-Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson at a popular restaurant in October was transferred weeks later from his personal security detail to another role on the police force, a department spokesman said. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed to WBEZ that the officer, who was appointed to Johnson's security detail in 2016, was reassigned in November to the technical services bureau. He said he didn't know if the two had a romantic relationship and couldn't say if the officer's reassignment was connected to one, but that the move was neither a promotion nor a demotion and was not done for disciplinary reasons.
A woman is angry that one of her bridesmaids bowed out of her wedding after she decided to hold it at plantation. The friend, who has been identified as J, sent a message to the bride explicitly stating her personal and professional reasons for feeling uncomfortable being a part of a plantation wedding. The original Reddit post detailing the situation has since been deleted, but it has been reshared on Twitter, where it went viral.