U.S. House Republicans are drafting a contempt of Congress resolution against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray, claiming stonewalling in producing material related to the Russia-Trump probes and other matters.
Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes and other committee Republicans, after considering such action for several weeks, decided to move after media including the New York Times reported Saturday on why a top FBI official assigned to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russia-Trump election collusion had been removed from the investigation.
Republicans, including the president, pointed to the reports as evidence that the entire probe into Russian meddling has been politically motivated.
Report: “ANTI-TRUMP FBI AGENT LED CLINTON EMAIL PROBE” Now it all starts to make sense!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017
In his statement Saturday, Nunes pointed to the reports that the official, Peter Strzok, was removed after allegedly having exchanged anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton text messages with his mistress, who was an FBI lawyer working for Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
“In light of today’s press reports, we now know why Strzok was dismissed, why the FBI and DOJ refused to provide us this explanation, and at least one reason why they previously refused to make Deputy Director McCabe available to the Committee for an interview,” Nunes said.
“By hiding from Congress, and from the American people, documented political bias by a key FBI head investigator for both the Russia collusion probe and the Clinton email investigation, the FBI and DOJ engaged in a willful attempt to thwart Congress’ constitutional oversight responsibility,” he said.
Nunes, in the statement, said the committee will move on a resolution by the end of the month unless it demands are “fully met” by the close of business Dec. 4.
He cited “a months-long pattern by the DOJ and FBI of stonewalling and obstructing this Committee’s oversight work,” including also withholding subpoenaed information about their use of an opposition research dossier that targeted Trump in the 2016 election.
— BK (@BKactual) December 2, 2017
Searchers recovered the bodies of a missing Army veteran and her dog in the southern California desert Friday, the woman’s brother told a local news station.
Fox 5 San Diego reported that the remains of Julia Jacobson and her box terrier, Boogie, were found in rural Riverside County. Ontario, Calif. police said a cadaver dog helped discover the shallow grave containing the bodies just south of Interstate 10.
Julia Jacobson and Boogie had not been seen since Sept. 2. Her SUV was found near her San Diego home with her keys in the ignition less than a week later. Detectives said forensic analysis of the car led police to conclude that she had been murdered.
Jacobson’s ex-husband, Dalen Ware, was arrested at his home in Phoenix on Oct. 13 and faces a murder charge. Ware’s attorney told The San Diego Union-Tribune in an email that he showed investigators “the place he had buried” Jacobson without the promise of a plea bargain.
Jacobson served two tours of duty in Iraq and was employed at a 7-Eleven corporate office.
Former Chester Co Detention Center nurse Katherine Heckman charged with having sex with inmate Sean Lyles. Warrants say off jail property. pic.twitter.com/nhCa2pD5kU
— Greg Suskin (@GSuskinWSOC9) November 29, 2017
An Australian army captain currently serving in the Middle East has written an opinion piece requesting the defence forces allow sex workers to help soldiers ‘relieve stress’
Captain Sally Williamson wrote the article for the Land Power Forum, a website run by the Australian military giving past and present servicemen and women a chance to express their thoughts and offer ideas.
Capt. Williamson posted the story, titled ‘Sex And War – A Conversation Army Has To Have’, in early November but it was removed days later after fierce scrutiny.
‘Opinions on the subject will undoubtedly vary, but the conversation about sexual activism and regulation on deployment is worth having,’ the since-deleted post reads.
She begins the story by referencing past instances of the sex industry successfully integrating with armed forces and believes the ‘Army could contract Australian male and female sex workers to service troops in forward operating bases and air bases.’
The French army employed sex workers during the first Indochina war at Dien Bien Phu, where soldiers say prostitutes worked ‘not only as sex workers and lovers to soldiers, but also in tactical roles as nurses and or as companions to keep up the spirits of the troops.’
While Capt. Williamson notes many of their practices were ‘immoral and illegal from a human rights perspective’, she believes appropriately monitored and controlled sexual guidelines can help ‘loneliness or prolonged absence from family, friends, partners and spouses’.
