Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to introduce bill blocking Trump’s ‘fake national emergency’
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Joaquin Castro have announced new legislation they intend to introduce as part of an effort to block Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration over the US-Mexico border. The Democratic politicians pointed to the National Emergencies Act that provides Congress the ability to “terminate the President’s emergency declaration”, according to Mr Castro.
02/15/2019 - 01:18 PM
Multiple wounded, at least one dead in US shooting
At least one person was killed and several others, including police officers, were wounded on Friday when a gunman opened fire in an industrial area on the outskirts of Chicago. US media reported that the suspected gunman was killed soon after police and federal agents flooded a manufacturing complex in Aurora, Illinois -- 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of central Chicago. Witnesses said they had locked themselves into nearby buildings as a man in his 30s or 40s began firing off rounds.
02/15/2019 - 06:38 PM
Venezuela opens investigation into opposition-appointed PDVSA directors: prosecutor
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's chief state prosecutor said on Thursday an investigation had been opened into directors of state-run oil firm PDVSA, and its U.S. refiner Citgo, that the opposition-controlled congress appointed on Wednesday. Prosecutor Tarek Saab, in comments broadcast on state television, announced "the opening of an investigation against people designated illegally as directors of PDVSA and Citgo." Saab also said they would investigate foreign ambassadors named by opposition leader Juan Guaido, who on Jan 23 invoked constitutional provisions to assume an interim presidency. ...
02/14/2019 - 11:44 AM
Family of IS teen appeals to UK to help bring her home
LONDON (AP) — The family of a pregnant British teenager who ran away to join the Islamic State group urged the government Friday to help bring her home.
02/15/2019 - 04:22 PM
The 20 Most Powerful Crossovers and SUVs You Can Buy in 2019
02/15/2019 - 02:35 PM
Elliott Abrams bristles at Rep. Ilhan Omar's 'attack' for his Iran-Contra role
Elliott Abrams, who pleaded guilty in 1991 to withholding information from Congress, was appointed as U.S. envoy to Venezuela on Friday.
02/14/2019 - 11:02 AM
Honda & Acura Recall for Potential Stalling Issue
Honda Recalls 437,000 Cars and SUVs Over Potential Stalling Issue Honda is recalling 437,000 Acura MDX SUVs, Acura TLX V6 cars, and Honda Accord V6 cars because the gasoline flow from fuel pumps...
02/14/2019 - 02:51 PM
May Scrambles for Brexit Compromise With Two Weeks to Save Deal
British Prime Minister Theresa May is preparing to compromise with the European Union over the future of Ireland’s border, with just two weeks left to save her Brexit deal. Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay privately told the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, on Monday the U.K. doesn’t need to reopen the divorce agreement and would accept other ways to address British concerns, a person familiar with the talks said. On Thursday, members of the pro-Brexit European Research Group of Conservatives inflicted another embarrassing parliamentary defeat on the premier after they refused to endorse her approach to resolving the deadlock.
02/15/2019 - 03:47 AM
Amazon drops New York headquarters plan amid protests
Amazon abandoned plans for a new headquarters in New York City on Thursday, blaming opposition from community leaders angry at the huge subsidies being offered to one of the world's most successful companies. The online retail giant had promised the sprawling complex in the borough of Queens would create 25,000 jobs in exchange for nearly $3 billion in state and city incentives -- which had riled some New Yorkers. "While polls show that 70 percent of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project," Amazon said in a statement.
02/14/2019 - 04:38 PM
Parkland shooting: How the NRA is more vulnerable than ever after a year of protests and a wave election
One year after gunfire began in the freshman building of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the movement those bullets sparked has swept through the US and opened a new chapter on guns in America. Guns have come to dominate political debate this past year in way unseen previously in the US, with massive protests from March for Our Lives attracting headlines and major news coverage — and virtually all Democrat presidential candidates supporting stricter gun control. Meanwhile, dozens of states have moved to pass new gun control laws in an historic effort, as communities across America continue to be scarred by gun violence.
02/14/2019 - 12:56 PM
FBI releases 16 drawings prolific serial killer Samuel Little made of his victims
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has released more than a dozen drawingsmade by a prolific serial killer in hopes the public may be able to identifysome of his victims
02/14/2019 - 02:07 PM
Sources: Jussie Smollett staged attack with help of others, allegedly being written off 'Empire'
Multiple sources have told ABC7 Eyewitness News that police are investigating whether Smollett and the two men staged the attack allegedly because Smollett was being written off of "Empire."
