The ex-dairy farmer isn’t exactly the cream of the cream: his bizarre claims on the president’s behalf have backfiredDevin Nunes, left, and the minority counsel Steve Castor confer during Wednesday’s hearing. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesIf you were on trial on national television, facing the possible loss of your job and the probable loss of what remains of your reputation, you might not place your fate in the hands of Devin Nunes.Nunes is a one-time dairy farmer who now milks the bursting udders of an entire herd of conspiracy-minded cows.Mad cow disease had the rare power to leap across species through an unusually mysterious vector known as a prion. Mad Devin disease appears similarly devastating to the human brain through an unusually mysterious vector known as Vladimir Putin.> Nunes led the herd in arguing that this is a victimless crime – the Ukraine president got his stupid missiles anyhowThe California congressman – who somehow qualified as the most senior Republican on the House intelligence committee – opened his defense of Donald Trump with a long moo about Moscow and the Democrats’ interest in the Mueller investigation.“After the spectacular implosion of their Russia hoax on July 24, in which they spent years denouncing any Republican who ever shook hands with a Russian,” Nunes explained, “on July 25 they turned on a dime and now claim the real malfeasance is Republicans’ dealings with Ukraine.”This was a curious turn, even for the nonsensical Nunes. In the court of American public opinion (where we’re told this impeachment thing will really play out), the concept of innocent Russian handshaking is not entirely obvious.It also seemed like a rookie mistake to suggest that the impeachment of the president was an indictment of all Republican dealings with the former Soviet Union.“In the blink of an eye, we’re asked to simply forget about Democrats on this committee falsely claiming they had ‘more than circumstantial evidence’ of collusion between President Trump and the Russians,” Nunes said, reviving the Democrats’ case against Donald Trump in ways that didn’t seem entirely helpful to Donald Trump.Among the things Nunes wanted us never to forget was “them trying to obtain nude pictures of Trump from Russian pranksters who pretended to be Ukrainian officials” and something about “fabrications of Trump-Russia collusion from the Steele dossier”.Thanks to Nunes, these nude Trump pictures are now seared into our collective minds.Lest we forget, when Nunes was actually running the intelligence committee, he used its resources to turn on the US’s intelligence community for having the temerity to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.Less the cream of the cream, Nunes is more like the curd of the absurd. This sadly is the bovine bedlam we’re all committed to for the next 12 months of American politics.It’s a place where the best defense of Trump exhorting a foreign leader is that he was somehow rooting out corruption; where he was supposedly investigating foreign interference in the 2016 election when he was bribing a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 election; where the FBI and CIA have undermined themselves; and where the Democrats have been colluding with the Russians.Nunes led the herd in arguing that this is a victimless crime – the Ukraine president got his stupid missiles anyhow. In fact Nunes was really arguing that impeachment is the criminal victimization of a poor helpless crusader for truth, justice and good government, who happens to live in the people’s house on Pennsylvania Avenue.By some miracle of telekinesis, Nunes’s brain created a White House video featuring our humble hero, who insisted that his own impeachment wasn’t all it seemed on live television.“What’s going on now is the single greatest scam in the history of American politics,” said the real estate guy who is something of an expert in scams.Trump placed impeachment at the heart of the mother of all big government conspiracies involving Democrats taking away everyone’s guns, healthcare, votes, freedom and judges. The Democrats currently control the House of Representatives, which is an awesome branch of government, but not quite that awesome.“It’s all very simple,” said our very simple president. “They’re trying to stop me because I’m fighting for you.”This may come as news for anyone who is not circling the barnyard. Trump was apparently fighting for regular Americans when he was extorting the Ukraine president to smear Joe Biden.Trump and Nunes are obviously hoping that voters cannot see through the fog on this farm. These hearings are so darn complicated and foreign, maybe Americans will never remember whether four legs are good or bad.This is the latest in a long line of so-called defense strategies that have run the gamut from unlikely to unbelievable. First came the wild fabrications: Trump’s phone call with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy was supposedly perfect, and the whistleblower doesn’t exist. Then came the wild conspiracies: the Democrats were themselves fabricating evidence in secret hearings that somehow included Republicans. We spent an epoch or two debating Latin tit-for-tats. Now we have arrived at the stage of debate that involves hurling turds at a wall in the hope of finding something adhesive.As with most TV shows, the impeachment hearings are less about substance and more about style. The Democrats carefully cast as their first witnesses a pair of diplomats who seemed to have stepped out of a kinder, gentler era of American values.William Taylor, the US ambassador to Ukraine, is a Vietnam veteran who previously served in the same position under President George W Bush. Taylor looks like he was chiseled whole out of granite, and he tolerated no end of Republican stupidities with a stony certitude. It was frustratingly hard for Trump’s allies to chip away at his central revelation that Trump himself was personally interested only in the Bidens, not Ukraine.George Kent, a bow-tied foreign service official in charge of the entire European and Eurasian region, was so steadfastly committed to old-fashioned American democracy that he was happy to express his unease with Hunter Biden’s business interests in Ukraine. Sadly for Trump, these good government types take a seriously dim view of a president corruptly using American military aid to manipulate American elections.The first day of the public impeachment hearings was not a fair fight. Against these die-hard diplomats, the GOP relied on Jim Jordan, who just can’t seem to shake off the stench of sex abuse at Ohio State University, where he used to coach wrestling.Then there was the flustered questioning from John Ratcliffe, a Texas Republican who was briefly Trump’s nominee for director of national intelligence – until he was overwhelmed by his own problematic relationship with the truth on his personal resume.