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

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

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 hi

Poland seizes two for plotting Breivik-style attacks on Muslims

Poland seizes two for plotting Breivik-style attacks on Muslims

Polish agents arrested two people accused of planning attacks against Muslims inspired by Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik and suspected white supremacist Brenton Tarrant in New Zealand, the security service said on Wednesday. The arrests follow a spate of attacks involving white supremacists targeting ethnic and religious minorities across the globe. Far-right groups have grown in strength in Poland, the largest of the European Union's post-communist state

William Taylor laughs at GOP question if Giuliani channel was 'as outlandish as it could be'

William Taylor laughs at GOP question if Giuliani channel was 'as outlandish as it could be'

Republican counsel Steve Castor came to Wednesday's impeachment hearing with a curious line of questioning: could something extremely unusual have, theoretically, been even more unusual?Castor, the lawyer who questioned diplomat William Taylor on behalf of House Republicans during the public impeachment hearing, asked about what Taylor had previously described as a "confusing and unusual arrangement for making U.S. policy toward Ukraine" in the Trump administration, with there being a secondary, "highly irregular" channel including Rudy Giuliani operating outside of formal diplomatic processes.But Castor's apparent defense of this irregular channel is that it could have, in theory, been more irregular."In fairness, this irregular channel of diplomacy, it's not as outlandish as it could be," Castor said to Taylor. "Is that correct?"Taylor laughed at this question while agreeing that, well, sure, it "could be" more outlandish. But the line of questioning didn't go quite as Castor likely planned. After Castor tried to get Taylor to say that U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland's involvement in the secondary channel also was "certainly not outlandish," Taylor didn't exactly agree, responding that it's "a little unusual for the U.S. ambassador to the EU to play a role in Ukraine policy.""Okay," Castor said, making one more attempt by asking, "It might be irregular, but it's certainly not outlandish." This time, a seemingly baffled but amused Taylor just smiled. > "This irregular channel of diplomacy is not as outlandish as it could be, is that correct?" GOP counsel asks William Taylor. > > Taylor agrees, but adds, "It's a little unusual for the US ambassador to EU to play a role in Ukraine policy." https://t.co/YHsiIaIXhs pic.twitter.com/Vp6mO6PhvF> > -- ABC News (@ABC) November 13, 2019More stories from theweek.com The coming death of just about every rock legend The president has already confessed to his crimes Why are 2020 Democrats so weir

