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Tulsi Gabbard is suing Hillary Clinton for more than $50 million in damages following Clinton’s suggestion that she was Russia’s favored candidate to win the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.The defamation lawsuit, which was made public Wednesday morning, claims the former presidential candidate permanently damaged the Hawaii congresswoman’s reputation by describing her as a “Russian asset.”Clinton made the controversial remarks on the podcast Campaign HQ With David Plouffe back in October, when she said: “I’m not making any predictions, but I think they [Russia] have got their eye on someone who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians.”In the key remarks to the lawsuit, Clinton added: “That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she’s also a Russian asset. Yeah, she’s a Russian asset—I mean, totally.” It's not clear from the quotes whether Clinton was referring to Gabbard, Stein, or both.The suit claims Clinton’s statements caused Gabbard to “lose potential donors and potential voters,” and estimated that the personal and professional damages to her exceed $50 million.More to follow...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.
An American journalist is facing up to five years in an Indonesian jail and a fine on charges of violating immigration regulations, a lawyer and officials said Wednesday. Philip Jacobson of California was detained Tuesday in Palangkaraya city on Borneo island. The government has promised to ease visa restrictions for international media since President Joko Widodo took office in 2014.
Islamic militants in Nigeria have killed a Christian pastor who had pleaded for his life in a video just days earlier, and a human rights activist said Tuesday that other extremists attacked his hometown on the same day. The Rev. Lawan Andimi was abducted earlier this month when Boko Haram militants attacked the Michika local government area, where he was the chairman of a local chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria. “I am greatly saddened by the fact that the terrorists went on to kill him even while giving signals of a willingness to set him free by releasing him to third parties,” Buhari tweeted.
The outcome of the Senate's impeachment trial of President Trump is not in doubt. The president is going to be acquitted, most likely by a party-line vote.There's not even a lot of suspense about how the trial will be conducted. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) can rail all he wants about the unfairness of the rules, as he did on Tuesday. Rep. Adam Schiff of (D-Calif.) can declare, as he also did (somewhat absurdly) on the opening day of the Senate trial, that procedural votes about whether to call witnesses and subpoena documents are more important than the eventual vote about whether, for the first time in American history, the Senate will convict and remove a president from office. But the outcome has been clear from the beginning.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is running the show, he's a rabidly partisan Republican, and he's a master of using the upper chamber's arcane rules, procedures, and history to achieve the outcomes he wants. McConnell wanted decisions about witnesses and supporting documents to be tabled until after the lengthy opening statements that will take up much of the next week, and that's exactly what he's gotten. When the Senate returns to the subject, how likely is it that the outcome will be different? Barring some earthshaking revelation in the House managers' opening statement, not very.But then what exactly are we doing? Is the entire impeachment a Kabuki show where each side pantomimes outrage, gestures at existential threats to the republic, and then votes exactly the way they would have done before the whole performance got underway?In all respects but one, that may in fact be the case. And that might not be such a bad thing.Trump's actions have been clear from the moment in mid-September when the White House released a (modified) readout of his notorious July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, and any lingering uncertainties have been cleared up by witnesses who testified in the House's impeachment inquiry. Trump wanted Zelensky to publicly announce that Ukraine was opening an investigation of his most formidable political rival for reelection, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter Biden — and Trump placed a hold on aid to Ukraine in order to get what he wanted. That's an act of extortion, using (and abusing) the powers of the presidency to give Trump a personal political advantage.I think that clearly warrants impeachment and removal from office, and nearly all Democrats in the House and Senate appear to think the same thing. But Republicans don't agree — or at least they say they don't. And that's where the one bit of genuine