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Republicans gripe about acting secretaries — and pave the way for another

November 13, 2019 - 3:10am

The Senate confirmed Chad Wolf Wednesday to become policy undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security so that he can take another job — acting secretary of the entire agency. The strange maneuver comes as the White House still hasn’t named a permanent successor to Kirstjen Nielsen to lead DHS since her resignation in April. In a 54-41 vote, the Senate approved Wolf’s nomination, with Democratic Sens.

Venezuela ex-intel chief missing in Spain ahead of US extradition: police

November 13, 2019 - 2:46am

Venezuela's former military intelligence chief has gone missing in Spain just days after a court approved a request for his extradition to the United States on drug trafficking charges, police said Wednesday. "They are currently looking for him," said a spokeswoman for Spain's national police, referring to General Hugo Armando Carvajal. Judicial sources said police had gone to his house in Madrid after Friday's court decision but could not find him.

Turkey says it captured ‘important’ IS figure in Syria

November 13, 2019 - 1:33am

Turkey’s interior minister said Wednesday that his country’s forces have captured an "important" figure within the Islamic State group, in Syria. Suleyman Soylu said the suspect is still being interrogated but did not identify the person or provide further details. “We recently captured an important man within the (IS) in Syria.

Georgia prepares to execute man for store clerk's killing

November 12, 2019 - 11:29pm

Prison officials in Georgia are preparing to execute a man Wednesday evening for the fatal shooting of a convenience store clerk 25 years ago. Ray Jefferson Cromartie, 52, is scheduled for a lethal injection at the state prison in Jackson. The state says Cromartie also shot and gravely injured another convenience store clerk a few days earlier.

China Is Arming Its Bombers With Supersonic Cruise Missiles

November 12, 2019 - 11:00pm

The H-6N strategic bomber can carry the CJ-100 missile, which would increase the bomber’s strike range to 6,000 kilometers (3,728 miles), according to the South China Morning Post.

Court rules against warrantless searches of phones, laptops

November 12, 2019 - 9:10pm

A federal court in Boston has ruled that warrantless U.S. government searches of the phones and laptops of international travelers at airports and other U.S. ports of entry violate the Fourth Amendment. Tuesday's ruling in U.S. District Court came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of 11 travelers whose smartphones and laptops were searched without individualized suspicion at U.S. ports of entry. ACLU attorney Esha Bhandari said the ruling strengthens the Fourth Amendment protections of international travelers who enter the United States every year.

Ivanka Trump Tells Her Dad: Don’t Tweet the Whistleblower’s Name!

