Magic’s Afflalo throws massive haymaker at Timberwolves’ Bjelica

Jan. 16 (UPI) — Orlando Magic guard Arron Afflalo and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Nemanja Bjelica were kicked out of Tuesday’s game for an intense fight.

The skirmish went down with 7:28 remaining in the second quarter of the contest at the Amway Center in Orlando. The Timberwolves led the game 36-34.

Timberwolves guard Jamal Crawford attempted a jump shot from the right corner to begin the sequence. Bjelica ran up to Afflalo near the free throw line and hit hit with both hands as he neared the rim, possibly to attempt a rebound.

Afflalo reacted by throwing a massive right-handed haymaker, barely missing Bjelica. The 6-foot-10, 230-pound Serbian then put the 6-foot-5, 210-pound guard in a headlock, before the two were separated by teammates and the officials.

Bjelica had two points and a rebounds in four minutes of action. Afflalo did not score, but had one rebound in four minutes.

The Timberwolves took a 48-47 lead into the halftime break.

Tuesday’s scuffle follows Monday’s migration of Houston Rockets players to the Los Angeles Clippers‘ locker room at the Staples Center who were looking to tangle. The NBA is looking into that altercation and will likely look into Tuesday’s meeting between Afflalo and Bjelica.

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Emmanuel Macron ‘agrees to loan Bayeux Tapestry to Britain’

French president to allow artefact to leave the country for first time for 950 years

Bayeux Tapestry

The tapestry is not likely to be loaned for another five years, after structural tests have been carried out.
Photograph: Alinari/Rex/Shutterstock

The Bayeux Tapestry will be loaned to Britain after the French president agreed to let it leave his country for the first time in 950 years, the Guardian understands.

Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce that the artefact depicting the Norman conquest of England after the Battle of Hastings in 1066 will be moved from its current location in Normandy to the UK at an Anglo-French summit on Thursday.

Theresa May will use the decision, which has involved lengthy talks between each country’s respective culture departments, to highlight the strength in UK-French relations following Brexit.

The artwork, which is 70 metres (229 ft) long and 50cm high, is thought to have been made shortly after the battle in the 11th century. Some historians argue it was made in Kent, England, a debate that is set to reignite following the announcement.

The loan is not likely to take place for five years and is reportedly subject to tests by the Bayeux Museum to ensure it can be moved without causing damage. It is not yet known where the artwork will be displayed when it arrives in the UK.

There have been previous unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a loan of the embroidery to the UK: once for the Queen’s coronation in 1953; and in 1966 for the 900-year anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.

The first written record of it is in 1476 when it was recorded in the Bayeux cathedral treasury as “a very long and narrow hanging on which are embroidered figures and inscriptions comprising a representation of the conquest of England”.

However, the embroidery has rarely been moved even within France. In 1803 Napoleon Bonaparte put it on display in Paris and in 1945, it was briefly displayed in the Louvre in 1945 after being seized from the Nazis.

The announcement will likely lighten the mood when May hosts Macron at Sandhurst military academy on Thursday.

The talks will see the leaders discuss the handling of the migration crisis at Calais and agree closer cooperation on fighting al-Qaida-linked militants “at source” in north Africa.

The prime minister is expected to use the summit to announce that Britian will send military helicopters to join a French campaign against Islamist extremists in the region.

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Yemen war: 5,000 children dead or hurt and 400,000 malnourished, UN says

Unicef says five children a day have been killed or injured since March 2015, with ‘nearly every child in Yemen’ in need of humanitarian aid

A malnourished Yemeni child receives treatment at a hospital.

A malnourished Yemeni child receives treatment at a hospital.
Photograph: Abdo Hyder/AFP/Getty Images

The war in Yemen has killed or injured more than 5,000 children and left another 400,000 severely malnourished and fighting for their lives, according to the UN children’s agency.

In a report unveiled on Tuesday, Unicef said nearly 2 million Yemeni children were out of school, a quarter of them since the conflict escalated when a Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015.