uncertainty hanging over the Senate trial comes in.The trial isn't really about the facts, which have been established. It concerns a matter of judgment about those facts. "How bad is X?" We have ample reason to suspect that large numbers of Senate Republicans are disgusted with Trump. Many of them have been from the beginning, and what he was trying to do with Ukraine turns their stomachs, for all kinds of reasons: It offends their patriotism, their sense of the rules of political fair play, and their policy commitment to support Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia.But here's the thing: This disgust doesn't at all mean they will turn on Trump, which would also mean turning on his supporters in the Republican electorate. They are no more likely to do this now than party leaders were willing to adjust the rules during the 2016 primaries to ensure Trump couldn't become the GOP nominee, or to move against him at the Republican National Convention that summer, or to undertake a kamikaze mission to ensure his defeat in the general election that fall. All that's changed between then and now is that Trump's power over the party's voters and its institutional apparatus is far more complete. There will be no "come to Jesus" moments of mass conversion in the Senate over the coming days and weeks. To believe otherwise at this point is to succumb to fantasy.But this doesn't mean that what Republican Senators say about Trump when the trial comes to a close has been determined. They aren't going to vote to convict and remove him. But some of them may well be willing to state what many of them feel, which is that what Trump did and was trying to do with Ukraine was wrong, even if it doesn't warrant booting him out of the White House, especially when there's an election less than 10 months away. That falls about 1,000 miles short of what Democrats want, but it's not nothing.On the contrary, it's quite a lot compared to the alternative, which Trump himself clearly prefers. From the start of this whole sordid episode, the president has insisted that his July phone call with Zelensky was "perfect." Indeed, that deranged conviction appears to have been what led the White House to release its incriminating readout of the conversation. The president has no intention of conceding an inch of ground on the matter, and he is demanding that members of his party line up behind him in expressing fulsome support for his efforts to strongarm a vastly weaker country into digging up dirt on his domestic political rival. Trump wants Senate Republicans to kneel before him in a gratuitous display of abject fealty.That aim was obvious on Tuesday, as members of Trump's legal team took the position that the president did nothing at all wrong in his dealings with Ukraine and was merely a victim of a procedurally reckless witch hunt undertaken by bloodthirsty Democrats. If that continues, Senate Republicans will find themselves backed into a corner, pushed by the momentum of the White House's arguments to affirm that Trump is entirely innocent of wrongdoing.Will Republicans go along with being railroaded? Or will they stay by the president's side when it comes time for a verdict but make a point of stating the truth of the matter on the record — that Donald Trump crossed a serious line that he and those who follow him at the head of the executive branch should never come close to crossing again? Former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman (D) said something analogous about Bill Clinton's actions during his impeachment in 1999, and even worked to persuade his colleagues to entertain a formal censure of the president. That should be the realistic standard to which Senate Republicans are held today.Whether at least some members of the president's own party can be convinced to rise up to meet that standard may be the only thing we don't know about the outcome of Trump's impeachment trial.Want more essential commentary and analysis like this delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for The Week's "Today's best articles" newsletter here.More stories from theweek.com Seattle is letting everyone vote via smartphone in a local election Rep. Hakeem Jeffries explains Trump's impeachment to Trump's lawyers, drops in Biggie Smalls reference Late night hosts suspect Trump's Senate GOP impeachment jury can't handle the truth, or the strict rules
Trump impeachment trial: Republicans block witnesses and evidence while insisting president is 'a man of his word'
The Republican-controlled US Senate has voted along party lines to approve the rules of Donald Trump‘s impeachment trial, rejecting Democratic efforts to obtain evidence and ensure witnesses are heard.The third presidential impeachment trial in American history began with a marathon session of nearly 13 hours on Tuesday, as rancorous debate about the terms of proceedings stretched out until nearly 2am in Washington (7am UK time).
