• Ocasio-Cortez says it is time to open impeachment inquiry against Trump
    Politics
    Reuters

    Ocasio-Cortez says it is time to open impeachment inquiry against Trump

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has so far resisted calls for Democrats to launch impeachment proceedings, instead backing continued investigations of Trump and his administration by numerous congressional panels instead. "I think it’s time for us to, at the very least, open an impeachment inquiry ... we’ve been given no choice I think, in this scenario," Ocasio-Cortez said outside the House of Representatives. The report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller stopped short of declaring that the president obstructed justice, but it also did not exonerate him.

  • U.S. Intel to Congress: No Evidence al Qaeda Is Helping Iran
    Politics
    The Daily Beast

    U.S. Intel to Congress: No Evidence al Qaeda Is Helping Iran

    Kena Betancur/AFP/GettyThe American intelligence community has no evidence that al Qaeda has cooperated with the Iranian government in its recent aggressive moves in the Persian Gulf region, a senior U.S. government official told members of Congress on Tuesday. That finding, which was relayed to The Daily Beast by three sources familiar with the matter, could undercut a potential legal case for going to war with Iran if tensions between Washington and Tehran keep escalating. The assessment was delivered in a classified briefing with dozens of House members on Capitol Hill. According to the three sources, one of the officials who briefed the members said the U.S. government does not have evidence of operational coordination between the Iranian government and the terrorist group responsible for 9/11 with respect to the current threat stream. The significance of the admission is likely to divide lawmakers. Democrats who worry about the prospect of war between the U.S. and Iran will likely say that the lack of intelligence means the Trump administration cannot use Congress’s 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to fight al Qaeda as a legal basis to start a war with the regional power. Republicans, in contrast, are likely to view it as a non sequitur, arguing that the administration isn’t trying to start a war but rather to act in defense of U.S. interests and forces in the Gulf region. Over the last decade, presidents from both parties have circumvented Congress when it comes to waging military campaigns. Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump have all used the 2001 AUMF to justify a wide range of military activity—drawing pointed but largely toothless criticism from Capitol Hill. Obama, for instance, used the 2001 AUMF to justify the American fight against the Islamic State, which did not exist in 2001. Trump Admin Moves Fueled Iran’s Aggression, U.S. Intel SaysLast month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly connected Iran and al Qaeda, calling the ties “very real.” “They have hosted al Qaeda, they have permitted al Qaeda to transit their country,” said Pompeo, “There is no doubt there is a connection between the Islamic Republic of Iran and al Qaeda. Period, full stop.”When Pompeo testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last October, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) pressed him on whether the 2001 AUMF would permit a war on Iran. “I would prefer just to leave that to the lawyers,” he said, as France24 reported.Pompeo is not the only government official to see a connection between Iran and al Qaeda. In 2011, the Obama administration’s Treasury Department accused the two of forming an alliance to move arms and fighters. In February of this year, The Washington Times, a conservative paper, ran a story citing anonymous Trump administration officials saying that Iran is “providing high-level al Qaeda operatives with a clandestine sanctuary to funnel fighters, money and weapons across the Middle East”—a claim the newspaper noted could be used to justify war. Increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran have generated concern on the Hill about an escalatory spiral. Earlier this month, the U.S. moved an aircraft carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf, with administration officials saying Iranian proxies were threatening U.S. forces in the region. That came after the administration eliminated sanctions waivers for countries looking to buy Iranian oil and after the administration designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group. The Daily Beast reported last week that officials in multiple U.S. government agencies have assessed that Iran’s increasingly hostile behavior came in response to those moves. A year ago, the Trump administration withdrew the United States from an international deal with the Iranian government intended to keep it from developing nuclear weapons by trading caps and insight on their program for targeted sanctions relief. 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.

  • Mississippi judge who blocked 15-week abortion ban hears arguments on fetal heartbeat law
    News
    USA TODAY

    Mississippi judge who blocked 15-week abortion ban hears arguments on fetal heartbeat law

    Mississippi's fetal heartbeat law which bans abortions after approximately six weeks could be blocked or upheld by Judge Carlton Reeves.

  • N. Korea state media hits out at 'imbecile' Biden
    Politics
    AFP

    N. Korea state media hits out at 'imbecile' Biden

    North Korean state media on Wednesday slammed former US vice president Joe Biden as an "imbecile" and a "fool of low IQ" after he criticised leader Kim Jong Un. Biden, who served two terms as President Barack Obama's deputy, has been on the campaign trail since announcing last month his candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination in the 2020 presidential election. It accused Biden of "slandering the supreme leadership" of North Korea -- a term usually referring to leader Kim -- and said the former senator had become "reckless and senseless, seized by ambition for power".