More than 3 million children were born into the war, it said, adding they had been “scarred by years of violence, displacement, disease, poverty, undernutrition and a lack of access to basic services”.

Unicef said the more than 5,000 children killed or injured in the violence amounted to “an average of five children every day since March 2015”.

“An entire generation of children in Yemen is growing up knowing nothing but violence,” said Meritxell Relano, Unicef representative in Yemen.

Children in Yemen are suffering the devastating consequences of a war that is not of their making,” he said in a statement.

“Malnutrition and disease are rampant as basic services collapse,” he said, adding: “Those who survive are likely to carry the physical and psychological scars of conflict for the rest of their lives.”

The UN agency said more than 11 million children – or “nearly every child in Yemen” – were in need of humanitarian assistance.

It called for an end to the bloodshed and the protection of children, as well as sustainable and unconditional access to deliver assistance to every child in need.

‘Malnutrition and disease are rampant as basic services collapse,’ said a Unicef representative.

‘Malnutrition and disease are rampant as basic services collapse,’ said a Unicef representative. Photograph: Abdo Hyder/AFP/Getty Images

Yemen’s internationally recognised government said on Tuesday that it faced economic difficulties and called on its allies, including Saudi Arabia, to help overcome them.

In a post on Facebook, the prime minister, Ahmed bin Dagher, shared a letter to allies that called on them to help the country financially in order to “save Yemenis from famine”.

Dagher urged the allies to transfer cash to the central bank in Aden, his government’s de facto capital after Iran-backed Houthi rebels ousted it from Sana’a.

The war has killed 9,245 people since Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies joined the government’s fight against the Houthis, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

It triggered what the UN has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

More than 2,200 people have died as a result of a cholera epidemic that has hit the country since April, according to the WHO.

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Bannon refuses lawmakers’ questions, following ‘White House instructions’

Democrat says Bannon’s lawyer said former strategist, facing subpoena, would otherwise have been willing to respond

Steve Bannon, left, leaves the building after he testified before the House intelligence committee.

Steve Bannon, left, leaves the building after he testified before the House intelligence committee.
Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA

Steve Bannon refused to answer questions from the House Intelligence Committee during a closed-door session, even after he was issued a subpoena to testify by the committee on Tuesday, saying that the White House had told him not to.

Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said during a news conference after the marathon hearing, that Bannon’s lawyer had told the committee that the former White House aide “was willing to answer our questions but under instructions from the White House not to”. Schiff condemned what he called “a gag order from the White House”.

Bannon, the former Breitbart head, testified before the committee but refused to answer any questions about his time in the transition, in the Trump administration and even after he left the White House.

The hearing was left in recess and the subpoena remains in effect, which means that Bannon could be called back to testify under oath.

Schiff said: “This was the first time we saw a witness refuse to answer the questions under the instructions of the White House or claim that the White House might later invoke privilege.”

Earlier on Tuesday, it was reported that Bannon had received a grand jury subpoena last week from the special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election and alleged collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.

The intelligence committee’s chair, Devin Nunes, acknowledged its subpoena to reporters earlier Tuesday. “Of course I authorized the subpoena,” said the California Republican. “That’s how the rules work.”

The subpoena issued by the committee on Tuesday was the result of Bannon apparently invoking the doctrine of executive privilege, which is the implicit power of the executive branch to withhold information about internal deliberations.

Earlier on Tuesday, press secretary Sarah Sanders said “no one” had encouraged Bannon not to be transparent during questioning but there’s a “process of what that looks like”.

“As with all congressional inquiries touching upon the White House,” she told reporters, “Congress must consult with the White House prior to obtaining confidential material. This is part of a judicially recognized process that goes back decades.”

However, the supreme court has made clear that giving the president “an absolute privilege” against a subpoena “on no more than a generalized claim of the public interest in confidentiality of nonmilitary and nondiplomatic discussions would upset the constitutional balance of ‘a workable government’”.

The Republican Mike Conaway of Texas insisted to reporters that “this witness is not an executive” and felt confident that Bannon would eventually testify in full. “There were questions that we asked that were not answered and we are going to resolve the issues to get the answers.’’