“Are either of you here today to assert there was an impeachable offense in that call?” Ratcliffe barked at the two unimpeachable witnesses. “Shout it out – anyone?”As Taylor tried to explain that it’s for congressmen to answer, Ratcliffe withdrew his own question.“This is your job,” said Taylor, speaking on behalf of us all. If only Republican members of Congress understood the strange foreign language these career diplomats speak.• Richard Wolffe is a Guardian US columnist
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.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday dealt a blow to the firearms industry, rejecting Remington Arms Co's bid to escape a lawsuit by families of victims aiming to hold the gun maker liable for its marketing of the assault-style rifle used in the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre that killed 20 children and six adults. The justices turned away Remington's appeal of a ruling by Connecticut's top court to let the lawsuit proceed despite a federal law that broadly shields firearms manufacturers from liability when their weapons are used in crimes. The lawsuit will move forward at a time of high passions in the United States over the issue of gun control.
The demolition process will take nine weeks, followed by three months of cleanup. The building's owners will cover all costs.
"The rat was located and trapped. Then the aircraft was fumigated," a representative from Air India said, according to Indian local media.
North Korea’s supreme decision-making body lashed out Wednesday at planned U.S.-South Korean military drills and warned that the United States will face a “bigger threat and harsh suffering” if it ignores North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s end-of-year deadline to salvage nuclear talks. In a statement carried by state media, an unidentified spokesperson for the North’s State Affairs Commission said the drills would violate agreements between Kim and President Donald Trump on improving bilateral relations and compel North Korea to raise its war readiness. The statement is North Korea’s latest expression of displeasure over the military drills and slow pace of nuclear negotiations with Washington.
A missile test last November made the point quite clear.
Too bad Toyota isn't resurrecting the All-Trac name from the 1980s for the new AWD models.
(Bloomberg) -- Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren sought to reassure business leaders and investors they have nothing to worry about if she is elected president -- as long as they obey the law.“I believe in markets. Markets with rules that are consistently enforced,” she said in an interview in Concord, New Hampshire. “If someone has built a business on cheating people, then they should be very worried about a Warren administration, but if that’s not the case, then there’s no reason for them to worry.”Warren’s progressive proposals for reducing inequality, including a wealth tax, breaking up big technology and agriculture companies, as well as her $21 trillion plan to replace private health insurance with a government-run system, have raised concerns on Wall Street that her policies would be ruinous and push the U.S. too far to the left.As she has gained in the polls, she’s come in for criticism from Wall Street executives and billionaires, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, hedge fund billionaire Leon Cooperman and Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates.She attacked Cooperman in a new campaign commercial, and on Wednesday he fired back in a profanity-laced tirade on CNBCThe Massachusetts senator, who has pledged not to take big-donor money to fuel her campaign, said the criticism from Wall Street reminded her of the opposition she faced when she proposed establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after the financial crisis.“A lot of financial institutions were saying in effect, ‘if there’s a cop on the beat, that’s going to destroy my business,’” Warren said. “My answer was: ‘Really? What are you doing that a cop is going to catch you out and make you shut down? Do you not have a business model that works and the cop could glance over your shoulder once in a while and say yeah, that’s fine.’”Warren is gaining on front-runner Joe Biden in polls with a campaign message that corporate and government wrongdoing have broken American democracy. She’s presented plans to tackle corruption, including increasing oversight of lobbying and imposing restrictions and large fines on some of the largest U.S. corporations.“If you’re running a straight-up honest business, you want a cop on the beat, because you don’t want to have to compete against the cheaters,” Warren said. “That’s what a Warren administration will be all about.”She has vowed to make the richest Americans bear the cost of her plans through higher taxes, including levies on wealth and financial transactions. In a research note this month, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said her plan to return the corporate tax rate to 26% from 18% would drive down earnings for S&P 500 companies.On the campaign trail, Warren tells potential voters that while she doesn’t have a “beef with billionaires,” she wants to ensure that they pay their fare share.To contact the reporter on this story: Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at email@example.com, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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. 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