‘Improved intimacy and sexual interaction can help combat veterans with PTSD recovery.’…
…’Another option the ADF could consider is facilitating safe and regulated sexual satisfaction through other means such as providing masturbation facilities or issuing sex toys,’ she wrote.
…Ireland was long a bastion of Catholic conservatism, a place where pedestrians might tip their hats and hop off the footpath when a priest walked past. But economic and technological changes helped propel a shift in attitudes that accelerated with the unfolding of far-reaching abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church in the 1990s.
Over a generation, Ireland transformed from a country where 67 percent of voters approved the constitutional abortion ban to one where, in 2015, 62 percent voted to legalize same-sex marriage.
Ireland moved to the left on other social issues, too. It decriminalized homosexuality in 1992, removed restrictions on the sale of contraception in 1993 and legalized divorce in 1996. The Irish voted twice, in 1992 and 2002, to permit abortion if the mother were deemed a suicide risk. In 2015, the country passed a gender identity law favored by transgender rights groups.
Priests once enjoyed great social and political power in Ireland, but the abuse scandal led to “the demise of the church,” the center-right prime minister, Leo Varadkar, who is 38, biracial and gay, said in an interview in September.
Ireland’s break from the past has been so sharp that Garry O’Sullivan, a newspaper and book publisher whose company will soon release a book by a priest titled “Why the Irish Church Deserves to Die,” described it as akin to “intolerance toward views that represent anything of the old guard or traditional Ireland.”
That old guard was discredited by the yearslong drumbeat of child abuse allegations that began to emerge in the early 1990s as well as a cover-up by church officials who spent years denying the problem and moving abusive priests from parish to parish.
For decades, Irish priests zealously protected their communities from what they saw as the moral dangers posed by sexual promiscuity, unwed mothers and impoverished children, sometimes orphaned or neglected.
They used an unwritten, extralegal power — often at the urging of scandalized family or neighbors — to send such women and children to Dickensian facilities like industrial schools, Magdalene Laundries (workhouses run by Catholic orders) and homes for the pregnant and unwed.
While much of the abuse happened at the hands of parish priests, a great deal of it happened in these institutions. A 2009 report said tens of thousands of children were abused in industrial schools alone, a shocking figure in a country of 4.5 million.
— Kyle Johnson (@KidNobuhiko) December 3, 2017
A Gaston County Jail inmate is charged with ethnic intimidation after deputies say he committed a sex act into a religious book and referred to another inmate by racial and homophobic slurs.
Johnathan Ross Compton has been jailed since Nov. 4 after failing to show up for court. The 35-year-old Shelby man now faces an ethnic intimidation charge for the way he allegedly treated a Muslim inmate.
Abdur Abdulkhafid told deputies that Compton ejaculated into his Quran, the religious text of Islam. The book was damaged and defaced from Ross’s action, according to a warrant.
Compton also called Abdulkhafid by a racial slur often used to denigrate black people, according to Sgt. Michael Watkins with the Sheriff’s Office. Abdulkhafid reported also being called an anti-gay slur, according to a sheriff’s affidavit.
The Marine Corps crackdown on an epidemic of hazing at Camp Pendleton now includes at least one court-martial decision.
Cpl. K.D. Lee of Camp Pendleton’s 7th Engineer Support Battalion of the 1st Marine Logistic Group pleaded guilty recently at summary court-martial to one of three charges involving the hazing of a subordinate, according to Marine spokesman 1st Lt. Adam B. Miller.
“Hazing is contradictory to our core values of honor, courage and commitment and is prejudicial to good order and discipline,” Miller said by email. “Hazing violates our institutional character and disrespects our most precious asset — our Marines and sailors. Hazing is absolutely not tolerated in the Marine Corps.”
Lee had been accused of inflicting “cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning or harmful” treatment on a junior enlisted Marine on April 6, according to a charge sheet obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act.
She was charged on Aug. 4 with three counts of violating a lawful order designed to prevent hazing and pleaded innocent at an initial hearing on Oct. 13, according to the military court docket.