02/14/2019 - 07:19 PM
The Latest: Denver teachers back at work after 3-day strike
DENVER (AP) — The Latest on the Denver teachers strike (all times local):
02/15/2019 - 12:28 AM
Amazon HQ2 Pulling Out of Queens Hits New Yorkers Hard
Social media reacts to the tech giant's decision not to move to Long Island City after all
02/14/2019 - 05:48 PM
Putin to Iran, Turkey: We should not tolerate militants in Syria's Idlib
SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday told his Turkish and Iranian counterparts that the presence of what he called terrorist groups in Syria's Idlib region should not be tolerated. Putin was speaking at a summit he is hosting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi to discuss the future of Syria with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Moscow has complained that Islamist militants who used to belong to the Nusra Front group are now in control of much of Idlib and wants military action to drive them out. ...
02/14/2019 - 08:26 AM
During a school lockdown, 7-year-old writes note on her arm in case she dies
A second-grader wrote a chilling note to her parents on her arm during school lockdown.
02/15/2019 - 01:11 PM
Barr Confirmed as Trump’s Attorney General, Winning Power Over Mueller Probe
The confirmation vote of 54-45 on Thursday gave the 68-year-old attorney a second stint in the job as the nation’s No. 1 law enforcement officer that he previously held in the 1990s. While that will make him a major figure on issues from immigration to antitrust policy, one of the corporate lawyer’s first decisions will be whether to recuse himself from overseeing Mueller’s politically explosive probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Donald Trump or any of his associates conspired in the operation. Democrats expressed concern about Barr’s acknowledgment that he’s had “general conversations” with Vice President Mike Pence regarding the investigation.
02/14/2019 - 02:02 PM
El Chapo likely headed to 'Alcatraz of the Rockies'
Described as a hell on earth, the prison was built in 1994 and is located outside Florence, an old mining town about two hours south of Denver. It houses some of America's most notorious criminals including "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. According to a 2014 Amnesty International report, inmates spend a minimum of 12 months in solitary confinement before their detention conditions are reevaluated.
02/14/2019 - 01:10 PM
Trump Venezuela envoy interrogated by Ilhan Omar over his role in Iran-Contra scandal
Donald Trump’s envoy to Venezuela was left flustered and visibly angry following an interrogation by Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar over his controversial political past. Elliot Abrams was appointed special envoy to Venezuela last month to help lead the US response to the political crisis in the South American country, which is seeing widespread hunger and violence following the collapse of its economy. On Wednesday, Mr Abrams, who served in the Reagan administration, testified in front of the House foreign affairs select committee, where he was subjected to a fierce line of questioning by Ms Omar.
02/14/2019 - 09:20 AM
PR push for white officer accused of killing armed black man
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The attorney for a white police officer charged with fatally shooting an armed black man in Tennessee is calling for legal discovery documents to be sealed from members of the public.
02/14/2019 - 06:59 PM
Alaska Airlines is selling BOGO flights for one day only
On February 14 only, the airline is rolling out a ‘Fly One, Get One’ promotionbetween select destinations around the country
02/14/2019 - 04:28 PM
What Will Happen to the Opportunity Rover's Dead Body on Mars?
