• I'm the same age as Elizabeth Warren. We 70-somethings have no business being president.
    Politics
    USA TODAY Opinion

    I'm the same age as Elizabeth Warren. We 70-somethings have no business being president.

    I have nothing against old people — I'm one of them. But maybe it's time to add a maximum age limit to our minimum age requirement for our presidents.

  • Hospital that treated baby cut from womb investigated
    News
    Associated Press

    Hospital that treated baby cut from womb investigated

    CHICAGO (AP) — The agency that licenses and inspects health care facilities in Illinois has started an investigation of a suburban Chicago hospital where doctors treated a baby brought in by a woman claiming to be his mother, a spokeswoman for the agency said Tuesday. The woman was charged weeks later with killing the actual mother and cutting the child from her womb.

  • REPORT: Mueller Resists Dems’ Request to Testify Publicly about Details Outside His Report
    Politics
    National Review

    REPORT: Mueller Resists Dems’ Request to Testify Publicly about Details Outside His Report

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller is resisting congressional Democrats' request that he testify publicly about details of his investigation that were not included in his final report, the Washington Post first reported Tuesday.Mueller and his representatives have reportedly reached an impasse in their negotiations with House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler, who would like him to speak publicly about a range of issues, including whether the president could be charged with obstruction of justice absent Department of Justice guidelines that prohibit the indictment of a sitting president.As they navigate the question of whether the obstructive behavior attributed to Trump in the Mueller report warrants impeachment, a number of top Democrats have repeatedly insisted that lawmakers must hear from Mueller himself before a decision can be made. They have also suggested that they would like to question Mueller about whether he believes Attorney General William Barr's summary of his report misrepresented its findings.Barr told the Wall Street Journal that he has no problem with Mueller testifying before Congress, but Democrats have accused the Department of Justice of intentionally delaying negotiations over any such testimony. Trump has said it is Barr's decision whether Mueller can appear before Congress.News of the impasse comes hours after former White House counsel Don McGahn failed to appear before the House Judiciary Committee to answer questions about Trump's alleged efforts to interfere in the Mueller probe.“Let me be clear: This committee will hear Mr. McGahn’s testimony, even if we have to go to court to secure it,” Nadler said after the hearing.During the Tuesday hearing, Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the ranking republican on the Judiciary Committee, accused Democrats of delaying Mueller's testimony out of a reticence to accept his findings.“We've subpoenaed the documents, we've subpoenaed the underlying documents, we've subpoenaed stuff that we can't get, but the one thing that we seem to avoid is Mr. Mueller himself, the one who wrote it,” Collins said. “We've asked since April about Mr. Mueller coming. But every time we seem to get close to Mueller, Mueller just gets pushed on a little bit. Haven't seen a subpoena here, and this is what's really amazing -- we'll get back to subpoenas in a moment -- but just think about that. You wanted the work of the author, but you don't want to talk to the author.”The House Intelligence Committee, led by Chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), is also currently in negotiations to secure Mueller's public testimony.“I feel very confident saying Mueller’s going to testify,” Schiff told ABC News. “There’s no way that he cannot, and the public won’t stand for it. I think the Justice Department knows they’re on the poorest of ground in trying to prevent his testimony.”

  • Rain, flooding expected in U.S. Southern Plains after deadly storms
    News
    Reuters

    Rain, flooding expected in U.S. Southern Plains after deadly storms

    Weather forecasters on Wednesday expected drenching rains to roll into the storm-ravaged U.S. southern and central states, where thunderstorms and tornadoes killed at least three people and triggered widespread flooding. More than 30 tornadoes struck a swath from Texas to Iowa since Monday, according to the National Weather Service, and residents in at least three Oklahoma riverfront communities were urged to evacuate due to flooding. One person was killed and another was injured when a tornado struck the rural town of Adair, Iowa, about 50 miles (80 km)west of Des Moines, at about 1:30 a.m. local time, the weather service said.