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have teamed up to work on drafting potential contours for negotiations with Tehran over the country’s nuclear programming and a roadmap for a new deal, according to Graham and two other congressional aides familiar with the matter.“I’ve been working with Senator Menendez on this for some time,” Graham told The Daily Beast in an interview last week. “We need a new way forward. And I’ve been trying to think of alternatives.”Graham told The Daily Beast in an interview in August that he was working with senior Trump administration officials on an alternative to the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal. Part of that effort included fielding ideas from outside actors, including foreign officials. Since then, Graham has met with Menendez—although only a few times—on how to kickstart a bipartisan congressional effort to reform the administration’s Iran policy.According to sources individuals familiar with the Graham-Menendez partnership, the two senators have largely talked about constructing an actionable plan to present to other lawmakers and to the White House. But the two sides have yet to agree on exactly how to get the ball rolling, according to those sources. One individual said Menendez wanted to work with Graham because the South Carolina lawmaker had gained the president’s ear on Iran over the last year.Although the duo has spoken about teaming up for some time, sources say the lawmakers are focused now more than ever on crafting a new deal following the killing of Iran’s top military leader, Qassem Soleimani. Following the strike, Democrats in the Senate, including Menendez, called out senior officials in the Trump administration for not offering proper intelligence briefings to Congress on what led to the strike. Menendez told MSNBC earlier this month that the administration suggested in briefings there was an imminent threat to American interests but that there was “no clear definition of what they consider imminent.”The senator also called on the administration to declassify the official notification provided to Congress about the Soleimani strike.Graham, on the other hand, applauded President Trump and told The Daily Beast that the administration should continue to keep the military option on the table if Iran were to continue to threaten American interests in the Middle East. Graham suggested the U.S. strike Iranian oil assets in the country, pointing to refineries in particular. Menendez, on the other hand, has urged the administration to up its diplomatic outreach following the strike rather than continue to rely on its military might.Despite their division on Trump’s decision to strike Soleimani, both lawmakers opposed the Obama administration’s 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.“I have looked into my own soul, and my devotion to principle may once again lead me to an unpopular course, but if Iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, it will not have my name on it,” Menendez said in a 2015 speech. “It is for these reasons that I will vote to disapprove the agreement and, if called upon, would vote to override a veto.”At the time of the deal’s proposal in 2015, Menendez advocated that the Obama administration continue to levy sanctions on Iran in order to change Tehran’s behavior and keep it from eventually obtaining a nuclear weapon. Although Graham’s and Menendez’s public statements on Iran have varied, both lawmakers seem to agree on one point: The Trump administration’s strategy isn’t working.Since Trump took office, Menendez has criticized the Trump administration’s Iran strategy as only emboldening Tehran. And while Graham tends to support Trump publicly, the South Carolina lawmaker has been openly critical of how the White House responds to Iran’s malign activities in the region.In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, Graham said the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign—meant to cripple Iran’s economy with sanctions—was working but needed to be harsher and combined with military deterrence. Team Trump Thought It Could Contain Iran With ‘Maximum Pressure.’ The Attacks Got Worse.Before the Soleimani strike, Iran policy experts, some of whom worked with the Obama administration, said Tehran would not engage in talks about a revised nuclear deal unless the U.S. rolled back at least some of its sanctions on the country. Now those experts say Tehran, having rolled back its commitments under the former deal, is not likely to engage in any meaningful conversation with the U.S. on nuclear power, at least in the short term.Meanwhile, two officials in the Treasury Department say their unit is continuously drawing up additional sanctions for Iran on the chance Trump wants to hit the country with additional punishments in the near future.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
The emergence of a deadly new virus in China has ignited fresh anger in neighbouring Taiwan about how the island has been squeezed out of international bodies, including the World Health Organization. Modern Taiwan has been a de facto sovereign nation for the last seven decades and has emerged as one of Asia's most progressive democracies. Taiwan has been denied access to the World Health Assembly (WHA) -- the WHO's main meeting -- since 2017 under pressure from Beijing which loathes the island's current president Tsai Ing-wen, who won a landslide second term earlier this month.
Hong Kong's government is on high alert to deal with a new flu-like coronavirus that has killed nine people in mainland China, the city's commerce secretary, Edward Yau, said on Wednesday. The outbreak has rattled financial markets as investors recall the huge impact of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed nearly 800 people globally during a 2002/03 outbreak that also started in China. Yau is part of a delegation on a mission to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos to convince global business and political leaders that the Asian financial hub is back on track after more than seven months of protests, even as it faces a potentially more damaging crisis.