NASA's Opportunity Rover has died on Mars. The little solar-paneled robot apparently ran out of battery power during the Red Planet's awesome 2018 dust storm, and after one last attempt to contact it, NASA concluded yesterday (Feb. 13) that the far-off explorer is no more.Which raises the question: What's going to happen to its body?Many human artifacts wouldn't last very long beyond our protective biosphere. As Live Science reported previously, solar radiation has likely shredded the Tesla Roadster Elon Musk launched into space last year.But Tesla Roadsters have lots of organic fibers and plastics in their bodies. Mars rovers are made of tougher stuff. [Voyager to Mars Rover: NASA's 10 Greatest Innovations]Jeff Moersch, a professor of planetary science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a member of the Opportunity team, cautioned that he's not an expert in the rover's engineering. But he said that Opportunity does have some plastic bits that might eventually break down under the glare of the sun -- its insulation, for example."But, by and large, I think it'll look pretty much as we left it," when and if astronauts ever do come across its resting place, Moersch told Live Science. It'll probably be pretty dusty, though, he added.That's assuming that astronauts do make it to Mars in the relatively near future -- the next century or two, for example.Over much longer periods, Moersch said, dust will settle on the rover. Opportunity functioned as long as it did because regular Martian winds tended to routinely blow dust off its body. But over longer periods, it's a bit of an open question whether the dust or the wind will win out."I doubt it will end up buried in a mound, though," he added.What about millions of years in the future? On Earth, anything old and dead and sitting in one place on the surface tends to eventually end up underground. But that's thanks to the effects of water and plate tectonics, Moersch said -- factors that aren't present in the same way on Mars."Over the very long-term, you're going to get impacts that knock up ejecta [airborne Mars dirt] from where they hit, and that ejecta will very gradually resurface [on] the planet and bury things that were on the surface," he said.If Opportunity were to be left on Mars, aliens who landed there millions and millions of years from now would find the rover somewhere in the rock record -- much like how paleontologists find dinosaur fossils here on Earth.But NASA is hoping to send humans to Mars one day. And there are dreams of establishing some sort of human settlement there. Steve Squyres, a professor of astronomy at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and head of the Opportunity science mission, made clear during NASA's press conference announcing the rover's death that the agency has no plans to bring the rover back to Earth. (Why would we spend the money bringing material back from Mars when we already know exactly what it's made of? he asked.)That said, Moersch added, when humans do settle Mars, it's not unreasonable to imagine they might make some effort to recover and preserve Opportunity. Perhaps it could end up in museum, or the region explored by the rover might end up as a national park.Of course, if humans never get there, Opportunity might not make it into the fossil record at all. It's at least plausible that, given millions of years, a meteor could strike it directly and smash it to bits. * 5 Mars Myths and Misconceptions * Mars InSight Photos: A Timeline to Landing on the Red Planet * Ancient Mars Could Have Supported Life (Photos)Originally published on Live Science.
02/14/2019 - 11:03 AM
A year after Parkland school shooting, should we be arming teachers already?
After Parkland shooting, school districts took 'giant steps' to boost security, but we're still not arming teachers.
02/14/2019 - 12:39 PM
Explainer: Jaish-e-Mohammad, the Pakistan-based militants, at heart of tension with India
India says the group and its leader, Masood Azhar, enjoy free rein in Pakistan, and demands that Pakistan acts to stop militant groups operating from its soil. Pakistan condemned the Thursday bomb attack that killed 44 paramilitary policemen but denied any complicity. India has blamed Jaish for a series of attacks including a 2001 raid on its parliament in New Delhi that led to India mobilizing its military on the border, bringing the foes to the brink of a fourth war.
02/15/2019 - 07:43 AM
5 Delta passengers injured in severe turbulence, flight made emergency landing in Reno
Three of the five injured passengers on a Delta Air Lines flight were taken to a local hospital.
02/14/2019 - 10:59 AM
U.K. Spy Warns Against Triumphalism Over Islamic State Collapse
“We are not triumphant because I think from triumphant you get to hubris,” MI6 Chief Alex Younger told reporters in Munich on Friday. Younger said Islamic States’s so-called caliphate was now in its “end game,” with the extremist militants clinging to the last square mile of land they hold in the village of Baghuz in eastern Syria. Meanwhile the U.K. is debating the case of Shamima Begum, a 19-year-old from east London who wants to come home despite expressing no regrets over becoming a so-called jihadi bride with Islamic State in Syria at the age of 15.
02/15/2019 - 08:00 AM
Lovesick on Valentine's? Museum of broken hearts has the antidote
Forget romantic dinners and roses, the place to be on Valentine's Day is Zagreb's Museum of Broken Relationships, a paean to personal objects and stories of heartbreak. From a toaster to an exercise bike and a pair of lacy bras, the small museum imbues seemingly ordinary objects with meaning through captions that detail their role in the unravelling of relationships around the world. The museum was buzzing Thursday, Valentine's Day, with groups of friends and also some couples who seeking out an unorthodox way to celebrate love.
02/14/2019 - 10:26 AM
Eating scorpions, worms in Thai/US military drill
Thailand and the US hosted the opening ceremony for the annual Cobra Gold military exercise, the biggest activity of its type in the Asia-Pacific region with participants learning jungle survival skills. (Feb. 14)
02/14/2019 - 02:59 PM
Photos of the New 2019 Subaru Ascent Touring
02/14/2019 - 12:09 PM
Court filing: Manafort faces more than 19 years in prison
WASHINGTON (AP) — Paul Manafort, the one-time chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, could spend more than 19 years in prison on tax and bank fraud charges, prosecutors said Friday.