Congressman Tom Rooney of Florida, speaking to reporters earlier on Tuesday, said that he “certainly think[s] the committee respects executive privilege. When does that attach, is the question that dominates the day.” Did it come into effect for a president, he asked, “during the transition or actual swearing in”?

The subpoena is reportedly the second that Bannon has received in recent days. The New York Times reported earlier Tuesday that Mueller issued a subpoena last week to compel Bannon to testify before a grand jury in his investigation.

A spokesperson for Bannon did not respond to a request for comment from the Guardian.

Bannon has come under scrutiny after making incendiary comments about the Russia investigation in the bestselling book Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff. These comments were first reported by the Guardian. He described a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Trump’s son Don Jr, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, his campaign manager Paul Manafort and a number of Russians as “treasonous”, “unpatriotic”, and “bad shit”.

The top Trump aides had taken the meeting under the expectation that the Russians had damaging information about Hillary Clinton, which they wished to share with the campaign.

In the Wolff book, Bannon said it was likely that the Russians had met with Trump Sr as well. “The chance that Don Jr did not walk these jumos up to his father’s office on the 26th floor is zero,” he said.

Bannon’s willingness to abide by White House instructions comes after Trump denounced him as “Sloppy Steve” for the comments he made in Wolff’s book. Trump also issued a statement after the book’s publication bashing his former top strategist, suggesting that Bannon had “lost his mind”, and the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, even went so far as to say that Breitbart should “consider” removing him from his position as executive chairman. Within days, Bannon resigned from his post at the conservative website that he molded in his own image.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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Cory Booker blasts Republicans for amnesia over Trump’s ‘shithole’ remark

Democratic senator says Homeland Security secretary is ‘complicit’ after she says she ‘did not hear’ president use the term

Democrats accused Republicans of selective amnesia on Tuesday as President Donald Trump’s Homeland Security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, testified under oath that she “did not hear” Trump use the term “shithole” to describe African countries.

New Jersey senator Cory Booker angrily criticized Nielsen’s comments, telling her: “Your silence and your amnesia is complicity.”

“It was a meeting of 12 people. There was cross-talk,” she had explained at a congressional hearing, but she didn’t “dispute the president was using tough language”.

Under persistent questioning, Nielsen said she didn’t recall the specific language used by Trump.

“What I was struck with frankly, as I’m sure you were as well, was just the general profanity used in the room by almost everyone.”

Nielsen’s comments came five days after the president ignited what the Republican senator Lindsey Graham termed an “s-storm” with his Oval Office remarks.

The White House has not substantively disputed accounts of the episode, in which Trump is said to have used “shithole” to describe African countries of origin for potential immigrants to the US.

The revelations, semi-denials and continuing comments have cast a pall over the White House’s legislative agenda, brought the country closer to the brink of a government shutdown and sparked international outrage.

And with the midterm elections approaching, there are fresh fears among Republicans who were already anxious over the political climate going into November and over Trump’s unpredictable actions.

Administration officials and lawmakers spent the holiday weekend debating the precise presidential vulgarity used, and moved to cast last Thursday’s White House meeting as a salty affair, with expletives flying in all directions.

The White House said Trump had no intention of apologizing.

“The president hasn’t said he didn’t use strong language, and this is an important issue,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said.

“He’s passionate about it, he’s not going to apologize for trying to fix our immigration system.”

There is internal debate in the West Wing over whether Trump said “shithole” or “shithouse”.

One person who attended the meeting told aides they heard the latter expletive, while others recalled the president saying the more widely reported “shithole”, according to a person briefed on the meeting but not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.

Trump has not clarified to aides what he said, but told reporters Sunday night in Florida that comments attributed to him “weren’t made”.

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US officials ‘briefed Jared Kushner on concerns about Wendi Deng Murdoch’

Murdoch denies any knowledge of Chinese-funded garden project for which she is alleged to have been lobbying

Wendi Deng Murdoch, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in New York in 2014

Wendi Deng Murdoch, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in New York in 2014
Photograph: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, was reportedly warned about his friendship with Wendi Deng Murdoch, amid fears she was using the connection to promote China’s business interests.