Court rules against warrantless searches of phones, laptops

Court rules against warrantless searches of phones, laptops

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 yea

Feud Between Trump Advisers Underscores a White House Torn by Rivalries

Feud Between Trump Advisers Underscores a White House Torn by Rivalries

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's chief of staff and former national security adviser clashed in court Monday. Two new books describe how top aides to the president secretly plotted to circumvent him. And nearly every day brings more testimony about the deep internal schism over the president's effort to pressure Ukraine for domestic political help.In the three years since his election, Trump has never been accused of running a cohesive, unified team. But the revelations of recent days have put on display perhaps more starkly than ever the fissures tearing at his administration. In the emerging picture, the Trump White House is a toxic stew of personality disputes, policy differences, political rivalries, ethical debates and a fundamental rift over the president himself.The fault lines were most clearly evident Monday when Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, abruptly withdrew his effort to join a lawsuit over impeachment testimony after a sharp collision with his onetime colleague John Bolton, the former national security adviser. Mulvaney retreated only hours after a lawyer for Bolton and his former deputy, Charles Kupperman, went to court arguing that his clients wanted nothing to do with the staff chief because they had vastly different interests.In withdrawing his motion, Mulvaney indicated that he would now press his own lawsuit to determine whether to comply with a subpoena to testify in the House impeachment inquiry. But it left him at odds with the president, who has ordered his team not to cooperate with the House, an order Mulvaney essentially has refused to accept as other administration officials have until he receives separate guidance from a judge.Mulvaney's lawyers emphasized that he was not trying to oppose Trump, maintaining that he was actually trying to sue House Democrats, and an administration official who insisted on anonymity said there was "no distance" between the president and his chief of staff. Still, Mulvaney hired his own lawyer instead of relying on the White House counsel, and he consciously made clear that he was open to testifying if left to his own devices.The situation underscored long-standing enmity between Mulvaney and the counsel, Pat Cipollone, who have repeatedly been at odds throughout the impeachment inquiry, according to four administration officials briefed on the events.Mulvaney, who has been left with an "acting" title for more than 10 months and therefore insecure in his position, is said to see Cipollone as angling for his job as chief of staff. People close to Cipollone deny that and say he is not interested, although they acknowledged that there were previous discussions with Trump about such a shift.Hoping to bolster his own place in the White House, Mulvaney has recommended to Trump that he hire Mark Paoletta, the general counsel at the Office of Management and Budget, where Mulvaney is still technically the director, according to people familiar with the maneuvering. Paoletta would not displace Cipollone but would give Mulvaney an ally on the legal team as the impeachment battle plays out.Another person familiar with the latest moves said that Paoletta was considered but that West Wing officials decided they were pleased with the hiring of Pam Bondi, a former attorney general of Florida, and Tony Sayegh, a Republican strategist, both of whom began full time this week.The latest personnel struggle echoed an attempt by Mulvaney several weeks ago to hire former Rep. Trey Gowdy, a fellow South Carolina Republican, to join the president's legal team. Cipollone and others were said to take issue with the idea, concerned it was an effort by Mulvaney to run his own legal team. Cipollone told allies he had no such concerns, but eventually, Gowdy bowed out, facing an issue with a ban on former House members lobbying Congress.Despite his own tenuous job status, Mulvaney has privately told associates in recent days that there is no easy way for Trump to fire him in the midst of the impeachment fight, the implication being that he knows too much about the president's pressure campaign to force Ukraine to provide incriminating information about Democrats.The court fight between Mulvaney and Bolton on Monday brought their long-running feud into the open. Mulvaney was among those facilitating the Ukraine effort while Bolton was among those objecting to it. At one point, according to testimony in the impeachment inquiry, Bolton declared that he wanted no part of the "drug deal" Mulvaney was cooking up, as the then national security adviser characterized the pressure campaign.Their clash was just one of many inside Trump's circle spilling out into public in recent days. The legal conflict Monday came just a day before Nikki Haley, the president's former ambassador to the United Nations, plans to publish a memoir accusing Trump's former secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and former chief of staff, John Kelly, of conspiring behind his back while in office. Her account in effect is a mirror image of another book coming out this month by an anonymous senior administration official describing how concerned aides mounted their own internal resistance to Trump.Kelly disputed Haley in a statement Sunday and Tillerson added his own refutation Monday. "During my service to our country as the secretary of state, at no time did I, nor to my direct knowledge did anyone else serving along with me, take any actions to undermine the president," Tillerson said in a statement.While he offered Trump frank advice, he said, once the president made a decision, he did his best to carry it out. "Ambassador Haley was rarely a participant in my many meetings and is not in a position to know what I may or may not have said to the president," Tillerson added.Tillerson was never enamored of Haley when they were both in office, seeing her as a rival trying to upstage him and run foreign policy from her perch at the United Nations. Haley's portrayal of herself fighting off Trump's internal enemies was met Monday with scoffs from several administration officials, who said they were aware of little evidence to back up her self-description. But a former senior administration official who witnessed some of the interactions Haley had with the president described her as heavily involved with policy.The books are being published at the same time new transcripts are released by the House documenting how Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and a coterie of allies, including Mulvaney, sought to sideline career diplomats and other foreign policy officials who warned against enlisting Ukraine to help the president's personal political interests.The dispute pitted one part of Trump's administration against another in a struggle over foreign policy that now has the president on the precipice of being impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.The lawsuit that Mulvaney sought to join was filed by Kupperman, a longtime associate of Bolton, and asked a court to decide whether Kupperman should obey the president's dictate to stay silent or a House subpoena to testify.While not technically a party to the lawsuit, Bolton, who left his post in September after clashing with Trump, is represented by the same lawyer, Charles Cooper, and is taking the same position as Kupperman in waiting for the court to decide whether he should testify or not.Mulvaney's effort to join the lawsuit late Friday night stunned many involved in the impeachment debate because he still works for the president. Mulvaney did not ask Bolton or Kupperman for permission to join the lawsuit nor did he give them a heads up. Bolton and his team considered it an outrageous move since they were on opposite sides of the Ukraine fight and did not want their lawsuit polluted with Mulvaney.Not only did the motion filed Monday by Bolton's camp seek to keep Mulvaney out of the lawsuit, it even advanced an argument that the acting chief of staff may have to testify before House impeachment investigators. The motion noted that in a briefing with reporters last month, Mulvaney appeared "to admit that there was a quid pro quo" before later trying to take back the admission, meaning that he might not have the right to defy a House subpoena since he had already discussed the matter in public."Accordingly, there is a serious question as to whether Mulvaney waived the absolute testimonial immunity claimed by the president," the motion said.Mulvaney's lawyers rejected that. "The idea that Mr. Mulvaney has somehow waived broad immunity by speaking about this" at a briefing "doesn't have any legs," Christopher Muha, one of the lawyers, told the judge in the case Monday afternoon, according to a transcript of a conference call released by the court.Nonetheless, Judge Richard Leon, of the U.S. District for the District of Columbia, indicated at the end of the call that he was inclined to reject Mulvaney's request to join the suit. Mulvaney then withdrew it and said he would file his own separate action.The motion filed by Bolton's camp noted that Kupperman does not take a position on who is right, the president or Congress, and "will remain neutral on the merits of the constitutional issue," while Mulvaney "has made it clear that he supports the executive" branch interpretation.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Compa

Delhi smog hits 'emergency' levels as Britain's Prince Charles visits

Delhi smog hits 'emergency' levels as Britain's Prince Charles visits

New Delhi has been choked on and off for weeks, as industrial and traffic pollution -- combined with smoke from crop stubble burning -- cast a toxic pall over the metropolis. With the government facing new criticism over steps taken to counter the pollution, Prince Charles visited the Indian Meteorology Department as part of his two-day visit to Indi