  • Iran Bluster Is about Red Lines, Not War
    Politics
    The National Interest

    Iran Bluster Is about Red Lines, Not War

    In the past week, American-Iranian tensions flared to heights not seen since the Reagan years, when U.S. and Iranian ships and planes faced off in the Persian Gulf. Not only have Iranian irregular forces apparently sabotaged four ships off the major Emirati port of Fujairah with either magnet bombs or underwater drones, but a subsequent drone attack on a Saudi pipeline amplified tensions to a new level.Even on the best of days in hyper-partisan Washington, there are enough polemics to go around. The fact that national security in general—and Iran policy in particular—have become political footballs only makes the problem worse. Never one to miss an opportunity to throw fuel on the rhetorical fire, President Donald Trump threatened via tweet, “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”Happily, however, nothing in the American military posture makes it appear that war—or even a limited engagement—is imminent, let alone likely.Consider the U.S. Navy’s posture: The Trump administration has reportedly dispatched an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, but if a war against Iran really was on the table, then this would be the worst possible move.

  • 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."

  • Fears rise China could weaponise rare earths in US tech war
    Business
    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.

  • World
    Reuters

    Eiffel Tower climber in custody after daring ascent

    Rescuers successfully talked down a man who scaled the upper heights of the Eiffel Tower on Monday, forcing the monument's evacuation, and handed him over to police. Television channels ran live shots as rescuers perched on the 324-metre (1,063-foot) tower's wrought-iron struts, just below the highest viewing platform, tried to persuade the unknown man to give himself up. The lattice tower, named after its designer and builder Gustave Eiffel, is one of the world's most recognizable landmarks.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Latest Sign of Beto O’Rourke’s Flameout: Opposition Research Requests Have ‘Died Off’
    Politics
    The Daily Beast

    Latest Sign of Beto O’Rourke’s Flameout: Opposition Research Requests Have ‘Died Off’

    Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyIn the days leading up to Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign, a top Republican opposition research firm was brimming with requests from political reporters angling for dirt. America Rising, a political action committee that shared details of its internal inquiries with The Daily Beast, said the asks came from a dozen or more reporters and ranged from broad questions to more tailored points of interest. But 10 weeks after O’Rourke’s official launch, those requests are virtually nonexistent.“The requests for oppo on him have completely died off,” a staffer at the oppo group said.The lack of oppo requests suggests a larger problem looming over O’Rourke’s campaign: a visible decline in public interest. Once elevated to the top of Democratic watch-lists, the former congressman is now registering in single digits in several national polls, nosediving from 12 percent in a Quinnipiac poll conducted in March to just 5 percent in the same survey in April. And while he’s beginning to roll out new hires in key voting states, some say he’s already fallen behind other candidates whose field operations have been interfacing with voters for months. Beto O’Rourke Blew ItAmerica Rising, which has cornered the market on opposition research on the nearly two dozen presidential contenders, has tracked what it considers a steady decline in the public’s interest in O’Rourke. The Republican National Committee, known for slinging insults about Democrats into mainstream consciousness, has not received any requests from reporters for O’Rourke information in recent weeks, according to a senior official. Typically, a high level of curiosity in revealing a candidate’s political past is one indicator of their perceived viability. And a noticeable downtick in interest could signal an enthusiasm gap between where O’Rourke started and where he’s ended up in two months. O’Rourke, himself, seemed to acknowledge the flagging interest in a recent  interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “I recognize I can do a better job also of talking to a national audience,” O'Rourke said. “I hope that I’m continuing to do better over time, but we’ve been extraordinarily fortunate with the campaign that we’ve run so far.” His next big chance will be Tuesday night, when he’ll appear in his first CNN town hall at 10 p.m. from Drake University in Des Moines. The network has previously hosted such events for several of his rivals, giving a boost to some lesser-known candidates early into their campaigns. On Monday, O’Rourke told reporters he would participate in a Fox News town hall, a general-election strategy favored by some 2020 hopefuls as an attempt to reach voters beyond the traditional Democratic base. But according to an analysis shared with The Daily Beast by Media Matters, a nonprofit that tracks right-wing coverage, even Fox News’ daily mentions of O’Rourke online have visibly declined since he announced his bid, indicating that he may no longer be considered a serious threat as a Democratic contender. O’Rourke’s campaign sees it differently: “From my perspective there’s been no decline of oppo to respond to,” a source within the campaign said. Press requests from print and television outlets, including bookers in charge of getting candidates on the air, have not declined since the launch, the campaign source added. While it’s still early to plot ad buys—the Iowa caucuses are nine months away—a source who tracks ad information for multiple political campaigns says that O’Rourke’s failure to get into that world early coincides with a frenzied campaign that’s no longer top-of-mind for voters. “It fits with an overall theme of his campaign being a little disorganized,” the source who analyzes political ads said. “He had such a moment in 2018 but it seems to have fizzled out.”While no pollsters or ad makers have been hired, a source within O’Rourke’s campaign first told The Daily Beast that they have been in initial discussions with various polling, data, and analytics firms, as well as outfits who do campaign ads. Bringing on a pollster had not previously been a top priority, the source said, adding that the campaign has been focused on talking to voters in 154 town halls and traveling to 116 cities.O’Rourke has made recent inroads on the political staffing front, bringing on Jen O’Malley Dillon, Jeff Berman, and Rob Flaherty, top talent from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s campaigns, among other recent national and state hires. But he has missed out on other high-level talent who wandered to other campaigns, multiple sources said.Meanwhile, other presidential campaigns have already hired staffers who previously worked with or expressed interest in O’Rourke. Shelby Cole, a top O’Rourke aide who helped him raise an eye-popping $80 million during his Senate campaign, joined California Sen. Kamala Harris’ team as its digital fundraising director. Emmy Ruiz, who served as Clinton’s state director in Nevada and Colorado in 2016, was thought to be seriously weighing joining O’Rourke before he announced, according to multiple Democratic sources unaffiliated with current campaigns. She later joined Harris as a senior adviser. One top Democratic operative admitted to eyeing O’Rourke for months, but changed candidate loyalty after reading his announcement article in Vanity Fair. “I was definitely interested in him back in January and February,” the veteran operative said, who has since joined another presidential campaign in a top position.   “The Vanity Fair story fed a fear I had, which was that he was a little too fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants,” the veteran operative said. “I just felt that he hadn’t totally thought this through. So that kind of soured me on him.”—Asawin Suebsaeng contributed reporting for this article.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.