Lee, a three-year veteran of the corps who has yet to deploy overseas, allegedly threatened to toss the subordinate off a rooftop, questioned his gender, derided him with salty language and told other Marines that she was “not (expletive) done with him” and “we’ll get him, don’t worry,” or similar phrases, her charge sheet indicated.
Promulgated throughout the Marine Corps on May 20, 2013, and signed by former Marine commandant Gen. James Amos, the anti-hazing order Lee violated was designed to track and eradicate abuse inside the service.
Two years earlier, a lance corporal committed suicide after fellow Marines beat him for falling asleep on watch, an incident authorities concluded was a form of hazing.
Thai authorities have fined two American tourists for revealing their buttocks in a photo taken last week at Bangkok’s Wat Arun, but authorities say the pair could could face further charges.
The two travelers, Joseph Dasilva, 38, and Travis Dasilva, 36, were arrested Tuesday night local time at Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport, and fined 5,000 baht ($154) each for public indecency. Deputy spokesman of the Thai immigration police, Col Choengron Rimpadee, told the BBC the Dasilvas had been on a watch list after authorities flagged their controversial social media post.
“Once they are through with the charges, the Thai immigration police will revoke their visas and push for deportation,” he said. “They will also be blacklisted from coming back to Thailand.” However, the Bangkok Post reported punishment for such violations (such a religious insult) could have been more serious, and the Americans might be still be up for charges that could result in possible imprisonment in addition to their existing fines. The Bangkok Post claims they could be additionally charged with violating Thailand’s Computer Crime Act by “posting pornographic pictures online” as well as “breaching Section 206 of the criminal law concerning behavior at a religious place that insults the religion”, quoting police chief Jaruphat.
San Diego Gay & Lesbian News (SDGLN) identified the men as a married couple from San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood, and reported that they were seeking assistance from San Diego City Commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez. Murray-Ramirez says that the men reached out to him and he is talking to American authorities on what to do next, according to SDGLN.
UPDATE: Police say dispute over parking spot in Queens led to stabbing, car driving into 6 pedestrians; suspect at large – WNBC
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) December 3, 2017
A former Oklahoma state senator and senior member of Trump’s campaign team has pleaded guilty of child sex trafficking after offering to pay a teenage boy for ‘sex stuff’ last year.
Republican Ralph Shortey pleaded guilty on Thursday in exchange for federal prosecutors dropping three child pornography charges against him.
The 35-year-old will be required to serve at least 10 years in prison, which is the minimum sentence for child sex trafficking. The maximum sentence would be life in prison…
…He is still married to his high school sweetheart, Jennifer Shortey, and has four daughters with her.
Shortey was first elected to his seat in the Oklahoma senate in 2010 and was known for offbeat legislative proposals. He also considered himself to have ‘family values’ and is reported to have targeted gay and transgender people with his legislative proposals, according to the Associated Press.
Earlier this year he passed a law which allows business owners to discriminate against LGBT people, citing freedom of religion.
He also staunchly opposes abortion, and in 2012 tried to introduce a bill which would make it illegal to use aborted fetuses in food. It was widely ridiculed…
He was first investigated by Moore city police and later by the FBI after he was found with the teen around 1am on March 9 at a Super 8 Motel.
The boy’s girlfriend followed them there after watching Shortey pick him up. She then called his father, and his father notified police.
Police said the then-senator and the boy had a conversation about sex on the messaging app Kik before meeting.
The conversation became sexually graphic after the teenager told Shortey that he needed money ‘for spring break.’
‘I don’t really have any legitimate things I need help with right now. Would you be interested in “sexual” stuff?’ police said Shortey asked the teen. The victim then replied ‘Yes.’
Police said that when they arrived at the house they found an open box of condoms in Shortey’s backpack and a bottle of lotion in the victim’s. Both beds were unmade…
…When the FBI began their investigation into Shortey they uncovered a secret life.
The agency reported that he used fake names to post ads on Craigslist looking for sex with young men and on an email account he used to send and receive pornography.