November 12, 2019 - 8:08pm

Photo Illustration by Kristen Hazzard/The Daily Beast/Photos GettyFor weeks, Donald Trump has known the name of the alleged whistleblower who filed the anonymous complaint in August and sparked the impeachment inquiry bedeviling this administration.Since learning the name, the president has gossiped on numerous occasions about this individual’s biography and alleged political biases with confidants, friends, lawyers, administration officials, family, and cable-news personalities, according to four people with knowledge of the conversations.He’s spoken to so many people behind the scenes about the whistleblower, many of those close to the president are genuinely surprised he hasn’t already tweeted, retweeted, or publicly uttered the name, given his colossal public fury at the still-unnamed individual and his lawyer. Those in Trump’s inner circle—including White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and the president’s daughter and senior White House aide Ivanka Trump—have specifically told the president when asked that it would be unwise for him to publicly blurt out the name at this point, the sources say.Even Fox News star Sean Hannity, a regular Trump confidant who wages almost nightly war against the allegedly anti-Trump “deep state” on his Fox News and radio broadcasts, hasn’t pushed the president hard to out the alleged whistleblower, even when the two have gossiped about this individual. When asked about conversations with President Trump regarding the whistleblower’s identity, the Fox News host said in an email to The Daily Beast, “I never reveal my sources,” before quickly pivoting to complaining about the president’s enemies such as “QuidProQuoJoe” Biden and his son, “‘no experience’ make millions Hunter” Biden.Still, few expect the dam to hold for long, in spite of federal protections covering government whistleblowers. “It is not a matter of if but when he will say it,” said one senior administration official who has discussed the name with Trump and also made a point of advising him against saying or posting to Twitter the name—for now. “It’s my sense he is waiting for more cover from others before he does,” the senior official added.White House spokespeople did not provide comment for this report as of publication time.However, this being President Trump, he’s not getting this name via any official or top-secret channels, as far as his close associates can tell. He’s getting it through casual conversation and conservative media, and has, two knowledgeable sources say, read the name via print-outs of articles on websites such as Breitbart and RealClearPolitics. He’s heard the name on his TV, since this alleged whistleblower has been widely identified on right-wing social media and in the conservative press, such as multiple times on two of Trump’s favorite channels, One America News Network and Fox News.In moments of annoyance, the president has at times simply referred to the alleged whistleblower as “that guy,” according to a source present for Trump’s private remark.Fox News even has a reported ban in place on its employees uttering the name on-air. And according to a source with knowledge of the situation, Fox producers have also gone out of their way to individually tell guests ahead of their interviews to refrain from mentioning the name of the alleged whistleblower, stressing to certain guests the current Fox policy. (This effort has not been entirely successful.)For weeks, prominent Republicans have attempted to out the whistleblower, including during high-stakes Hill depositions in the impeachment probe. Top Trump allies, like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), have called on the media to publish the name. And, to much media attention, the president’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. posted the name to his Twitter account last week.Much of the name-related freakout in Trumpworld, conservative media, and social media came shortly after The New York Times printed a report in September that included—against the expressed desires of the whistleblower’s legal team—details of the complaint author’s identity, though did so without explicitly naming the individual. Multiple sources in conservative media that have named the person say that they would not have been able to “out” the alleged whistleblower without clues left in that Times article.The Daily Beast has not confirmed the identity of the whistleblower. Democratic leaders have said they intend to hold a House vote on impeaching Trump before the year is out. It is widely believed that the president is on track to be acquitted subsequently by the Republican-controlled Senate.“I think the president has probably been warned that you’re not supposed to name the [alleged] whistleblower,” said Ed Rollins, a veteran Republican strategist who leads the pro-Trump group Great America PAC. “But the name’s been out there… Whether you can fire him or not, I don’t know, but you certainly could identify him, and criticize him, and House Republicans should demand that he testify. He’s the one who started this thing… I’d certainly make his life miserable.”Rollins added, “I have no reservations about whether the president should name him or demand that he testify against him.”—with additional reporting by Andrew KirellRead 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.

Trevor Noah Goes Off on John Bolton for Saving Trump Revelations for $2 Million Book

November 12, 2019 - 7:38pm

Comedy CentralEarlier this fall, The Daily Beast reported that former National Security Adviser John Bolton was in talks to write a book about his time in President Trump’s White House. Now that he has apparently signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster, The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah laid out Tuesday night how that might explain why Bolton has so far refused to testify in the impeachment inquiry. After reviewing underwhelming details in new books by Nikki Haley and an anonymous White House staffer, Noah said “one person who might actually have revelations about Donald Trump is John Bolton.” “He claims to have unique, insider information relevant to the impeachment probe,” Noah continued. “But he’s not telling Congress about it. He might be saving it for his upcoming book,” for which Bolton reportedly received an advance of about $2 million. “Oh, I see, so Bolton might spill the beans on impeachable offenses by the president, but only for $2 million,” Noah said. “Yes, he’s truly the hero America deserves.” The host said he’s “not impressed” by the news of Bolton’s book, which would come out next year, presumably long after the impeachment inquiry is over. “Look, the truth is, whether it’s anonymous or Nikki Haley or John Bolton, beneath it all, these books are all trying to do the same thing: profit off the chaos,” Noah added. “Because these books don’t help the country, they just trade on rumors and innuendo to make the authors money. If someone has valuable information about the president, they should just tell the American people instead of holding out for money.” The host said he knows how to fix this problem and will share it with the nation in his new book, Buy My Book: A Book I Want You to Buy.Dana Carvey Nails ‘Lunatic’ John Bolton on ColbertRead 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.

