With preparations for the Senate impeachment trial underway, there are still several days before next week's opening arguments, leaving a vacuum Republicans and Democrats will fill with debate over whether witnesses will be allowed to testify. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been laying the groundwork for weeks to argue against witnesses in the Senate trial. McConnell's case against witnesses is built on a key premise that he has worked hard to establish: the idea that the House is a less serious, more partisan body whose members are more prone to take a short-term view.
A South Jersey man was sentenced to six years of probation after pleading guilty Thursday to offenses related to an incident with an underage girl at his wedding in Northampton, Pennsylvania, in 2018. Matthew Aimers, 32, of Willingboro, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor offenses, according to James O'Malley, spokesman for the Bucks County District Attorney's Office. Aimers was charged in a Feb. 1 criminal complaint. The details of the alleged assault and brawl at the Northampton Valley Country Club in Richboro, Pennsylvania, were outlined in an affidavit of probable cause.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a Friday sermon that Iran's missile strikes on U.S. targets in Iraq this month delivered a "slap on the face" to the United States, showing the Islamic Republic had divine support. During a spike in tension, Iran launched missiles at U.S. targets on Jan. 8 in response to a U.S. drone strike on Jan. 3 that killed Qassem Soleimeni, a powerful Iranian general who was close to Khamenei. "The fact that Iran has the power to give such a slap to a world power shows the hand of God," Khamenei said, after referring to the launch of missiles against U.S. targets as a "day of God".
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.
On Wednesday, Virginia governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency ahead of an annual second-amendment demonstration expected to draw thousands next Monday, and announced a ban on all weapons in the state capitol building, citing “credible intelligence” of “groups with malicious plans. Northam implied the rally, hosted by Virginia Citizens Defense League ahead of the passage of a number of gun-control bills by the Democratic-led legislature, was motivating “violent rhetoric” that mirrored the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.
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.
Hyde for Congress FBI agents were seen visiting both the home and business addresses of Robert Hyde, an associate of Rudy Giuliani now central to the impeachment of President Donald Trump. NBC News and CNN both report that the FBI visited Hyde's home in Weatogue, Connecticut and the location in Avon, CT where he runs both his landscaping business and congressional campaign. In a trove of WhatsApp messages between Hyde and Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, Hyde told Parnas that he was closely surveilling former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
Hearings into whether a Huawei executive can be extradited to the United States will begin on January 20 in Vancouver, in a case with potential repercussions for ties between the US, China and Canada. Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecom giant and daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei, was detained in the Canadian city on a US warrant in late 2018. Founded by former People's Liberation Army (PLA) engineer Ren in 1987, Huawei has grown into one of the world's biggest technology firms.
Australia's fires this summer—unprecedented in the scale of their destruction—are the ferocious but inevitable reality of global warming. In most countries, asking people whether they believe in the science of climate change is like asking them whether they believe in gravity. Tragically, the climate-denying political right in Australia has turned what should be a practical question of how to respond to a real physical threat into a matter of values or belief.
President Trump may need a history tutor. A Very Stable Genius, a new book by Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig based on hundreds of interviews, alleges Trump seemed to know next to nothing about the events of Dec. 7, 1941 when he visited Pearl Harbor in Hawaii for a private tour of the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial alongside his former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general. "Hey, John, what's this all about?" Trump reportedly asked Kelly.
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.
LOS ANGELES—United States District Court Judge James V. Selna ordered today that Stormy Daniels' ex-attorney Michael Avenatti remain in federal custody for possible violation of his conditions of pretrial release and be transported “forthwith” to New York, where he will stand trial next week. The judge found there was probable cause Avenatti had committed crimes in violation of the terms of his bond and ordered the embattled celebrity attorney detained without bond. Avenatti will continue to be held in an Orange County jail pending transfer to New York and will remain in custody “for the foreseeable future,” according to Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk submitted his resignation on Friday after an audio recording suggested he had criticized the president, but then appeared to suggest in comments to Reuters that he might stay in his job.
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.
Yet, before U.S. leaders dismiss this warning into a heap of other global calamities, they should briefly peruse the words below from an unsigned Chinese editorial in the December 25, 2019 edition of Global Times: “The United States as a whole must understand that although Taiwan is the easiest place to provoke Mainland China, it is also the place where the U.S. is most at risk. It is precisely that China has the most real cards against the U.S. provocation in the Taiwan Strait region, and China has the strongest will and capability to defend the core interests of the country [美方作为整体必须了解，台湾虽是最容易挑衅、刺激中国大陆的地方，但也是对美方来说风险最大的地方。中国在台海地区反制美方挑衅的实牌恰恰也是最多的，而且中国在这里捍卫国家核心利益的意志和能力都是最强的].
Denver officials on Thursday said they would not hand over information requested by U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement on four men wanted for deportation. ICE, the Homeland Security agency tasked with arresting and deporting people in the U.S. illegally, sent four administrative subpoenas earlier this week to law enforcement looking for information on three Mexican nationals and one Honduran who had been in custody in Denver. It was the first time subpoenas had been sent to a law enforcement agency — an escalation of the conflict between the Trump administration and so-called sanctuary cities.
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.
AP The US House of Representatives passed a resolution Wednesday to send two articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate. It's unclear when the Senate impeachment trial will begin, but the rules have been set — and they include a provision that bars Senators from using smartphones or other electronics. "No use of phones or electronic devices will be allowed in the Chamber," the decorum guidelines document says, which was obtained by CNN.
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.
A woman awaiting trial for allegedly killing a former Arkansas state senator was hit with new charges Tuesday after she promised fellow inmates she would give them “gold and silver” to murder the victim's ex-husband and his new wife, prosecutors said. Rebecca Lynn O'Donnell, who pleaded not guilty to several charges in the June murder of former State Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, was slapped with two counts of soliciting to commit murder and two counts of solicitation to commit tampering with physical evidence in connection with the elaborate plot she allegedly tried to orchestrate from prison. The former campaign staffer for Collins-Smith has been behind bars since June 14—10 days after the 57-year-old Republican was found fatally stabbed and wrapped in a blanket under a tarp at the end of her Pocahontas, Arkansas, driveway.
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.
Eoin Carrigan wrote on Twitter that his flight out of Chicago got cancelled and he was put up at the Comfort Inn O'Hare's "boardroom suite." He was surprised to find that it was an actual boardroom with a bed off to the side. He shared a photo on Twitter, where it went viral and prompted other travelers to share their hotel misadventures.
Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden has been distancing himself from his 2002 vote for the invasion of Iraq as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time.