Chief Justice Roberts admonishes impeachment managers and Trump team, reminds them to 'remember where they are'
Things got testy in the Senate chamber early Wednesday morning, with Chief Justice John Roberts admonishing both the impeachment managers and President Trump's legal team for their sharp words.It started when Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) argued in support of an amendment seeking to subpoena former National Security Adviser John Bolton. During the House impeachment investigation, Bolton said he would fight a subpoena, but then changed his tune, saying he would testify in the Senate trial if ordered to do so. Nadler said Trump and his allies "are afraid to hear" from Bolton "because they know he knows too much," and "only guilty people try to hide the evidence."Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow loudly responded, banging the podium and accusing Nadler of attempting to "shred the Constitution on the floor of the Senate." White House Counsel Pat Cipollone told Nadler he owed Trump, his family, the Senate, and every American "an apology." When it was once again his turn to speak, Nadler scoffed at the Trump team saying he wasn't being truthful. "President's counsel has no standing to talk about lying," he said.After they were finished, Roberts said he felt it was "appropriate for me to admonish both the house managers and the president's counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world's greatest deliberative body. One reason it has earned that title is because its members avoid speaking in a manner and using language that is not conducive to civil discourse." He then brought up a 1905 impeachment trial of a judge, where a manager objected to the term "pettifogging." Roberts said while he doesn't "think we need to aspire to that high a standard ... I think those addressing the Senate should remember where they are." The amendment to subpoena Bolton, like all others before it, was voted down along party lines, 53-47. Pettifogging, by the way, means "placing undue emphasis on petty details."More stories from theweek.com White House budget office releases heavily redacted Ukraine emails as Senate rejects OMB subpoenas Rep. Hakeem Jeffries explains Trump's impeachment to Trump's lawyers, drops in Biggie Smalls reference After rejecting amendments, Senate adopts impeachment trial rules
Trevor Noah Drags Hillary Clinton for Slamming Bernie Sanders: ‘This Is Not the Time to Reopen Old Wounds’
“Hillary Clinton is back in the news—and this time, she’s coming for Bernie [Sanders],” said The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah Tuesday night. Yes, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter to promote her upcoming 4-hour Hulu docuseries, which is bowing this week at the Sundance Film Festival, the former secretary of state hit out at the Vermont senator’s “Bernie Bro” supporters, wouldn’t commit to backing him or campaigning on his behalf against Trump if he were the Dem nominee (she later said she would), and said of Sanders in the doc: “He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.” That Hillary Clinton, a career politician and one of the most divisive political figures of our time, accused Bernie Sanders of being a “career politician” and unlikable is, well, pretty astonishing—as is the claim that she wouldn’t support him as the nominee over Trump, thereby prioritizing petty jealousies over the fate of the country. Bill Maher Warns of ‘Civil War’ If Democrats Don’t Embrace Trump Supporters“Hillary, what are you doing?!” exclaimed Noah. “The election is just about to begin and now you’re coming out throwing punches? This is not the time to reopen old wounds. You can just say, ‘As Democrats, we always support our nominee,’ and then go home and punch that bag you have with Bernie’s face on it.” “What does that even mean? Hillary won’t support Bernie? So, if he’s the nominee, who else is she going to campaign for? Trump?!” the comic continued. “Actually, I’d love to see that, I won’t lie. That would be amazing if Trump was just up there like, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my friend: Crooked Hillary!’ Hillary comes out and goes, ‘Hello everybody! Lock me up! Lock me up!’” Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Emmanuel Macron begins a visit to Jerusalem on Wednesday with a symbolic stop at one of France's territories in the Holy Land aiming to avoid controversies of past presidents, while underscoring Paris' historical influence in the region. The two-day visit, which includes political meetings to discuss Iran tensions and the peace process with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, head of opposition Benny Gantz and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, culminates in commemorations marking the 75 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp. Arriving through the Old City's Lion gate in East Jerusalem, Macron will pay a visit to the Church of St. Anne, where the French tricolor has fluttered since the Ottomans gave it to Emperor Napoleon III in 1856 as thanks for his support during the Crimean War.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen called on China on Wednesday to share "correct" information about a new coronavirus and for the World Health Organisation (WHO) not to exclude Taiwan from collaboration on the outbreak for political reasons. Authorities have confirmed more than 400 cases of the virus in China, most of them in the central city of Wuhan where the virus first appeared at the end of 2019. The virus, which health officials have said can be passed from person to person, has spread to cities including Beijing and Shanghai, with cases have been confirmed in Thailand, South Korea, Japan, as well as Taiwan.