Bolivia: Jeanine Añez claims presidency after ousting of Evo Morales

November 12, 2019 - 7:15pm

* Ex-president’s party refuses to recognise senator’s claim * Morales says army told him of $50,000 price on his headJeanine Añez waves from the balcony of the Quemado Palace in La Paz after claiming Bolivia’s interim presidency. Photograph: Aizar Raldes/AFP via Getty ImagesThe Bolivian senator Jeanine Añez has declared herself the country’s interim president after the resignation of Evo Morales, even though lawmakers from his party boycotted the legislative session where she assumed office.Añez, 52, took temporary control of the Senate late on Tuesday. “I will take the measures necessary to pacify the country,” she said, swearing on a bible to loud cheers and applause. The move is expected to pave the way for fresh elections.Morales’s Movement Towards Socialism called the session illegal and its legislators refused to take part. Nearby hundreds of Morales supporters marched against Añez assuming the role. “She’s declared herself president without having a quorum in the parliament,” Julio Chipana told the Guardian. “She doesn’t represent us.”Morales, who resigned under pressure from police and the army after a fiercely disputed election, has flown into exile in Mexico, leaving a confused power vacuum behind in Bolivia. Speaking at a hastily organised press conference on the tarmac, the former president thanked Mexico for “saving my life” and repeated his accusation that his rivals had forced him out in a coup.He said that before his resignation on Sunday a member of the army had showed him messages putting a $50,000 price on his head.“I thought we had finished with the discrimination and the humiliation, but new groups have emerged that have no respect for life, let alone for the fatherland,” Morales said. “It’s another lesson to learn.”Morales, 60, was greeted with a handshake, a hug and a pat on the cheek from Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, after the flight in a Mexican army plane from the Bolivian city of Cochabamba.He defended his time in government and said that if he were guilty any crime, it was to be indigenous and “anti-imperalist”.Morales was accompanied by his former vice-president, Álvaro García Linera, who has been his closest political collaborator since before he became Bolivia’s first indigenous president in modern times.“García Linera and I have always been committed to the idea that peace can only come with social justice,” Morales said. “This coup is not going to change our ideology.”Though he promised that this was not the end of his political career, the Bolivian leader gave no indication of his immediate plans.Morales left behind a country close to chaos as supporters and opponents clashed on the streets, amid reports of fresh looting, vandalism and arson after the October election, which the Organisation of American States found to have been rigged in his favour.On Tuesday much of Bolivia’s main city, La Paz, was like a ghost town after police warned inhabitants to stay indoors. Roadblocks were thrown up across the city as the political uncertainty continued and residents feared more violent clashes.The country remained in political limbo as senators and deputies loyal to the former leader appeared to refuse to endorse the new interim president, deputy senate leader Jeanine Áñez.“The people who have been in all these protests want us to call presidential elections which are not fraudulent, which are trustworthy,” Áñez, a political opponent of Morales, told journalists in the national assembly building.Shirley Franco, an opposition member of parliament, said: “What Bolivians want in this moment of crisis is certainty and we, the maximum authorities in this country, must work to re-establish democracy.”Manning a makeshift barricade a few blocks away, anti-Morales protester Danella Ormachea, 29, said: “We want this to end. We need a new interim president to call new elections so there is democracy and our vote is respected. That’s all we ask.”Martín Cornejo Choque, a rural leader in La Paz province, denied there had been voter fraud.“Before the election, the right said if Evo Morales wins we won’t recognise it. The opposition just don’t want to recognise the votes of the rural areas,” he said.Cornejo, who led dozens of communities to La Paz’s San Francisco square in support of Morales, said Morales had transformed life for rural Bolivians.“Before when there were rightwing, neoliberal presidents they never cared about the peasant farmer. We lived in extreme poverty,” said Cornejo. “Our roads were not paved, we didn’t even have bridges but today, thanks to this government, all the peasant communities have development.”Morales’s sudden departure was a dramatic fall for the former coca growers’ union leader who swept to power 14 years ago in a historic election.He went on to win two more landslide victories and lifted millions out of poverty, but Morales’s popularity began to wane in 2016, when he ignored a referendum in which voters said he could not run for a fourth term.Mass protests broke out after last month’s election following an unexplained 24-hour halt in the voting which fuelled accusations of electoral fraud.Áñez denied that Morales had been the victim of a coup, saying: “What happened in Bolivia was the verification of monumental fraud. A coup d’etat is when there are soldiers in the streets.”Neighbouring countries’ responses to the ousting of Morales have reflected the ideological divisions of a continent where populism on the right and the left has been on the rise once again.Those backing Morales included Venezuela’s embattled leader Nicolás Maduro, Nicaragua’s seemingly eternal president Daniel Ortega, and Cuba’s Miguel Díaz-Canel.This camp also includes Brazil’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who blamed it on Latin America’s “economic elite”, and Argentina’s president-elect, Alberto Fernández, who said it returned the region to “the bad days of the 70s”.Brazil’s current far-right leader, Jair Bolsonaro, has been the loudest voice against Morales. “The left uses the word ‘coup’ a lot when it loses, right?” he told O Globo.Other regional leaders have avoided the subject – most notably Chile’s conservative president, Sebastián Piñera, who is clinging to power in the face of a wave of social unrest. His government issued a statement calling for a peaceful and democratic solution. Similar statements have come out of Peru and Colombia.Beyond the region, Donald Trump said that Morales’s resignation “preserves democracy”, while in the UK the opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn condemned the “coup against the Bolivian people”.Oliver Stuenkel, an international relations professor at Fundação Getúlio Vargas University in São Paulo, said that describing what happened in Bolivia as a coup did not necessarily imply that Morales had respected democratic norms.“In fact, non-democratic governments are often overthrown through non-democratic means, precisely because they cannot easily be voted out of office,” he tweeted.Meanwhile, Mexico’s very public offer of asylum – which was made before Morales had even asked for it – has prompted some critics of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to accuse him of seeking a distraction from the country’s own security crisis.On Tuesday, Ebrard insisted it fell squarely within a long tradition in which Mexico has provided safety for persecuted political leaders, from Leon Trotsky to activists who fled Argentina and Chile during the military dictatorships of the 70s and 80s.“This is a tradition we should be proud of and continue,” Ebrard said on Tuesday.