Israel targets Islamic Jihad leadership, sending message to Iran

Israel targets Islamic Jihad leadership, sending message to Iran

Israel on Tuesday targeted two senior commanders from the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, killing one in the Gaza Strip and missing the second in Syria as it stepped up its battle against Iran and its proxies across the region. The death of Bahaa Abu el-Atta and his wife as they slept in their home in eastern Gaza set off the heaviest fighting in months between Israel and Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed militant group that is even more hard-line than Gaza’s Hamas ruler

'Viva Felipe!': Communist-run Cuba welcomes Spanish king

'Viva Felipe!': Communist-run Cuba welcomes Spanish king

With cries of "Viva Felipe!" and "Viva Espana!" Cubans greeted King Felipe in Old Havana, the first state visit ever by a Spanish monarch to Cuba, Spain's former colony turned Communist-run nation. Earlier in the day, Felipe and his wife Letizia laid flowers at the monument in Havana to Jose Marti, a symbol of Cuba's struggle for independence from Spain, before meeting with President Miguel Diaz-Canel in the Palace of the Revolutio

Study: Half Europe’s unauthorized migrants in Germany, UK

Study: Half Europe’s unauthorized migrants in Germany, UK

At least 3.9 million unauthorized migrants — and possibly as many as 4.8 million — lived in Europe in 2017 with half of them in Germany and the United Kingdom, according to a study published Wednesday. The Pew Research Center said the number grew from 2014, when about 3-3.7 million resided in Europe, and peaked in 2015-16 during the refugee crisis when some 1.3 million people arrived, mostly from war-torn countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, the European Union and Turkey signed a deal designed to keep millions of migrants in Turkey from coming to Europe, and many asylum seekers, especially Syrians, received asylum or residency rights in Germany and other European countrie

Nikki Haley’s Damning Defense of Trump

Nikki Haley’s Damning Defense of Trump

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Nikki Haley, President Donald Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations, has made news twice during her book tour. She has said that Trump should not be impeached “for asking for a favor that didn’t happen” and for holding up aid that was eventually delivered to Ukraine. And she has said that former administration officials Rex Tillerson and John Kelly asked her to join them in resisting the president from within. She says she rejected the idea because it would have meant subverting the Constitution.In both cases, Haley disappointed opponents of Trump who had hoped, or imagined, that she was one of them. Her remarks show that she has thrown in her lot with the president. But there is a tension between her comments, and it mirrors the tension of working in this administration.On the one hand, Haley insists that it’s a constitutional duty for the president’s will to be followed. On the other hand, it’s a constitutional excuse for him that his will wasn’t followed. When Kelly, who served as chief of staff, and Tillerson, Trump’s first secretary of state, second-guess the president, they are usurping power our Constitution gave him. But when the president issues a command, sometimes it’s really more of a suggestion.Trump’s underlings have certainly been willing to treat his wishes as idle talk before, and sometimes even to defy him. Their insubordination has kept Trump out of trouble before, too. As the report from special prosecutor Robert Mueller detailed, former White House counsel Don McGahn refused to fire Mueller when Trump directed him to do so. If McGahn had obeyed, Trump would likely have faced an earlier and more bipartisan impeachment.Was McGahn, by Haley’s standards, serving Trump or undermining him? What about the reports that Trump has sometimes urged aides to break laws and promised to pardon them afterward? The aides decided to treat those remarks as a “joke.” Assuming Haley believes these reports, were these aides, too, acting illegitimately?One way of trying to get around this dilemma would be to assume that some presidential directives are serious and others are just venting or jesting. Haley has gestured toward this possibility, telling the Washington Post that “there was no heavy demand insisting that something had to happen” when Trump asked for a Ukrainian investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. As far as we can tell from what Haley has told us, though, Kelly and Tillerson may have had the same idea. Maybe they just wanted officials to err on the side of construing Trump’s orders as “light” demands.Haley is right to be uncomfortable about presidential aides seeing themselves as checks on their boss. She’s right, too, that defiance raises a constitutional concern. Article II vests executive power in the president, not in his aides. The aides, who were not elected, have to be accountable to the president who was. It can’t be the other way around.But this president has chosen, or defaulted to, a different mode of governance. He either tolerates a high degree of insubordination or has not figured out a way of squelching it. When his appointees anger him, he often vents about it on Twitter instead of firing them.No wonder Haley’s remarks sound so dissonant. The president has created a working environment in which either following his orders or not following them is a threat to the proper functioning of the government. Even the most highly accomplished diplomat could not resolve this tension, which may help explain why Haley, like Tillerson and Kelly, is no longer in the Trump administration.To contact the author of this story: Ramesh Ponnuru at rponnuru@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Ramesh Ponnuru is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a senior editor at National Review, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and contributor to CBS News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.

Death row inmate to be executed for killing convenience store worker

Death row inmate to be executed for killing convenience store worker

Prison officials in Georgia are preparing to execute a man who was convicted of shooting dead a convenience store worker 25 years ago. Ray Jefferson Cromartie, 52, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 7 p.m. ET at Jackson’s Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison for the killing of Richard Slys

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