  • Farage's Brexit Party to Trounce May, Sporting Index Says
    World
    Bloomberg

    Farage's Brexit Party to Trounce May, Sporting Index Says

    Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives will win seven, while Labour will take 13 and the Liberal Democrats 12, Sporting Index predicted in an email in London on Tuesday. Sporting Index has had a consistently strong record in predicting some of the key twists and turns of the Brexit saga. Last month, about two hours before the latest vote on May’s Brexit deal, the spread betting firm forecast she’d lose by 60 votes.

  • 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.

  • Trump to Congress: Stop Probing Me or I’m Done Talking With Democrats
    Politics
    The Daily Beast

    Trump to Congress: Stop Probing Me or I’m Done Talking With Democrats

    Leah Millis/ReutersPresident Donald Trump hijacked his own White House “Infrastructure Week” with a public meltdown on Wednesday—calling a surprise press conference to announce he had told Congress’ top Democrats that if they don’t stop investigating him, he’s done talking.“Get these phony investigations over with,” he said he told them.Trump suggested that he called off his meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer because he was disgusted that Pelosi had accused him of a cover-up earlier in the morning.But Schumer said the tantrum had all the hallmarks of a set-up, noting placards printed with details about the Mueller investigation were perched in front of the podium in the Rose Garden.“He came up with this pre-planned excuse,” Schumer said.Trump stood in front of that podium for roughly 10 minutes, ranting about House Democratic-led investigations, implying that he would halt cooperation on legislation with House Democrats until the investigations and subpoenas against Trump, his family, his administration, and his business empire were completed or scrapped.“I walked into the room,” Trump told the gathered reporters of his meeting. “I told Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, I want to do infrastructure... but I can’t do it under these circumstances.”The president seemed particularly incensed by Pelosi’s comments, following a meeting with the Democratic Caucus on Wednesday morning, that he was engaged in a “cover-up.”“Instead of walking in happily to a meeting [today], I walk in to look at people who said I was doing a cover-up,” Trump said during the press conference. “I don't do cover-ups.”After the president’s remarks, Pelosi told reporters, “I pray for the president of the United States. I pray for the United States.”Schumer addressed Trump’s demand that the House probes be halted. “There were investigations going on three weeks ago when we met. And he still met with us,” he said. “But now that he was forced to say how he would actually pay for [an infrastructure package], he had to run away.”Schumer accused Trump of planning this well before their meeting.“It’s clear that this was not a spontaneous move on the president’s part,” Schumer said. “When we got in the room [at the White House], the curtain was closed...There was a place for him at the front where he could stand and attempt to tell us why he wouldn’t do infrastructure.”The White House did not immediately respond to requests for clarification on what happened behind closed doors on Wednesday morning.Going into this latest, incredibly short round of talks, neither the Democratic side nor Trumpworld seemed very optimistic. Late last month, a senior White House official characterized the state of play to The Daily Beast by saying that “people [in the Trump administration] who say that this time it’s going somewhere are lying to you,” and rhetorically asked, “How many times do we have to go through this?”By noon on Wednesday, Trump’s latest Infrastructure Week had indeed blown up entirely.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.

  • Dem. Rep. Accuses DHS Secretary of Choosing to Let Migrant Kids Die: ‘This Is Intentional’
    News
    National Review

    Dem. Rep. Accuses DHS Secretary of Choosing to Let Migrant Kids Die: ‘This Is Intentional’