California sued again for requiring women on company boards

November 12, 2019 - 7:15pm

California's first-in-the-nation law requiring publicly held companies to put women on their boards of directors is facing a second legal challenge. The law requires publicly traded companies to have at least one woman on their boards by the end of this year. The Pacific Legal Foundation provided The Associated Press with the lawsuit it filed in federal court Wednesday, arguing that the law violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Ukrainian energy company tied to Hunter Biden supported American think tank, paid for trips

November 12, 2019 - 6:51pm

Burisma gave more than $450,000 to the Atlantic Council, a prominent Washington think tank.

'Words matter': Trump accused of fuelling attacks on Hispanics as violent hate crimes hit 16-year high

November 12, 2019 - 6:45pm

Violent hate crimes have climbed to a 16-year year high in the US, with a surge in attacks on Hispanics, according to FBI data.Reports of hate crimes dipped slightly in 2018 from an alarming increase the previous year, but violence rose as attacks increasingly targeting people instead of property.

From 'Anonymous,' key excerpts from inside Trump White House on Putin, Hillary

November 12, 2019 - 6:20pm

Key excerpts from "A Warning," a book by an anonymous senior administration official about President Trump and his administration.

At least 12, including children, killed in Kabul car bomb blast

November 12, 2019 - 5:29pm

At least 12 people, including three children, were killed when a minivan packed with explosives rammed into a vehicle carrying foreigners during Kabul's morning rush hour Wednesday, officials said. Four foreign nationals were among those wounded in the attack that targeted an SUV belonging to a private Canadian security company, GardaWorld -- in a crowded neighbourhood which is near the interior ministry and north of Kabul airport. "As a result of today's attack in Kabul, 12 people, including three children, were killed and 20 were wounded including four members of Gardaworld," Marwa Amini, an interior ministry spokeswoman, said.

Tulsi Gabbard's lawyers sent a letter to Hillary Clinton demanding she retract Russia comments

November 12, 2019 - 5:19pm

Tulsi Gabbard's lawyers want Hillary Clinton to make her retraction at a press conference and on social media.

Fox News Host: ‘If You Love Something, Do You Let Someone Pee on It?’

