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Parnas said he is speaking out because he is afraid of William Barr

Parnas said he is speaking out because he is afraid of William BarrRudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas said he was giving media interviews about his role in President Trump’s attempts convince Ukrainian officials to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden because he wanted to protect himself from Attorney General William Barr.




POSTED JANUARY 16, 2020 10:08 PM

Iran Has New Submarines, And That's Bad News For America

Iran Has New Submarines, And That's Bad News For AmericaThe new Fateh-class vessel was unveiled by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani late last week, at a ceremony held at the Bandar Abbas naval base.




POSTED JANUARY 17, 2020 4:00 PM

Georgia sets execution for man convicted of killing 2 people

Georgia sets execution for man convicted of killing 2 peopleDonnie Cleveland Lance, 66, is scheduled to die Jan. 29 at the state prison in Jackson, state Attorney General Chris Carr and Department of Corrections Commissioner Timothy Ward announced Friday. Lance has exhausted his standard appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court declined last year to hear his case, though three justices dissented. According to a Georgia Supreme Court summary of the case, Lance went to Wood’s home the night of Nov. 8, 1997, kicked in the front door and shot Wood in the front and back with a shotgun and then beat Joy Lance to death with the butt of the shotgun, the summary says.




POSTED JANUARY 17, 2020 1:54 PM

An ISIS preacher captured in Iraq was apparently so overweight that police had to take him away in the back of a pickup truck

An ISIS preacher captured in Iraq was apparently so overweight that police had to take him away in the back of a pickup truckShifa al-Nima was captured in the Mansour neighborhood of Mosul by the Nineveh police command, according to Iraqi police.




POSTED JANUARY 17, 2020 9:36 AM

Huawei exec set to fight Canada court battle against US extradition

Huawei exec set to fight Canada court battle against US extraditionA Canadian court on Monday will consider a US request to hand over Chinese tech executive Meng Wanzhou, whose arrest 13 months ago on fraud charges plunged Canada-China relations into a deep freeze. The extradition hearing comes after Beijing detained two Canadians and blocked billions of dollars worth of Canadian agricultural shipments in apparent retaliation for Meng's arrest. Taking her into custody also stuck Canada in the middle of a row between China and the US, which views Huawei as a security risk.




POSTED JANUARY 16, 2020 9:05 PM

Jordan, Meadows Send Letter to FISA Court Questioning Kris Appointment

Jordan, Meadows Send Letter to FISA Court Questioning Kris AppointmentHouse 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.“If the FISC’s goal is to hold the FBI accountable for its serious misconduct, Mr. Kris does not appear to be an objective — or likely effective — amicus curiae for several reasons,” the letter states. “At minimum, the selection of Mr. Kris creates a perception that he is too personally invested on the side of the FBI to ensure it effectuates meaningful reform.”A Republican official with knowledge of the letter told National Review that the letter signaled a concerted Congressional effort to reform FISA.“For too long, the FBI has remained largely un-checked when it comes to the FISA process. Congress must ensure that FISC stands ready to protect civil liberties without even the slightest indicia of political bias,” he said.The letter appears to be a follow-up to Monday comments from Meadows, who said in an interview that Republicans were “appealing this to the Judge” regarding Kris's appointment. The North Carolina Congressman also slammed the move to appoint Kris, saying that “there’s no way” Kris is the right man to address abuses “if he doesn’t even acknowledge that there is a problem.”Kris, a former assistant attorney general in the Obama DOJ’s national security division, has extensive experience with the FISA Court, serving as an amicus curiae, or special adviser, since March 2016.A frequent contributor to Lawfare blog, Kris was an outspoken defender of the FBI’s authority in surveilling Page, who was accused of being a Russian agent.Following the release of heavily-redacted FISA applications used to surveil Page in July 2018, Kris doubled down. “It seems to me very likely that if we get below the tip of the iceberg into the submerged parts and more is revealed, it will get worse, not better,” for Page, he told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow at the time. The letter references Kris's comment to Maddow as evidence that he is biased in favor of the bureau and against Page.DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz revealed in December that the FBI knowingly withheld information that Page was a CIA informant in order to obtain a FISA warrant against him, and even doctored an email to keep the information from the court. The report also revealed that the bureau did not inform the FISC of the partisan origins of the uncorroborated Steele dossier despite its playing a "central and essential" role in their application to surveil Page.In their letter, Jordan and Meadows also request that Boasberg give greater insight into the details surrounding the court’s assessment of the Page applications, including when it “first received any indication that information contained in the FBI’s surveillance applications for Carter Page was misleading or false.”




POSTED JANUARY 16, 2020 3:10 PM

Did Russian Prime Minister Medvedev Drop a Grim Hint About Putin’s Latest Power Grab?

