Cocoa Beach Police Officer Adrian Kosicki was off-duty Thursday evening, July 16, walking on the beach with his wife near the pier when they noticed a shark approaching a small boy on a boogie board. Adrian made the decision to quickly enter the water and pull the boy from the surf as the shark began to get dangerously close, within only a couple of feet at its nearest distance. We’re certainly not marine biologists, educated and trained to differentiate between the various species of sharks, their respective feeding habits, and aggressiveness near swimmers. We just do what we do best—protect the public from harm. Thanks to Adrian, we’ll never know what that shark’s intentions were, and that little boy will forever have a pretty cool story to tell. Great job! Video credit Cocoa Beach Police & Fire
- Yahoo News
Federal judges appointed by Republican and Democratic presidents alike have struck down the Trump campaign’s allegations of widespread voter fraud in every case on which they have ruled, according to a Yahoo News review of post-election federal complaints.
- The Daily Beast
Earlier this week, Project Veritas released the first of what it promised would be many shocking revelations from CNN’s internal editorial meetings, which founder James O’Keefe appears to have infiltrated and recorded over the course of several weeks.First, the right-wing group tried to make hay out of the fact that one high-level CNN staffer considered Fox News host Tucker Carlson to be racist—while simultaneously misidentifying the staffer in question. Their latest bombshell? CNN President Jeff Zucker thinks Rudy Giuliani is “crazy.”According to Project Veritas’ website, O’Keefe believes it will be “virtually impossible for the American public to take CNN’s reporting seriously after listening to these tapes.” And yet, once again, nothing that Zucker has said should surprise anyone who has been paying attention to Giuliani, especially in the weeks since Trump lost the presidential election to Joe Biden.“There is a term for what Rudy Giuliani is suspected of being, which is ‘useful idiot,’” a voice identified as Zucker’s can be heard saying in a tape made just a couple of days after the man formerly known as “America’s mayor” started pushing material supposedly obtained from Hunter Biden’s laptop.He goes on to call Giuliani’s efforts to undermine the election a “really important story,” adding, “It gets tied to the Hunter Biden email disinformation campaign. That’s the way we do this, because it’s all tied and part-and-parcel of one. I know Washington is working on putting that all together.”In a more recent call, when another staff member suggests that the “real craziness is the client,” referring to President Trump, “not the lawyers,” the voice ID’d as Zucker agrees before saying, “I think you raise a good point about not just pawning it off on the crazy legal team, but the client is the one who is directing the crazy legal team.”Other comments from Zucker that seem to have outraged Project Veritas concern the baseless allegations of pedophilia against Biden that circulated online, especially among QAnon Facebook groups, in the run-up to the election.“The president of the United States has just retweeted a post accusing Joe Biden of being a pedophile to his 86 million followers which is just beyond,” he says on another tape. “You know it also is just unacceptable that the president of the United States is trafficking in this and doing it.”Once again, an exposé intended to make Zucker and CNN look bad has only revealed that they are simply adhering to reality.Project Veritas’ CNN Sting Uncovers Explosive News That Tucker Carlson Is RacistRead 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.
- Associated Press
The leader of a pro-gun group that stages armed protests against police violence has been charged with pointing a rifle at federal officers while in Kentucky for a demonstration. John F. Johnson, who calls himself “Grandmaster Jay,” is facing a federal charge of assaulting task force officers. A complaint filed in federal court in Louisville said Johnson pointed a rifle, which had a flashlight mounted to it, at officers who were on a roof in downtown Louisville on Sept. 4.
- Yahoo News
Trump backers, including Flynn, edge toward a call to 'suspend' Constitution to head off Biden taking office
Even as prominent Republicans, including Mitch McConnell, began to grudgingly acknowledge that Joe Biden will be the next president, a noisy grassroots movement devoted to keeping Donald Trump in office seemed to be edging closer to advocating seizing power in what would amount to a coup d’état.
The prominent pro-democracy supporter's detention comes a day after several activists were jailed.
Egypt executed 57 men and women in October and November, nearly double the 32 people reported in the whole of 2019, Amnesty International said on Wednesday. At least 15 of those executed had been sentenced to death in cases related to political violence following what Amnesty called unfair trials, the London-based human rights group said in a report. "The Egyptian authorities have embarked on a horrifying execution spree in recent months, putting scores of people to death, in some cases following grossly unfair mass trials," said Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director.
- Associated Press
A top Pakistani court on Wednesday declared the country’s ailing former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who lives in exile in London, a fugitive from justice after he failed to return home to face additional corruption charges. The move by the Islamabad High Court comes months after Sharif was given the chance to voluntarily return home. The next court hearing will be held in a week’s time, when the judges will discuss whether to proceed with the hearings and try Sharif in absentia.