  • 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.”

  • Trump says he doesn't want war with Iran. Is John Bolton driving the US into a conflict anyway?
    Politics
    USA TODAY

    Trump says he doesn't want war with Iran. Is John Bolton driving the US into a conflict anyway?

    The view that John Bolton is driving Trump into military confrontation with America's principal foe in the Middle East is spreading across the globe.

  • At least 19 tornadoes touched down from Texas to Oklahoma, causing widespread damage
    U.S.
    KFSN – Fresno

    At least 19 tornadoes touched down from Texas to Oklahoma, causing widespread damage

    The biggest threat appeared to be flash flooding from torrential rains that accompanied the storms, forecasters said.

  • Tale of suicidal 'Handmaid' in New York goes viral
    News
    AFP

    Tale of suicidal 'Handmaid' in New York goes viral

    A red-cloaked "Handmaid" ready to hurl herself off a Manhattan building, possibly unhinged by recent legislative assaults on the right to abortion? For months now, amid the #MeToo movement and challenges to the right to abortion in the United States and elsewhere, demonstrations by women dressed in costumes inspired by "The Handmaid's Tale" have multiplied. The hit television series based on Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel evokes a world in which the United States has become a religious dictatorship where fertile women are enslaved and their rape is institutionalized.

  • Trump stops ex-White House counsel Don McGahn testifying to Congress
    Politics
    The Guardian