‘Shortey used those pseudonyms almost exclusively for illicit and illegal sexual interests or encounters, several of which included communications and exchanges of pornography with underage males, and/or the sharing of child pornography,’ an FBI agent wrote in the affidavit.
Shortey was indicted in September and accused of child sex trafficking.
He was also accused in one of the child pornography counts of persuading that same teenager to send him explicit photographs in 2016.
In the other child pornography counts he was accused of sending sexual videos to two people in 2013.
For Americans living in Germany, it’s about to get a lot easier to join the Marine Corps.
Starting on Feb. 15, the Marine Corps will operate a recruiting substation at Kleber Kaserne, a U.S. Army base in Kaiserslautern, Germany, said Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Nieves, who is assigned to the facility.
A Marine stationed in Germany had suggested opening a recruiting facility because Americans were returning to the U.S. to enlist in the Corps, Nieves told Marine Corps Times on Thursday.
“It’s a market we’re not really in,” Nieves said. “We’re not really sure how it’s going to go. They proposed it and figured it will save the individuals that are interested a lot of time and money.”
Only Americans ― such as children of U.S. service members and contractors and other Americans living in Europe ― can enlist in the Marine Corps, he said.
Nieves said he plans to travel to bases in the Kaiserslautern Military Community to conduct PT with poolees several times a week. “I’ll have squad leaders for each area and they will report to me,” he said.
BURLINGTON, Vt. —A retirement community resident made ricin and tested the deadly toxin on her neighbors by putting it on their food or in beverages over a period of weeks, investigators said.
Betty Miller told an FBI agent that she wanted to “injure herself” and was testing the poison’s effectiveness on other residents at the Wake Robin senior living facility, according to a criminal complaint.
A handcuffed Miller, 70, made her first appearance in federal court Friday. Judge John Conroy noted that Miller had a “lengthy mental health history,” but did not elaborate.
Miller was placed in custody and was scheduled to be in court again on Wednesday. She said she was working on getting a lawyer.
Police were called to the senior community in Shelburne on Tuesday after Miller told heath care providers she had manufactured the ricin and placed it on other residents’ food and beverages, the agent said in the complaint.
Police officer got a bit distracted. pic.twitter.com/oUKlp94Cpj
— COP VIDEOS (@Copvids911) November 23, 2017
Zuri C. Towns attended services at one of the churches as a child, Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp said.
“As a result of the investigation, no evidence was obtained that would indicate this was a bias incident which legally requires purpose to intimidate a person or group based upon their protected class,” authorities said in a news release announcing the arrest.
Towns has been charged with four counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief and one count of third-degree criminal mischief.
Authorities launched a bias investigation after Gov.-elect Phil Murphy tweeted a condemnation of “cowardly acts.” The pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church said some congregants were so unsettled by what happened that they opted not to attend Sunday services.
However, the focus shifted after a surveillance video outside Church of God in Christ for All Saints showed a man, later identified by police as Towns, throwing a rock against a window.
The reason jurors voted for acquittal on even the least serious homicide charge — involuntary manslaughter — in the Kate Steinle case may have stemmed from San Francisco prosecutors’ decision to raise the stakes in hopes of winning a felony conviction.
Steinle was felled by a ricocheting bullet as she walked with her father on Pier 14 in July 2015. The prosecution charged that the defendant, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, fired intentionally. The defense argued it was an accident — that he had found a stolen gun on the waterfront that somehow went off.
Jurors were given the option of convicting Garcia Zarate of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter. However, there are two types of involuntary manslaughter — a purely accidental killing, which is a misdemeanor, and one with underlying criminal intent, a felony.
“For example, getting into an accident while texting is doing something that is legal in an illegal way,” said former San Francisco prosecutor Tony Brass. Winning a conviction requires showing that the defendant was guilty of gross negligence, not that he intended to commit a crime.
It’s a similar situation when someone is handling a gun, and it goes off and shoots someone, said Public Defender Jeff Adachi, whose attorneys defended Garcia Zarate.
— Local 4 WDIV Detroit (@Local4News) December 3, 2017
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (Reuters) – U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo said on Saturday he sent a letter to Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani and Iranian leaders expressing concern regarding Iran’s increasingly threatening behavior in Iraq.