- The Week
President-elect Joe Biden has settled on a team to lead the U.S. through its biggest ongoing crisis, two people familiar with the decision tell Politico.Jeff Zients, who headed the National Economic Council under former President Barack Obama and is co-chair of Biden's transition team, will reportedly be named the White House's COVID-19 coordinator. Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general under Obama, will reportedly return to his role with more responsibilities, and Biden's coronavirus advisory board co-chair Marcella Nunez-Smith will get a special role focused on health disparities.Zients "isn't a health care guru, and he's the first to say that," one source close to Biden told Politico. But his managerial experience is seen as an asset as the U.S. prepares to roll out a vaccine and combat the coronavirus-induced economic crisis — "he's essentially playing that role with the transition now," the source said. Zients will reportedly be paired with health experts including Murthy, who has already been a part of Biden's coronavirus plans. Nunez-Smith, a Yale University associate professor of medicine, will meanwhile help address how COVID-19 and other health care issues disproportionately affect people of color.The left wing of the Democratic party isn't expected to be thrilled with Zients' selection, The New York Times reports. Progressive groups such as Revolving Door Project and Justice Democrats have already pointed out his corporate record, and the fact that an anesthesia company managed under the investment firm Zients ran had poor reviews. Under Obama, "his role was essentially to be a management consultant for the executive branch: cutting costs, finding efficiencies and looking at things like a businessman," Revolving Door said in a document about Zients' background.More stories from theweek.com The Donald goes down to Georgia Biden says he's concerned about reports Trump is considering preemptive pardons 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims
- The Daily Beast
Reports, denied of course by Rudy Giuliani and his lawyer, that he has discussed a preemptive pardon with Donald Trump are made even more credible by the fact that Giuliani knows that he is part of an investigation by the FBI and federal prosecutors, who may well have held off on further action during the “blackout” period leading up to the election because an indictment of the president’s personal attorney would have been perceived as politically motivated.If, as it appears, Giuliani is the subject or target of a federal investigation, prosecutors have already told Giuliani’s lawyer that because they are required to do so. And they may still be unable to take any action against Giuliani several weeks into the transition period because he is perpetuating the myth that the election is still not over and that the “process” is still working itself out with court cases and press conferences alleging a massive conspiracy that only exists in the overheated imaginations of the president and some of his more rabid reporters.Giuliani, then, may be cynically enabling Trump’s post-election hysteria with his slapstick lawsuits and show hearings because he knows FBI agents aren’t going to jump on stage to handcuff him while the cameras are still on him. It’s hard to believe that he is so addled as a lawyer and political operative that he actually believes the wild conspiracy theories about a “rigged election” and “massive voter fraud” that he is promoting. No, those are a means to an end.Here’s How Rudy Giuliani’s Push for a Preemptive Pardon Could BackfireHis primary objective appears to be saving his own skin and his law license. Giuliani knows that his alliance with two shady former Soviet-born operatives—Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman—to travel abroad to dig up and manufacture dirt on Joe Biden and his son Hunter has made him vulnerable to a wide range of federal charges, including violations of federal election and lobbying laws, money laundering, and other financial crimes. Although both Parnas and Fruman pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to go to trial as soon as the COVID-19 crisis permits, their lawyers are also intensely talking to federal prosecutors about possible deals, and the primary subject of these discussions is what credible evidence these two can deliver about Giuliani. An important aspect of the federal investigation is whether, and to what extent, Giuliani and his cohorts were acting in concert with Russian intelligence operatives, such as Andrii Derkach, a Ukraine lawmaker who was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in September as a Russian agent attempting to interfere with this year’s presidential election.But the law of unintended consequences may be at work here, and Giuliani could now be considered too toxic to be eligible for a presidential preemptive pardon. Giuliani’s campaign to overturn the election results has imploded spectacularly, and semi-serious discussions of voting irregularities have degenerated into a farcical spectacle more worthy of a theater of the absurd than a serious court of law. So while Giuliani may have proved himself to be a loyal Trump stalwart, the abject failure of his post-election campaign may have doomed his chances of a pardon, as both Trump and Giuliani have each been marked as a Loser, a label that has always terrified Trump.While it is true that Trump has already pardoned Michael Flynn, another loyal “soldier” to his cause, there are significant differences in the two cases from a White House perspective. Flynn’s case had already worked its way through the law-enforcement and judicial system, while Giuliani’s has not even started. Flynn has twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, and although Bill Barr’s Justice Department has tried mightily to withdraw its charges against Flynn, the federal sentencing judge assigned to the case was still mulling over his options when Trump bit the bullet and pardoned Flynn. Trump is also likely to pardon his longtime confidant Roger Stone, whose sentence he has already commuted. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is another strong candidate for a pardon, since Manafort has already proven his fealty to Trump by remaining mum throughout his federal prison sentence.But Giuliani falls into a completely different category than these three other Trump stalwarts. The only other time that a preemptive pardon has been issued by a president was when Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for any and all crimes that he may have committed while in the White House, but for which Nixon was never indicted. Whether Trump thinks Giuliani is worthy of such a blanket pardon is doubtful, given how poorly Giuliani’s ill-conceived and losing post-election campaign to overturn the results is going. If Trump is going to be handing out blanket pardons to anyone, it will be to himself and his own family members—Ivanka, Jared, Don Jr., and Eric. Giuliani is not family.Rudy Giuliani Knows Better. He Just Doesn’t Care.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.