    Trump stops ex-White House counsel Don McGahn testifying to Congress

    * Justice department says McGahn cannot be compelled to talk * House panel chair Jerry Nadler condemns interventionDon McGahn has been subpoenaed to appear before the House judiciary committee on Tuesday. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty ImagesDonald Trump has blocked the former White House counsel Don McGahn from testifying before Congress about the special counsel report on Russian election interference, prompting sharp criticism and even threats of impeachment.In a legal opinion released on Monday, the justice department said lawmakers on Capitol Hill cannot compel McGahn, who was subpoenaed by the House judiciary committee, to answer their questions under oath.“The Department of Justice has provided a legal opinion stating that, based on long-standing, bipartisan, and constitutional precedent, the former counsel to the president cannot be forced to give such testimony, and Mr McGahn has been directed to act accordingly,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said in a statement.“This action has been taken in order to ensure that future presidents can effectively execute the responsibilities of the office of the presidency.”McGahn is a central figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, often standing in the way of Trump’s efforts to obstruct justice. According to investigators, McGahn threatened to resign when the president ordered him to have Mueller fired.McGahn was also dispatched by Trump to convince the former attorney general Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation. (Sessions did not heed the president’s demands.)Travelling to a rally in Pennsylvania, Trump was asked why he was asking McGahn to defy a congressional subpoena. “Well, as I understand it, they’re doing that for the office of the presidency, for future presidents,” he replied, according to a pool report. “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.”The White House’s intervention was condemned by Jerry Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the judiciary committee. “The Mueller report documents a shocking pattern of obstruction of justice,” he said in a statement. “The president acted again and again – perhaps criminally – to protect himself from federal law enforcement.“Don McGahn personally witnessed the most egregious of these acts. President Trump knows this. He clearly does not want the American people to hear firsthand about his alleged misconduct, and so he has attempted to block Mr McGahn from speaking in public tomorrow.”The move is the latest example of the Trump administration’s “disdain for the law”, added Nadler, who said the committee will meet as planned on Tuesday morning and still expects McGahn to appear.Another Democratic member of the committee, David Cicilline, went further in his criticism, suggesting that impeachment of Trump would be warranted if McGahn did not respond to the subpoena.“Let me be clear: if Don McGahn doesn’t testify, it is time to open an impeachment inquiry,” he told the MSNBC network. “The president has engaged in an ongoing effort to impede our ability find the truth, to collect evidence, to do our work … No one is above the law, including the president of the United States.”Cicilline admitted he did not know if his view was shared by other members of Democratic leadership but added: “We may well be forced into a position to have to open a formal inquiry in order to facilitate the collection of the evidence that we need to see.”The justice department’s legal opinion does not prevent McGahn testifying if he so chooses, although it would be potentially at risk to his own career. Trump has mused about instructing Republicans to cease dealing with his law firm, Jones Day, the Associated Press reported.Matthew Miller, former director of the office of public affairs for the justice department, tweeted: “Just show up and testify, McGahn. This isn’t about some garden-variety Congressional-executive branch dispute, but as one of your predecessors described it, a cancer on the presidency. Think about your place in history.”McGahn was subpoenaed by Nadler last month and, under instruction by the White House, failed to meet an initial deadline to appear before the committee. Nadler threatened to hold McGahn in contempt of Congress if he did not meet a second deadline of 21 May.McGahn, who left the White House last year, has increasingly become the subject of Trump’s ire following the release of the redacted Mueller report. Last week, the president tweeted he was “never a big fan” of McGahn and suggested it was the former White House counsel, and not Mueller, who was on his chopping block at the time of the investigation.The Trump administration has repeatedly blocked attempts at oversight by the Democratic-controlled House. Last month it instructed the former personnel security director Carl Kline not to testify at a hearing into alleged lapses in White House security clearance procedures. Last week the treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, refused to comply with a congressional subpoena to hand over Trump’s tax returns.Nadler’s committee has previously voted to hold the attorney general, William Barr, in contempt for refusing to provide the unredacted Mueller report and underlying evidence to Congress.

  • Prosecutor: Agent called migrants 'savages' before hitting 1
    News
    Associated Press

    Prosecutor: Agent called migrants 'savages' before hitting 1

    PHOENIX (AP) — A Border Patrol agent in Arizona sent texts calling immigrants "savages" and "subhuman" the month before using his patrol vehicle to knock over a Guatemalan man who was trying to flee, prosecutors say.

  • Business
    Reuters

    UPDATE 1-Saudi Aramco signs U.S. LNG deal with Sempra

    Saudi Aramco has entered into a 20-year agreement with U.S.-based Sempra Energy to purchase liquefied natural gas(LNG) from its subsidiary Sempra LNG, the two companies said on Wednesday. Aramco has been developing its own gas resources and eyeing gas assets in the United States, Russia, Australia and Africa. The two companies are also finalizing a 25% equity investment in the phase 1 of Port Arthur LNG, they said in a joint statement.

  • 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."

  • 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.”

  • Chinese ambassador blames US for sinking trade deal
    Business
    AFP

    Chinese ambassador blames US for sinking trade deal

    China's ambassador to the United States said in a Tuesday interview with Fox News that Washington repeatedly "changed its mind overnight" and sunk deals that could have ended the two countries' trade war. Ambassador Cui Tiankai also slammed as "politically motivated" the White House's move to ban the transfer or sale of US technology to Chinese telcom giant Huawei. Such actions will really undermine people's confidence in the normal function of the market," Tiankai told Fox.