02/15/2019 - 08:54 PM
Pence visits Auschwitz after saying Iran plotting 'new Holocaust'
US Vice President Mike Pence on Friday paid homage to victims of the Holocaust at the former Nazi German Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, a day after he accused Iranian authorities of plotting a "new Holocaust". More than a million European Jews perished at the site located in then German-occupied southern Polish town of Oswiecim during World War II. Pence passed through the Auschwitz camp's infamous wrought-iron "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work makes you free") gate before laying a wreath at the death wall where the Nazis executed thousands of people.
02/15/2019 - 09:28 AM
Why This 'Atmospheric River' Could Cause Mudslides and 'Roofalanches' in California
Californians are experiencing some unusually nasty winter weather this week as an "atmospheric river" passes through most of the state, bringing howling winds and heavy rain.The storm arrived on Tuesday night (Feb. 12) in Northern California and continued into Wednesday (Feb. 13), leading the National Weather Service (NWS) to issue warnings of flash flooding, mudslides and high winds in the region. It is forecast to bring "excessive rainfall" to Southern California on Thursday (Feb. 14), according to the NWS.[Weirdo Weather: 7 Rare Weather Events]Atmospheric rivers are huge "rivers in the sky" that cause moisture from the tropics to flow north, from California to Canada. These huge weather systems can carry many times the freshwater that flows through the mighty Mississippi River, local news outlet KQED reported."They're the biggest freshwater rivers on Earth," F. Martin Ralph, the director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes in La Jolla, California, told KQED.These atmospheric rivers of condensed water vapor can easily be 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) long and 300 miles (482 km) wide, Ralph said. When an atmospheric river brings moisture from Hawaii to the Western U.S. -- as is the case with the current storm -- it's known as the Pineapple Express.Atmospheric rivers can bring much-needed rain -- or wreak havoc by dumping heavy rain or snow when they make landfall, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). California has recently experienced storms, meaning the current downpour is falling on waterlogged soil. Summer wildfires also scorched the earth in several areas of California, and burn scars can be more prone to flash flooding and debris as well, according to the NWS.On Wednesday morning, 24-hour rainfall totals were as high as 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) in some parts of the Northern Bay Area, with San Francisco receiving about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) of rain, according to the NWS. Residents along the Bay Area coast and hills may face high winds from 25 to 35 mph (40 to 56 km/h) with gusts up to 60 mph (97 km/h), according to the NWS. Social media was abuzz with reports of downed trees and flash flooding. In the Sierras, the NWS warned that the atmospheric river could cause "roofalanches," or the sudden release of snow from already snow-packed roofs, which can pose a serious hazard.Earlier this month, Ralph and his colleagues developed a new scale to describe the strength of atmospheric rivers. The scale, which was described in the February issue of the journal Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, ranks these weather events using categories "1 to 5," with Category 1 indicating a "weak" storm and Category 5 indicating an "exceptional" one. The ranking is based on the amount of water vapor the storm carries, and how long it dumps moisture on a given area, according to a statement. The scale also indicates the extent to which the storm is likely to be beneficial -- by bringing much-needed rain to replenish reservoirs after a drought, for example -- or hazardous, leading to flooding and mudslides. The current storm is a "Category 3," according to local news outlet CBS San Francisco.Tia Ghose contributed reporting. * 9 Tips for Exercising in Winter Weather * Fishy Rain to Fire Whirlwinds: The World's Weirdest Weather * 10 Surprising Ways Weather Has Changed HistoryOriginally published on Live Science.
02/14/2019 - 11:13 AM
Venezuela's Maduro ramps up legal fight against Guaido's challenge
Venezuela's opposition, which argues Maduro's presidency is illegitimate because he won in a sham vote, is trying to wrest control of the OPEC nation's oil sector from him and deliver aid to a population suffering food and medicine shortages. Maduro says this is part of a strategy to carry out a U.S.-backed coup and has vowed to remain in office, despite around 50 nations recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as president. Venezuela's chief state prosecutor, Tarek Saab, said on Thursday his office had opened an investigation into new opposition-appointed directors at state-run oil firm PDVSA and its U.S. refiner Citgo, Venezuela's most valuable foreign asset.
02/14/2019 - 08:12 PM
Airlines to begin adding new gender option for 'non-binary' flyers
Some U.S. airlines are on track to add a new gender option for “non-binary” passengers amid evolving best-practices suggestions for the industry.