Did Russian Prime Minister Medvedev Drop a Grim Hint About Putin’s Latest Power Grab?At a celebration of the Russian Orthodox New Year on Tuesday, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev chose a grim message, the sarcasm of which left his audience on edge. But, then, Medvedev probably knew what Wednesday would bring—the resignation of his entire government—and the audience did not.Putin’s Power Play: Shuffle the Cabinet But Keep CommandOn national television, the prime minister read at length from Anton Chekhov’s story "A Night in the Cemetery," which suggests with ironic wit that celebrating the coming of the New Year is a foolish pursuit, unworthy of a properly functioning mind, since “every coming year is as bad as the previous one,” and the newest year is bound to be even worse. Instead of celebrating the New Year, Chekhov wrote—and Medvedev read—one should suffer, cry and attempt suicide. Every new year brings you closer to death, makes you poorer, your bald spots larger and your wife older, he said.Medvedev’s sour greetings brought on some awkward laughs and sparse applause from confused Russian bureaucrats in the studio audience, most of whom remained stone-faced. The prime minister seemed nervous and almost dropped his papers at the end of the speech.Then Wednesday dawned, and Russian President Vladimir Putin in his annual state of the nation address proposed a constitutional overhaul. It supposedly is designed to boost the powers of parliament and the cabinet, but more likely is intended to give Putin, 67, a firm grip on the country for many more years, even decades, to come. A few hours later, Medvedev submitted his resignation, and his entire cabinet submitted theirs as well. And while some of them may stay on, Medvedev, who once served a term as Putin's placeholder president, will move to a previously nonexistent post.Putin offered the prime minister slot to Mikhail Mishustin, the head of the Russian Tax Service, who has been described as “the taxman of the future,” digitally acquiring receipts of every transaction in Russia within 90 seconds. It's unclear whether Mishustin will be a placeholder technocrat or assume other responsibilities currently known only to Putin. But in his annual address, Putin articulated the need to identify any persons with current or former double citizenships and foreign holdings, eliminating them from government service. Mishustin might become instrumental in such a reshuffling of Russia’s power elites, who are perceived to be unpatriotic by maintaining residences or bank accounts abroad. The added pressure will also give Putin further leverage over them. In the past, Putin and Medvedev have choreographed moves that allowed Putin to remain in charge under different titles, swapping places to circumvent term limits.This time around, Medvedev will assume a newly created position as the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council and all current ministers will remain in an acting capacity until a new government is appointed.Meanwhile, the leader of Chechnya in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region, Ramzan Kadyrov has declared himself to be “temporarily incapacitated,” relegating his duties to the current prime minister of Chechnya, Muslim Khuchiyev.Putin’s sweeping changes are widely interpreted as designed to weaken his successor, reshaping Russia’s power structure in order to create additional opportunities for Putin's continued control over the government, even after the conclusion of his fourth presidential term in 2024. Putin proposed amending the Russian constitution to expand the powers of the legislative branch and investing additional powers in the State Council, leading to speculation Putin is contemplating his future return at the helm of a newly empowered Parliament, after the expiration of his current presidential term.Commentary on the Russian president’s likely intention to carve out a new position for himself has been skillfully avoided by the Russian state media. Instead, Kremlin-controlled news outlets chose to focus on promised subsidies for families with young children, designed to address Russia’s demographic crisis by boosting the birth rate, and the general claim that Putin has, as it were, made Russia great again.On the Russian state television show, The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev, the host proclaimed, “The greatness of the country is indisputably tied to the name of Putin.” Soloviev argued that the Russian president “restored respect” towards their country globally. His take was echoed by the State Duma Deputy Chair Irina Yarovaya, who pontificated that Putin, having achieved his foreign policy and national security objectives, could now move on to his domestic agenda. Yarovaya said, “We remember statements by [U.S. President Barack Obama] in 2014—very recently—that Russia is a regional power of minor importance. We remember all of that. We remember how the sanctions started. We remember how we weren’t invited to the G8. And today there is a line of world leaders waiting just to talk to our president over the phone…”The sanctions started and Russia was disinvited after it seized and annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014, then incited and abetted a separatist war in Ukraine's east. They were intensified after Russia's flagrant interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.Russian state media also highlight Putin’s promises of socioeconomic largesse and his prediction that “Russia's economy will grow faster than the global average in 2021.” During the last decade, the Russian leader has promised in vain that Russia will become the world’s fifth largest economy by 2024. It is currently ranked as the 11th largest economy in the world, with a smaller GDP than that of California. President Putin’s current growth prediction is much more modest. It’s still not realistic, but such promises had to be made as Russia’s declining standards of living have led to political unrest and mass protests.Without providing any direct answers as to his own plans, the Russian leader—who has now been in power for 20 years—created new venues for his continued reign in yet-to-be-revealed future capacities.Amid all the uncertainties, maybe it shouldn’t surprise us that Medvedev was reading Chekhov’s story about a blind drunk civil servant who stumbles out of a New Year’s celebration only to get lost in a graveyard—and then discovers in the morning he was somewhere else entirely.Russia Loves the Impeachment Hearings Because GOP Is Parroting Kremlin PropagandaRead 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.




POSTED JANUARY 16, 2020 10:14 AM

Princess Cruises responds after 'Marriage Story' actress speaks out, sues alleging bedbugs

Princess Cruises responds after 'Marriage Story' actress speaks out, sues alleging bedbugsA "Marriage Story" actress and her husband are suing Princess Cruises, alleging their room was infested with bedbugs.




POSTED JANUARY 17, 2020 7:57 AM

Bad weather forces delay of SpaceX simulated rocket failure test

Bad weather forces delay of SpaceX simulated rocket failure testBad weather forced Elon Musk's SpaceX to delay until Sunday a test in which it will destroy one of its own rockets in a trial of a crucial emergency abort system on an unmanned astronaut capsule. The test, the company's final milestone test before flying NASA astronauts from U.S. soil, had been planned to take place on Saturday. SpaceX said in a Twitter post https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/1218473546772430848 it was standing down from the Crew Dragon capsule test because of high winds and rough seas in the recovery area.




POSTED JANUARY 18, 2020 12:05 AM

McConnell says 'the House's hour is over'

McConnell says 'the House's hour is over'During an address on the floor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, "The House's hour is over. The Senate's time is at hand."




POSTED JANUARY 16, 2020 11:02 AM

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