    Representative Lauren Underwood (D., Ill.) on Wednesday accused the acting Department of Homeland Security secretary of intentionally implementing border-security policies that would lead to the deaths of migrant children.During his appearance before the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan was asked to explain why five children have died in federal custody after being apprehended at the southern border since December.“These stories are appalling and yet they keep happening,” Underwood said, referring to the recent migrants deaths, as well as reports of inadequate housing and medical care for migrant children apprehended at the border. “Now Congress just provided half a billion dollars in February to address the humanitarian crisis at the border and will soon provide more. Why do these tragedies keep happening?”McAleenan, who succeeded Kirstjen Nielsen in April, responded that the resources provided by Congress are insufficient to address the record number of asylum seekers, many of whom are women and children, arriving at the border each day.“They're happening because the crisis is exceeding the resources provided. That's why we've asked for more and we've asked for more authority to prevent this crisis from happening in the first place and to prevent the children from being placed at risk,” he said.Underwood, a 32-year-old freshman lawmaker, dismissed McAleenan's claims, suggesting instead that he was implementing policies intended to result in the death of children.“People keep dying, sir. People keep dying. So, this is obviously more than a question of resources,” she said. “Congress has been more than willing to provide the resources and work with you to address the security and humanitarian concerns, but at this point, with five kids that have died, 5,000 separated from their families, I feel like — and the evidence is really clear — that this is intentional. It's a policy choice being made on purpose by this administration and it's cruel and inhumane."“That's an appalling accusation and our men and women fight hard to protect people in our custody every single day,” McAleenan responded. The acting DHS secretary denies the accusation that migrant deaths are "intentional" policy. pic.twitter.com/7xiThg8IVY -- VICE News (@vicenews) May 22, 2019Republicans on the panel reacted forcefully to Underwood's assertion. The ranking Republican on the committee, Representative Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) called for a vote to strike her comments from the record. The vote passed 9-7.“You cannot impugn the character of the witness by stating that he intentionally murders children. That is completely inappropriate and her words should be taken down,” Rogers said during the hearing. “She was very explicit.”“It’s absolutely disheartening to see some radical Democrats stoop so low to say that the Acting DHS Secretary McAleenan is murdering children. McAleenan left the private sector to serve his country after the towers fell on 9/11. This is a sad day for America and the Democrat party,” Representative Mark Green (R., Tenn.) said in a statement provided to National Review.On Monday, 16-year-old Carlos Hernandez Vasquez became the fifth migrant child to die in federal custody in the last six months.Vasquez crossed into the U.S. without his parents and died of the flu at a Border Patrol station in Weslaco, Texas after spending a week in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CPB). His death has drawn scrutiny from Democratic lawmakers, who have pointed out that policy dictates he should have been transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) within 72 hours of his apprehension.“Make no mistake: This is a pattern of death. This is an epidemic of death by the Trump administration,” Representative Joaquin Castro of Texas told reporters during a press conference Tuesday. “As I mentioned, nobody had died for ten years. And in the last six months, you've had five deaths.”The Trump administration has for months urged Congress to provide resources for medical care and the construction of housing units that can accommodate the new asylum-seekers arriving at the southern border. The existing detention centers lack the capacity to handle the record influx and were built to accommodate the mostly single men who formerly comprised most of the illegal-migrant population.The administration has also urged Congress to reform the asylum system through legislation in order to limit the number of migrants who must be detained on U.S. soil while their claims are being adjudicated.

  • Russian bombers, fighters intercepted off Alaska: US military
    World
    AFP

    Russian bombers, fighters intercepted off Alaska: US military

    US fighters intercepted six Russian military aircraft in international airspace west of Alaska, and shadowed them until they exited the area, the North American Air Defense Command said Tuesday. The Russian aircraft included two Tu-95 strategic bombers, which were intercepted Monday by two F-22 fighters, the command said. A second group of two Tu-95 bombers and two Su-35 fighters were also intercepted by a pair of F-22 fighters, it said.

  • Will FAA's plan for 737 MAX fly outside US?
    Business
    AFP Relax News

    Will FAA's plan for 737 MAX fly outside US?

    Getting Boeing's top-selling 737 MAX back in the skies faces a critical test this week as the company and US regulators each seek to restore their reputations after two deadly crashes. The US Federal Aviation Administration convened a summit of global aviation regulators on Thursday to walk through the steps taken to address concerns with the MAX following criticism the agency dragged its feet on the decision to ground the jets. Most agencies around the world have said little or nothing about the situation since the 737 MAX was grounded following the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash, which together with a Lion Air crash in October, claimed 346 lives.

  • Iran’s Rouhani Seeks More Powers to Confront U.S. ‘Economic War’
    World
    Bloomberg

    Iran’s Rouhani Seeks More Powers to Confront U.S. ‘Economic War’

    During Iran’s eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s, a supreme council was set up and “held all powers, and even the parliament and the judiciary did not intervene,” Rouhani told a gathering of clerics on Tuesday. The conflict, initiated by Iraq and referred to by Iran as the “imposed war,” killed a million people on both sides. Today Iran “is in a state of economic war” and “we need the same type of power,” he said, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency, referring to U.S. sanctions directed against the country’s vital oil industry and other targets.