Speaking during a panel at the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in Southern California, Pompeo said he sent the letter after the senior Iranian military commander had indicated that forces under his control might attack U.S. forces in Iraq. He did not specify the date.
“What we were communicating to him in that letter was that we will hold he and Iran accountable for any attacks on American interests in Iraq by forces that are under their control,” Pompeo told the panel.
“We wanted to make sure he and the leadership in Iran understood that in a way that was crystal clear.”
Soleimani, who is the commander of foreign operations for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, refused to open the letter, according to Pompeo, who took over the CIA in January.
Iranian media earlier quoted Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, a senior aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as saying an unnamed CIA contact had tried to give a letter to Soleimani when he was in the Syrian town of Albu Kamal in November during the fighting against Islamic State.
“I will not take your letter nor read it and I have nothing to say to these people,” Golpayegani quoted Soleimani as saying, according to the semi-official news agency Fars.
Groups representing Holocaust survivors have asked Poland’s president to explain why artists were allowed to film a naked game of tag (warning: graphic images) inside a gas chamber in the former Nazi death camp of Stutthof.
On Wednesday, the Organization of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and several other groups sent the request for clarification to President Andrzej Duda in connection with a video that the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow displayed in 2015 without divulging any details on where it was filmed. The letter was sent after research revealed the location was Stutthof, near Gdansk, Poland.
“Extensive research recently revealed that the site where the video was filmed is the gas chamber at the Stutthof concentration camp, and it is this discovery which prompted the demand for clarifications from the Polish leaders and the administration of the Stutthof concentration camp site (and museum),” it said.
The organizations that co-signed the letter Wednesday asked to know whether the artists did “obtain permission from the Stutthof administrators to make this video, what rules exist for proper conduct at the site, how these are enforced” and whether an investigation of the circumstances of the making of the video had been carried out, the Simon Wiesenthal Center wrote in a statement about the letter.
Following protests by Jewish groups and community leaders, the Krakow museum pulled the exhibition but then reinstated it, defending it as falling under freedom of artistic expression.
The bizarre episode raises the question: Is it normal for presidential candidates to insert themselves into global events by dialing up heads of state? In fact, Obama did pretty much the same thing — multiple times, no less — as a candidate during the 2008 campaign.
Obama, like Romney, embarked on a foreign trip as a candidate, meeting face-to-face with leaders such as Afghan President Hamid Karzai, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (headline: “Obama Talks Tough About Iran During Visit to Israel”). But he also placed several phone calls.
In January 2008, for example, Obama reached out to the two leaders at the center of a bitterly disputed election in Kenya, his father’s homeland. “What I urged was that all the leaders there, regardless of their position on the election, tell their supporters to stand down,” Obama explained at the time. The Bush-era State Department, which coordinated the calls with Obama, praised the effort. “Any time you have a person of stature … who is pushing for a peaceful, political resolution, that’s a positive thing,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.
Then, after hostilities erupted between Georgia and Russia in August 2008, both Obama and Republican challenger John McCain phoned Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, while condemning Russia for violating Georgia’s sovereignty. In fact, the candidates called Saakashvili so frequently — the Georgian leader said he heard from them “pretty often” — that it became a bit of a contest; when pressed by Fox News, Saakashvili conceded that McCain had called first but that Obama was “very supportive.” In September, the prime minister requested a call with Obama to thank him for mentioning Georgia in his convention speech.
The campaign-trail diplomacy didn’t stop at phone calls. McCain sent two of his allies in the Senate — Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — to Georgia at the height of the conflict, while Joe Biden, then a leading contender to be Obama’s running mate, made the trip himself.
SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A 26-year-old man has been arrested after walking into a Virginia IHOP completely naked on Thanksgiving Day, according police.
Authorities in Suffolk, Virginia, said Darrin Bass took off all his clothes, then walked into the IHOP to use the restroom.
Bass was charged with indecent exposure and taken to Western Tidewater Regional Jail.
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