- Yahoo News Video
In a lengthy video posted to his Facebook page, President Trump offered more baseless allegations of voter fraud. Trump said his remarks, which ran some 46 minutes, “may be the most important speech I’ve ever made.”
A bilateral trade deal between Taiwan and the United States would reinforce U.S. support for the democratic island in the face of "unrelenting intimidation" from China, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Friday. Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, has long angled for a trade deal with its most important diplomatic and military backer, and in August Tsai announced a relaxation on imports of U.S. pork and beef, removing a stumbling block.
- Associated Press
Connecticut police arrested two men and seized an estimated $15 million in marijuana after discovering a storage facility was being used illegally as a hub for pot distribution in the Northeast, authorities said Thursday. West Haven police said local officers and agents with the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration found 1,700 pounds (770 kilograms) of marijuana on Wednesday when they stopped a U-Haul truck while investigating what they called an international marijuana trafficking operation. “The investigation revealed that individuals were utilizing a storage facility in West Haven as a hub to distribute large quantities of marijuana throughout the tri-state area,” West Haven police said in a statement, referring to the area that includes Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.
- USA TODAY
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been a top official dealing with the pandemic.
- The Week
Several Republican lawmakers are showing enthusiasm for a potential 2024 run from President Trump, Politico reports.Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) went so far as to say he would support Trump's candidacy if he chooses to run, while Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said he "should run and would have the support" of the Republican Party.Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.), both of whom have had their names floated as potential presidential candidates, also indicated to Politico that they'd back Trump's effort to return to the White House, as did Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who said the U.S. "would benefit tremendously" from another Trump term. Blackburn, though, is still holding out hope Trump will win his doomed battle to overturn the 2020 results.Not everyone was overtly enthusiastic, however, including some of Trump's notable allies like Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who declined to comment. Cotton is another senator many speculate could launch his own bid, so he may be keeping things close to the vest. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), meanwhile, said he doesn't talk about hypotheticals, a point echoed by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) may have been the hardest to read. He repeated his opinion that Trump would be the clear favorite if he ran, but didn't hint one way or another how he'd feel about it. "I know it's an interesting story, but I have no idea," he told Politico.More stories from theweek.com 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims Biden says he's concerned about reports Trump is considering preemptive pardons Trump administration pushes ahead with sale of oil and gas leases in Alaska wildlife refuge
- Architectural Digest
From a private island to a tiny Vermont tree houseOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
Philippine police on Friday threatened to cane people who violate social distancing protocols as the Southeast Asian nation fights the spread of the coronavirus during the festive season. The Philippines celebrates one of the world's longest Christmas seasons, starting as early as September, and crowds have started to flock to sprawling malls and shopping centres despite the pandemic. Police general Cesar Binag, commander of the coronavirus task force, told a news conference that police and soldiers would patrol in public areas in the capital Manila, the hotspot of COVID-19 cases, carrying 1 meter rattan sticks to measure distancing.
- Associated Press
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and local business owners announced plans Thursday to create a private fund for new programs designed to change public safety. There have been numerous calls to transform the Minneapolis Police Department since the May 25 death of George Floyd. Frey said the fund, called the Minneapolis Community Safety Innovation Fund, is a way for the city to make changes without cutting the police force, the Star Tribune reported.
- Business Insider
Attorney for Jared Kushner and a Trump fundraiser investigated by DOJ in alleged bribery-for-pardon scheme
The New York Times reported that a lawyer for President Trump's son-in-law was investigated by the Justice Department this summer.
- The Week
FBI directors are appointed for 10-year terms, largely to insulate them from political pressure, and presidents rarely cut those terms short. President Trump did, firing FBI Director James Comey soon in May 2017 — prompting the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller — and he has come close to firing Comey's successor, Christopher Wray, several times, The New York Times reports. President-elect Joe Biden plans on returning to the regular norms and customs. Wray, like Comey, is a Republican.Biden is "not removing the FBI director unless Trump fired him," a senior Biden adviser tells the Times. Advisers also said Biden is leaning toward appointing David S. Cohen as CIA director, though he hasn't made any final decision. Cohen, a former deputy CIA director, is backed by Biden's choice for director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, the Times reports, and "ensuring an easy partnership between Ms. Haines and the CIA director is a priority of the new administration."Trump soured on Wray soon after appointing him, and it took an intervention by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Attorney General William Barr to talk Trump down from firing him over the summer, the Times reports. Trump reportedly told advisers in the fall that he would fire Wray right after the election. If he follows through, Biden will be able to pick a director of his choosing.More stories from theweek.com The Donald goes down to Georgia Biden says he's concerned about reports Trump is considering preemptive pardons 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims
Top U.S. infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci apologized on Thursday for casting doubt on the rigor of the British regulators who approved the Pfizer Inc vaccine against COVID-19, saying he had faith in the quality of their work. Britain announced the approval of the vaccine on Wednesday, with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) saying it had rigorously assessed the vaccine data and had cut no corners. It gave the UK the jump in the race to begin mass inoculation against a virus that has killed nearly 1.5 million people globally and hammered the world economy.