  • 'Violent tornado' tears through Jefferson City, Mo.: 'It’s a chaotic situation right now'
    News
    USA TODAY

    'Violent tornado' tears through Jefferson City, Mo.: 'It’s a chaotic situation right now'

    A violent tornado ripped through Jefferson City, Missouri, late Wednesday, leaving many trapped and others injured. More storms are forecast Thursday.

  • Elizabeth Warren calls comedian to give love life advice: 'We have a plan to get my mom grandkids'
    Politics
    The Independent

    Elizabeth Warren calls comedian to give love life advice: 'We have a plan to get my mom grandkids'

    Elizabeth Warren is the only presidential candidate with a plan for comedian Ashley Nicole Black's love life.That's at least according to Black, who wrote on Twitter that she had a chat with the Democratic presidential candidate had called her up — making good on a weekend tweet from Ms Warren offering to help."Guess who's crying and shaking and just talked to Elizabeth Warren on the phone?!?!? We have a plan to get my mom grand kids, it's very comprehensive, and it does involve raising taxes on billionaires," Black wrote on Twitter, referencing Ms Warren's campaign mantra that she has a "plan for that".The phone call — which the Warren campaign confirmed took place to The Independent — follows after Black jokingly tweeted on Sunday about the dozens of policy proposals Ms Warren has released, and that have come to largely define her campaign."Do you think Elizabeth Warren has a plan to fix my love life," Black tweeted then.Ms Warren's account replied: "DM me and let's figure this out."Ms Warrens' campaign provided no details of what the phone call included. But Black, a comedian who has worked on Samantha Bee's "Full Frontal" television show, provided some context piecemeal in her replies."I'm literally shaking," she wrote in response to one user.It's "like you're talking to someone super smart, who actually cares," she wrote in response to another user, who asked how it feels to speak with Ms Warren. "It was amazing."Finally, a hint at the advice: She said I've [got to] focus on what I've got going for me... that's when I started crying LOL".

  • 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.

  • Business
    Reuters

    U.S. judge approves PG&E $105 million wildfire assistance fund

    PG&E Corp may set up a $105 million housing fund for victims of 2017 and 2018 wildfires in California, which set records for devastation and were blamed on the utility's equipment, the judge overseeing the investor-owned power producer's bankruptcy ruled on Wednesday. Creditors, which include wildfire victims, are fighting for funds as PG&E navigates bankruptcy stemming from the blazes and as the state plans for increasingly long and dangerous fire seasons its officials attribute to climate change. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali at a hearing approved a motion by PG&E seeking permission to establish the fund for people who lost homes in the fires and were uninsured or have used up or will exhaust their insurance.

  • Biden blasts Trump for saying he 'deserted' Pennsylvania: 'I was 10'
    Politics
    Yahoo News

    Biden blasts Trump for saying he 'deserted' Pennsylvania: 'I was 10'

    The former vice president blasted President Trump for telling the crowd at a rally in Pennsylvania earlier this week that he “deserted” them.

  • US stocks rally on Huawei reprieve as pound gyrates on Brexit news
    Business
    AFP

    US stocks rally on Huawei reprieve as pound gyrates on Brexit news

    Global stocks rallied Tuesday as the United States took a step away from imposing crushing restrictions on Chinese telecom company Huawei, while the pound gyrated on fresh Brexit drama.

  • Politics
    Reuters

    Yemen's Houthis step up drone attacks on Saudi Arabia

    The latest hostilities coincide with rising tensions between Iran and Gulf Arab states allied to the United States and come just as a sensitive, U.N.-sponsored peace deal is being carried out in Yemen's main port of Hodeidah, a lifeline for millions. The Houthis, who claimed responsibility for last week's armed drone strikes on oil assets in Saudi Arabia, said on Tuesday that one of their drones hit an arms depot at the kingdom's Najran airport near the Yemeni border, causing a fire. It said on Monday that Saudi defense forces intercepted Houthi ballistic missiles fired toward Mecca, Islam's holiest site.

  • Panasonic joins firms stepping away from Huawei after US ban
    World
    AFP Relax News

    Panasonic joins firms stepping away from Huawei after US ban

    Japan's Panasonic on Thursday said it would stop supplying some components to Huawei, joining a growing list of firms distancing themselves from the Chinese telecoms giant after a US ban over security concerns. The announcement came a day after four major Japanese and British mobile carriers said they would delay releasing new Huawei handsets. "We've stopped all business transactions with Huawei and its 68 group companies... that are subject to the US government ban," Panasonic spokesman Joe Flynn told AFP.