President Trump and his supporters are choosing a path much different than that taken by the redeemed Bill Clinton, and much more like that taken by the disgraced Richard Nixon, in refusing to acknowledge any wrongdoing in the Ukraine matter as a strategy to beat conviction and removal. Clinton ended up rising in popularity after admitting to his indiscretions with Monica Lewinsky. Once Clinton and his supporters were willing to confess error, the steam was largely taken out of the sails of independent counsel Kenneth Starr and the House impeachment managers seeking to remove the president.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office charged Fredrick Hampton, 50, on Thursday with abuse of Paighton Houston's corpse. Hampton hasn't been charged with involvement in the 29-year-old's death, news outlets reported. Hampton was initially held in the Birmingham City Jail beginning Dec. 28 on suspicion of kidnapping, but he was released two days later after investigators failed to gather enough evidence to charge him with a crime, news outlets reported.
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.
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.
Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, says he told Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash that in exchange for information that could discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, he would try to stop Firtash's extradition to the U.S. to face corruption charges. Firtash, who is believed to have ties to the Russian mob, was in Vienna fighting extradition. During an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday, Parnas said he was told Firtash's camp claimed to have evidence that one of Mueller's prosecutors was doing some "illegal stuff," and he was tasked with securing this evidence.
US Navy Lt. Jonny Kim, a Navy SEAL and Harvard-trained physician, graduated from NASA training and became an internet celebrity. Kim said none of his career decisions were prompted by chasing medals or to seek approval, and that he makes sure that he imparts that outlook to his children. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas joked that he felt "horribly, horribly inadequate" while speaking in front of a group of newly-graduated NASA astronauts on Friday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Iran's accidental shooting down of a Ukrainian airliner last week occurred at a time when Tehran was spooked by reports of advanced U.S. stealth fighters in the area. Iran's downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight 752, which killed all 176 people aboard, has created a crisis for the Islamic Republic's clerical rulers who have faced days of protests after the Iranian military admitted it had shot down the plane accidentally. Lavrov, speaking at his annual news conference in Moscow, called the incident a human error and said he was not trying to excuse anyone for what happened.
Key point: America should be worried. A cybersecurity firm reports that Chinese hackers have stolen technical data for the Iron Dome rocket-defense system from Israeli computers. Maryland-based Cyber Engineering Services detected the cyber burglary, according to cybersecurity writer Brian Krebs.
A Republican lawmaker is facing calls for a sexual harassment investigation after he told a young female reporter that a group of high school boys “could have a lot of fun” with her. Peter Lucido, a Michigan state senator, has been accused of making inappropriate comments to local reporter Allison Donahue during a tour of the state Capitol. Ms Donahue said the senator told her he would speak with her after addressing a group of about 30 boys who were visiting from De La Salle Collegiate, a nearby all-boys Catholic school.
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.
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.
Texas on Wednesday carried out the first execution of the year in the United States, putting to death by lethal injection a man convicted of killing his wife 15 years ago because she wanted a divorce. John Gardner, 64, was sentenced to death in 2006 for killing his fifth wife, who had left him after multiple incidents of physical violence and filed for divorce. Two weeks before the divorce was to be finalized, Gardner broke into the woman's new home and shot her in the head.
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.
In a Thursday morning interview on "Fox & Friends," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said she doesn't want to hold televised press briefings because reporters "just want their moment to peddle their books."
Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP Russia's prime minister and cabinet abruptly resigned on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin outlined proposed constitutional changes that could increase his power after his presidency. The changes would limit and decrease the power of future presidents after Putin's term ends in 2024. Though Putin has painted the changes as a pro-democracy move, they can be seen as Putin's trying to keep his grip on the country he has essentially ruled since 1999.
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg marched with 10,000 protesters in the Swiss city of Lausanne on Friday and said "you have not seen anything yet" before some head to Davos next week to challenge the global financial elite to fight climate change. "So, we are now in a new year and we have entered a new decade and so far, during this decade, we have seen no sign whatsoever that real climate action is coming and that has to change,” Thunberg said in a speech in Lausanne. Hundreds will take trains over the weekend and then march to Klosters near Davos, the annual gathering of world political and business leaders that Thunberg is attending for the second year in a row and will take part in two panel events.
Molly Riley/Reuters Native American woman Tara Houska says a TSA agent grabbed her braids, whipped them like reins and said "giddyup" while she was going through security at the Minneapolis airport on Monday. A TSA official apologized to Houska for the incident, and released a statement saying "improper behavior is taken seriously" by the agency. The Transportation Security Administration was forced to issue an apology on Tuesday after a Native American woman described on Twitter a humiliating experience going through security at the Minneapolis-St.
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.
A Philippine volcano belched smaller plumes of ash but shuddered continuously with earthquakes and opened cracks in roads Thursday as police blockaded at-risk towns due to fears of a bigger eruption. A crater lake and nearby river have dried up in signs of the Taal volcano's continuing restiveness, and officials have warned people against speculating the five-day eruption is waning. Soldiers and police blocked villagers from sneaking back by boats to the volcanic island and nearby towns to retrieve belongings, poultry and cattle.
The U.S., Japan and South Korea are keen to invest in Indonesia's Natuna Islands as President Joko Widodo steps up efforts to rebuff Chinese claims over the resource-rich waters in the South China Sea. The countries are interested in building fisheries processing and manufacturing industries in Natuna, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan, told reporters in Jakarta on Friday. Indonesia can manage the sea dispute with China without going into a war, Pandjaitan, a former general, 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.
For all the righteous uproar it produced and the consequences still unfolding, in a way the killing of Iranian Major General Qassim Suleimani this month was business as usual. A longtime foe of America, Suleimani was killed by a Hellfire missile from a Reaper drone, like countless Al Qaeda terrorists, Taliban leaders, and other militants. Traveling to Iraq from Syria, Suleimani probably didn't even require the full exertions of America's vast intelligence and special operations manhunting machine.
Royal Caribbean blames a "reckless and irresponsible" grandfather for the fall from a cruise ship window that killed 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand, reports the IndyStar, which is a part of the USA TODAY Network. "His actions, which no reasonable person could have foreseen, were reckless and irresponsible and the sole reason why Chloe is no longer with her parents," the cruise line said in a motion to dismiss a civil lawsuit filed by Chloe's family, who live in South Bend. Chloe's family sued Royal Caribbean last month in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida.
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.