02/15/2019 - 04:03 PM
Isil bride Shamima Begum has a legal right to return to the UK, head of MI6 says
The British Islamic State (Isil) bride Shamima Begum has a legal right to return to the UK the Head of MI6 has said. The Director General of MI6 has said that British citizens have a right to return home from Syria, even though they may still present a threat to national security. Alex Younger, the head of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service - better known as MI6 - said he was "very concerned" about returning British nationals that had fought for or supported the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil). Speaking ahead of the Munich Security Conference which started on Friday, Mr Younger said: "All experience tells us that once someone's put themselves in that sort of position they are likely to have acquired both the skills and connections that make them potentially very dangerous. "Anyone who has put themselves in this situation can expect to be questioned and investigated and potentially prosecuted if they return to our jurisdiction." When asked about the case of Ms Begum, the heavily pregnant 19-year-old Londoner who travelled to Syria four years ago to become an Isil bride and who now wants to return to the UK to have her baby, Mr Younger said: "British nationals have a right to come to the UK." Kadiza Sultana, left, Shamima Begum, center, and Amira Abase going through security at Gatwick airport Credit: Metropolitan Police Britain’s intelligence chief cautioned about showing triumphalism at the demise of Isil, saying such an approach led to hubris. "The military defeat of the caliphate does not represent the end of the terrorist threat that we face," he said. "You can’t use military force to kill and idea." Mr Younger warned that Isil was already in the process of trying to grow elsewhere around the world, even as its fighters are defeated in Syria, and that the threat from al-Qaeda had not been completely extinguished. He said: "Daesh [Isil] is a resilient organisation and it is reorganising, returning to its natural state as an asymmetric transnational terrorist organisation. We see it morphing, spreading out. "Al-Qaeda...has undergone a certain resurgence as a result of the degradation of Daesh and it is a force that should also be taken seriously. It is definitely not done out, and is something we should remain focused on." Mr Younger was keen to stress the "strength and unconditional nature of the UK security offer" and said Brexit would not harm enduring partnerships. "Britain’s commitment to the security of the European continent is unconditional," he said. "Our aim is to strengthen our security partnerships in Europe, alongside our other intelligence partnerships across the globe, because that is the inescapable logic of a world of increasingly international hybrid threats." The ability to "operationalise" partnerships with other intelligence organisations was critical in preserving our way of life, he said, and was used to great effect after the nerve-agent attack in Salisbury last year. Referring to the intelligence sharing relationships with France and Germany he said: "There are people alive in our three countries today because of terrorist attack plans that we have successfully disrupted, showing the value and importance of cooperation to all sides. This is not a one-way street." "Even in the past year...people’s lives have been saved in all of our countries as a result of this cooperation. The counter terrorist machine is working as it should. Bombs haven’t gone off as a result of our capacity to exchange data with each other. "Brexit doesn’t fundamentally alter those relationships."
02/15/2019 - 09:45 AM
Cardinal expects 'significant progress' at sex abuse summit
DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. archbishop helping to organize next week's summit of the world's bishops at the Vatican on sexual abuse by clergy said Thursday he expects to make "significant progress" in responding to the scandal that's riven the church, and that lay Catholics will help to hold the hierarchy accountable.
02/15/2019 - 09:18 AM
Our Favorite Eco-friendly Finds Put Sustainable Materials to Stylish Use
02/15/2019 - 08:00 AM
Senator Bob Menendez reportedly threatens to call police on Daily Caller reporter Henry Rodgers about the Green New Deal
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) reportedly threatens to call police on Daily Caller reporter Henry Rodgers who asked the Senator about the Green New Deal.
02/14/2019 - 08:16 AM
Polestar teases next-gen electric car again ahead of Geneva launch
Just two weeks before the official online reveal on February 27, Volvo's Polestar gave us another glimpse of the Polestar 2 just a couple of weeks after the first announcement. While the latest official teaser of the Polestar 2 isn't nearly as informational as the first announcement made a few weeks ago, we have still been graced by another image of a discernible part of the exterior body: the top, left-hand side of the rear end. The white Polestar logo blends into the white body to avoid distracting onlookers from the snappy and chic design.
02/15/2019 - 10:39 AM
37 killed in Indian Kashmir attack
At least 37 Indian paramilitary soldiers were killed on Thursday in Indian-administered Kashmir in one the deadliest attacks on government forces there, police said. The suicide bombing outside Srinagar claimed by an Islamist group is likely to ratchet up tensions between nuclear-armed arch rivals India and Pakistan, with New Delhi long accusing Islamabad of supporting militants. "The sacrifices of our brave security personnel shall not go in vain," Indian Prime Minister Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, calling the attack "despicable".