November 12, 2019 - 5:11pm

Fox NewsDuring a Tuesday afternoon Fox News discussion on the San Francisco district attorney vowing not to prosecute quality of life crimes amid a growing homelessness issue in the city, Fox News host Jesse Watters turned to his colleagues to ask a very serious question. “If you love something, do you let someone pee on it?”Over the past few months, Fox News has devoted countless segments to depicting Democratic-led cities like Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles as “liberal wastelands” full of homeless drug-addicted “zombies.” Much of the coverage has focused on public urination and defecation. Tuesday’s broadcast of Fox News’ roundtable show The Five gave us yet another one of these segments.Noting that Chesa Boudin was recently elected district attorney of San Francisco by promising to pursue criminal justice reform and not prosecute minor public decency crimes, liberal co-host Juan Williams expressed sympathy for the homeless, who are often the targets of vagrancy laws.“We all know how to find a bathroom,” Williams said. “But if you are homeless, where are you supposed to go to the bathroom? You are not homeless by choice.”“Yes, you are! Some of them are,” fellow co-host Greg Gutfeld chimed in.Watters then called on San Francisco residents to form their own version of the Tea Party—but instead call it the Pee Party.“Every day when the D.A. walks into his office, there needs to be a bunch of patriots just peeing on the sidewalk in front of him,” Watters exclaimed. “Until he’s forced to arrest them! They will be like the Samuel Adamses of public urination.”Turning to Williams and telling him “to be normal for a second,” the conservative host continued with his rant.“If you love something, do you let someone pee on it?” Watters wondered aloud. “Of course you don’t! You protect that something you love from someone peeing on something, OK?”“What?” Williams replied, clearly taken aback.The one-time Bill O’Reilly protege then insisted that “you obviously let someone pee on” something you hate.Pointing out that Boudin’s parents are anti-war radicals who were sent to prison, Watters claimed Boudin “really hates the city” and is trying to “destroy” it.“His parents were domestic terrorists, they got locked up, and he was raised by domestic terrorists,” he concluded. “It makes perfect sense. And now his job is to destroy an American city. He is a socialist, he wants to run everybody out of San Francisco and rebuild it as a socialist utopia. That is what is going on.”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.

Italian ship attacked by pirates in Mexico, two crew hurt

November 12, 2019 - 4:45pm

Pirates attacked an Italy-flagged offshore supply vessel in the southern Gulf of Mexico, injuring two crew members, the Mexican Navy said on Tuesday, in the latest outbreak of robbery and piracy to hit oil platforms and infrastructure in the area. Owned by Italian offshore contractor Micoperi, the boat is a supply vessel for Mexico's oil industry. Micoperi and the Italian embassy in Mexico did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump Considered Firing Intelligence Community IG after He Reported Whistleblower Complaint to Congress: Report

November 12, 2019 - 4:03pm

President Trump considered firing Intelligence Community inspector general Michael Atkinson after Atkinson reported the whistleblower complaint that touched off the House's presidential-impeachment inquiry to Congress, according to the New York Times.According to the report, Trump originally discussed firing Atkinson in September, at about the time the whistleblower complaint became public. Sources cited by the Times said that Trump has continued to bring up the possibility of firing Atkinson, and that he considers the IG to be disloyal.Two people familiar with the matter said they thought Trump was just venting frustration by bringing up the subject. The White House and Atkinson's office declined to comment on the matter.Democrats are currently conducting an impeachment inquiry centered on allegations that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate corruption allegations involving Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden. The whistleblower complaint conveyed concerns over the content of a July 25 phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as measures taken by the Trump administration to restrict access to the transcript of the call.Trump made the transcript public one day before the whistleblower complaint was revealed to Congress. The transcript showed that Trump repeatedly urged Zelensky to investigate Biden over the course of the call.Atkinson has come under fire from Trump during the impeachment inquiry."The Whistleblower’s lawyer is a big Democrat. The Whistleblower has ties to one of my DEMOCRAT OPPONENTS," Trump wrote on Twitter on October 9. "Why does the ICIG allow this scam to continue?"

Woman who spoke at Epstein's bail hearing sues his estate

November 12, 2019 - 3:13pm

A woman who confronted Jeffrey Epstein at a July bail hearing to tell a judge he touched her inappropriately when she was 16 sued his estate Tuesday, alleging he had subjected her to sex trafficking as part of his attacks on young women and girls. Lawyers for Annie Farmer filed the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court, along with a lawsuit on behalf of her sister, Maria Farmer, and Teresa Helm, an Ohio woman. A lawyer for Epstein's estate did not return a message seeking comment.

Chinese national pleads guilty in U.S. court to stealing Phillips 66 trade secrets

November 12, 2019 - 2:28pm

A Chinese national pleaded guilty on Tuesday to stealing trade secrets from U.S. petroleum company Phillips 66 , where he worked on the research and development of next generation battery technologies, the U.S. Justice Department said. Hongjin Tan, 36, stole information regarding the manufacture of a "research and development downstream energy market product" that is worth more than $1 billion, the department said in a statement. The department identified the company where he worked as Phillips 66 in court documents filed in Oklahoma.