02/14/2019 - 05:11 PM
Collusion: The Criminalization of Policy Disputes
What a weasel word “collusion” is.In Washington, Senator Richard Burr (R., N.C.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, has now seen fit to pronounce that, after two years of investigation, the panel has found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian regime. Meanwhile, in a nearby courtroom, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s senior staffer, Andrew Weissmann, told a federal judge that an August 2016 meeting between the then-chairman of the Trump campaign and a suspected Russian intelligence officer “goes . . . very much to the heart of what the special counsel is investigating” -- which sure sounds like Mueller’s collusion hunt is alive and well.What gives?Readers of these columns know that the “collusion” label has been a pet peeve of your humble correspondent since the media-Democratic “Putin hacked the election” narrative followed hard on the declaration of Donald Trump’s victory in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, November 9, 2016.The reason for the collusion label is obvious. Those peddling the “Putin hacked the election” story have always lacked credible evidence that Trump was complicit in the Kremlin’s “cyber-espionage.” They could not show a criminal conspiracy. Connections between denizens of Trump World and Putin’s circle might be very intriguing, and perhaps even politically scandalous. But only a conspiracy -- an agreement by two or more people to commit an actual criminal offense, such as hacking -- would be a reasonable basis for prosecution or impeachment.This dearth of proof was significant. The Russians apparently started hacking operations in 2014, long before Trump entered the race. The FBI first warned the Democratic National Committee about penetration of its servers in September 2015. By the time Trump won, the Bureau and U.S. intelligence agencies had been working hard to understand the nature and extent of Kremlin-directed hacking operations for two years. The investigation was so high-level, so intense, that shortly before the election, there were confrontational conversations between CIA director John Brennan and his Russian counterpart, FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov, and later between President Obama and Russian president Putin.Yet, as thorough as the investigation was, no one could credibly say Trump was a participant in Russia’s malfeasance. The best Obama’s notoriously politicized CIA could say was that Trump was Putin’s intended beneficiary.Unable to establish conspiracy, Trump’s opposition settled on collusion. It is a usefully slippery word. Collusion just means concerted activity -- it can be sinister or benign. It can refer to a conspiracy or to any arrangement people have together, including those that may be sleazy but non-criminal.This commitment to ambiguity came in handy for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein when he appointed Robert Mueller to be special counsel. After President Trump fired FBI director James Comey on May 9, 2017, and then shamefully talked Comey down for the consumption of Russian diplomats visiting the White House the next day, Rosenstein came under intense pressure. Because he had written the memorandum originally used to justify Comey’s dismissal, congressional Democrats slammed him for complicity in what they portrayed as Trump’s obstruction of the Russia probe. Rosenstein wanted to appease them by appointing the special counsel they were demanding.Special counsels, however, are not supposed to be appointed unless there is a solid basis to believe a crime has been committed. Rosenstein was lawyer enough to know that a president’s firing of an FBI director -- a firing that Rosenstein himself had argued was justified -- could not be an obstruction crime. And he knew that there was no proof that Trump had conspired in Russia’s cyberespionage. So . . . how to justify appointing a special counsel?Easy: Make it a counterintelligence probe. That way, there would be no need for a crime, since such investigations are just intelligence-gathering exercises.What’s that? You say there’s no basis in the special-counsel regulations to appoint one for counterintelligence? You say the Justice Department does not appoint prosecutors for counterintelligence investigations, which are the FBI’s bailiwick? So what? The special-counsel regulations expressly say that they create no enforceable rights enabling anyone to challenge the Justice Department’s flouting of them. Rosenstein knew he could ignore the rules and there was not a thing anyone could do about it.So instead of a prosecutor investigating a crime of conspiracy, we have a bloated staff of prosecutors gathering intelligence about “collusion”: Every contact between anyone connected to Trump and anyone connected to Russia.Some of this could be valuable information. That brings us back to that August 2016 meeting Andrew Weissman was talking about, between Trump’s campaign chairman and a suspected Russian intelligence operative. Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman, had high-level contacts and conducted multi-million-dollar business with oligarchs close to the Kremlin. Konstantin Kilimnik, his partner in Kiev, certainly is suspected of having a “relationship with Russian intelligence,” as Weissmann obliquely put it in the court session.That “relationship,” however, goes back to the early 1990s, when the Soviet Union fell and the United States was quite content to do business with lots of people who had “relationships” with Russian intelligence, the Kremlin, and even the Communist party. One of Kilimnik’s first jobs when he left the Russian military was to work for the International Republican Institute -- the democracy-promoting enterprise that Senator John McCain ran for over 20 years. Kilimnik started there as a translator -- hired for the skills he’d learned at the military academy that prepared translators for service in Russian intelligence. It didn’t seem to bother anyone -- by the early 2000’s, Kilimnik was running the IRI’s Moscow office.My point is not to defend Kilimnik. Not only has Mueller already him indicted for witness-tampering conspiracy in Manafort’s case (a charge to which Manafort has pled guilty). Kilimnik also hovers as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case of Samuel Patten, a lobbyist friend of Manafort’s who has pled guilty in a separate Justice Department case to being an unregistered agent of Ukraine and to violating the prohibition against foreign contributions to political campaigns -- enabling Kilimnik and two Ukrainian oligarchs to donate to the Trump presidential-inaugural committee and attend the inauguration festivities.The point is that if we are going to obsess over collusion rather than the actual crime of conspiracy, then we need to evaluate the Russian contacts of Trump associates in the context of everyone who has interacted with Russia in the last quarter-century. Under administrations of both parties, Washington has maintained that post-Soviet Russia was a perfectly fine country to partner with and do business with. Did the Trump campaign hope to tap Kremlin-connected sources for campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton? That seems undeniable. But it is not a crime per se. How does it rank on the scale of unsavory political behavior? You’d have to compare it to, for example, Democratic-party entreaties to the Kremlin -- back when the Russians were our Cold War Soviet antagonist -- for help in the campaigns against Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan.I did not like candidate Donald Trump’s blandishments toward the Putin regime. It was part of why Trump was closer to the bottom than the top of my preferred GOP candidates. I thought his performance as president in the meeting with Putin in Helsinki was appalling. But we are talking here about policy disputes. Trump has a right to be wrong, even seriously wrong, on a policy matter. That does not make him a Russian agent.If members of Trump’s campaign were corruptly selling accommodations (such as sanctions relief) to Russia, then by all means prosecute them to the full extent of the law. But if the campaign was exploring whether sanctions relief could be traded for Russian actions in America’s interests -- just as Obama told us sanctions relief for Iran was being bargained in exchange for what he claimed were advances of America’s interests -- that might have been wrong-headed or naïve, but it wasn’t criminal.Apparently Senator Burr thinks of “collusion” as criminal conspiracy, and he thus realizes that there was not one. Special Counsel Mueller, by contrast, has been unleashed to probe collusion not just in the form of criminal conspiracy, but in whatever form: All manner of contacts with a regime that, just the blink of an eye ago, President Obama was mocking Mitt Romney for regarding as a geopolitical foe, even as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton helped Moscow build its version of Silicon Valley -- notwithstanding Defense Department and FBI worries that we were thus improving their military and cyber capabilities.What is “collusion,” then? Increasingly, it looks like the criminalization of policy disputes.
02/16/2019 - 06:30 AM
'Forever haunted' Parkland mourns a year after shooting
School buses brought only a handful of students to a shortened class day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a former student with an assault gun killed 17 people on Feb. 14, 2018. "As men and women of faith, we stand with you Parkland, painful Parkland, profound Parkland, powerful Parkland," said David Hughes, the lead pastor at Church by the Glades in Coral Springs. "In the name of a living God, we say together never, never, never, never again." Leaders of March for Our Lives, a national student movement formed in the aftermath of the Parkland tragedy to fight gun violence, were not in the spotlight, having noted they would "go dark" or cease most communications during the anniversary.
02/14/2019 - 08:25 PM
United Airlines: Three new routes for fast-growing Denver hub
United Airlines will add three new domestic routes at its Denver hub, all of which will go head-to-head against budget rival Frontier Airlines.
02/15/2019 - 10:17 AM
The U.S. Navy Just Bought Four Giant, Robot Submarines from Boeing
Orca could help to fill a yawning gap in the American submarine fleet. In December 2016, the U.S. Navy announced it needed 66 nuclear-powered attack subs, or SSNs, to meet regional commanders' needs.
02/14/2019 - 11:00 PM
Los Angeles police fatally shoot man at busy train station
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man armed with a knife was shot and killed by police at a downtown train station during the morning rush hour Thursday, Los Angeles police said.
02/14/2019 - 03:25 PM
This Year’s Flu Shot Was Far More Effective Than Last Year's. Here’s Why
The CDC just released its latest numbers
02/14/2019 - 01:00 PM
Watch a space harpoon impale a piece of space debris
The U.S. government tracks 500,000 chunks and bits of space junk as they hurtle around Earth. Some 20,000 of these objects are larger than a softball.To clean up the growing mess, scientists at the University of Surrey have previously tested a net to catch chunks of debris. Now, they've successfully tested out a harpoon.The video below, released Friday by the university's space center, shows a test of the experimental RemoveDEBRIS satellite as it unleashes a harpoon at a piece of solar panel, held out on a 1.5-meter boom.The harpoon clearly impales its target. "This is RemoveDEBRIS' most demanding experiment and the fact that it was a success is testament to all involved," Guglielmo Aglietti, director of the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey, said in a statement. Next, the RemoveDEBRIS team -- made up of a group of international collaborators -- is planning its final experiment: responsibly destroying the satellite.In March, the RemoveDEBRIS satellite will "inflate a sail that will drag the satellite into Earth's atmosphere where it will be destroyed," the university said a statement. This is how the group intends to vaporize the future dangerous debris it catches. SEE ALSO: Trump fails to block NASA's carbon sleuth from going to spaceHuman space debris hurtles around Earth faster than a speeding bullet, with debris often traveling at 17,500 mph, or faster. The threat of collisions is always present, though in some orbits the odds of an impact are significantly lower than others. The International Space Station, for instance, is in a relatively debris-free orbit, but even here there is the threat of "natural debris" -- micrometeors -- pummeling the space station.Other orbits have considerably more debris spinning around Earth. In 2009, a derelict Russian satellite slammed into a functional Iridium telecommunication satellite at 26,000 mph, resulting in an estimated 200,000 bits of debris. In 2007, the Chinese launched a missile at an old weather satellite, spraying shrapnel into Earth's orbit.This risk amplifies as more satellites are rocketed into space. SpaceX now has government-approved plans to launch thousands of its Starlink satellites into orbit -- perhaps by the mid-2020's, should they amass money for the pricey program. This would double or triple the number of satellites in orbit."It is unprecedented," said Kessler, NASA's former senior scientist for orbital debris research told Mashable. "The sheer number, that's the problem."Kessler has long warned about the potential of catastrophic chain reactions in Earth's orbit, wherein one collision creates enough weaponized debris to create a cycle of destruction. Designs to harpoon dangerous chunks of debris are just being tested in space today, but the technology could prove critical as Earth's orbit grows increasingly trafficked with large, metallic satellites. WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?
02/15/2019 - 11:52 AM
BofA Says a ‘Real’ Trade Deal Could Vault S&P 500 to Record High
The firm’s model on corporate earnings and equity valuations suggests that the market has priced in “a partial deal,” one where only some of the issues get resolved in favor of corporate America, according to strategists led by Savita Subramanian. In a best-case scenario, the S&P 500 could climb 5 percent to 10 percent when a “real deal” is struck. Companies from 3M Co. to Stanley Black & Decker Inc. have slashed their guidance this year, citing either trade tensions or weakening demand in China.
02/15/2019 - 01:23 PM
Netanyahu tones down bellicose Iran talk - in English
Israel's prime minister's office has quitely toned down talk by Benjamin Netanyahu of a shared interest with Arab states in "war" with Iran, replacing the word with "combating" in its English-language transcript. Netanyahu made the comments on Wednesday on the sidelines of an international conference in Warsaw organised by Washington to discuss Iran and the region, and attended by the foreign ministers of a raft of Gulf Arab states. Netanyahu and his US ally have sought to play up the rare public appearance of senior Arab officials at a common forum with an Israeli prime minister.
02/14/2019 - 08:05 AM
US senate passes border bill as Trump prepares to declare national emergency
The US Senate has passed a major spending bill that would effectively avoid another federal government shutdown, sending the legislation to the president’s desk for a signature. Now, the only question is whether Donald Trump intends to sign it. The bipartisan measure is the product of weeks of negotiations after the longest government shutdown in history, in which Mr Trump demanded billions of dollars towards his campaign promise of building a wall sprawling across the entirety of the US-Mexico border.
02/14/2019 - 05:01 PM
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