Early in 2017 US officials urged Kushner, who is a senior adviser to the US president, to exercise caution around Murdoch, according to the Wall Street Journal. Murdoch is a close friend of Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump.

Concerns were raised by US officials about a counter-intelligence assessment that Murdoch was lobbying for a high-profile construction project in Washington funded by the Chinese government, anonymous sources told the US paper.

Wendi Deng Murdoch is former wife of Rupert Murdoch, who owns the Wall Street Journal.

The construction project was a proposed $100m (£73m) Chinese garden, which was reportedly declared a national security risk because the design included plans for a tall tower that officials were concerned could be used for surveillance. The garden was planned to be built less than five miles from both the Capitol and the White House.

Murdoch’s spokesman said she “has no knowledge of any FBI concerns or other intelligence agency concerns relating to her or her associations”. He also said she “has absolutely no knowledge of any garden projects funded by the Chinese government”.

A representative for Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, described the meeting where the concerns were raised as a “routine senior staff security briefing”. He said Kushner “has complied with all ethics and disclosure recommendations and has played a helpful role in strengthening the US-China relationship so as to help bring about a better resolution to the many issues the countries have.”

The Chinese embassy in Washington said the information in the Journal’s article was “full of groundless speculations”.

Wendi Deng Murdoch has been a good friend of the couple for many years, according to an interview she did with the Guardian in 2016.

“She’s very impressive,” Murdoch said of Ivanka Trump in the interview. “She has three children and she is teaching them Chinese. It’s very nice. We’ve been friendly for many years. I try to separate [the election] from that.”

Trump has shared several photos of Murdoch on her Instagram account, including one of them travelling together in Croatia.

According to a source quoted in the Journal’s article, Murdoch has surfaced on the radar of counter-intelligence services before. When reports emerged that she may have been linked with Tony Blair while she was married, British security officials discussed with their US counterparts whether they should be concerned. Murdoch and Blair have denied they were ever romantically connected.

The Journal’s story is particularly striking because the newspaper is owned by News Corp, whose executive chairman is Murdoch’s ex-husband Rupert Murdoch. The media tycoon married the then Wendi Deng in 1999; they divorced in 2013. She has kept the Murdoch name and said in the Guardian interview that they were still friendly. They have two children together, Grace and Chloe.

Michael Wolff, the author of a new book on Donald Trump’s presidency and a biography about Rupert Murdoch, claimed on Twitter after the Journal article was published that the media tycoon had been claiming his ex-wife was a Chinese spy to “anybody who would listen” since their divorce.

However, Marcus Brauchli, a former managing editor of the Journal, expressed doubts about the story. “Count me deeply sceptical,” he posted on Twitter. “US counter-intelligence has slurred people before with flimsy suspicions, especially those people with ties to China (eg ethnic Chinese). I’d warrant Trump does more for Russia than Wendi ever did for China.”

The Journal has written extensively about Wendi Murdoch’s background before, including before Rupert Murdoch bought the newspaper in 2007.

In November 2000 the Journal published an investigation into Wendi Murdoch that claimed a Californian couple sponsored her application for a student visa in the US, helped teach her English and gave her somewhere to stay. Shortly afterwards the Californian couple divorced and Murdoch married the husband.

The article also alleged that Murdoch was helping to identify investments for her husband’s company in China and was acting as his “liaison and translator in China”. News Corp said at the time that Murdoch was “entitled to her privacy” and questioned details in the story.

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Rare Van Gogh sketches go on public display for first time in 100 years

Drawings, together with works by Govert Flinck, on show at the Singer Laren museum in the Netherlands

A drawing of Van Gogh’s The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry is unveiled at the Singer Museum in Laren, the Netherlands.

A drawing of Van Gogh’s The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry is unveiled at the Singer Museum in Laren, the Netherlands.
Photograph: Robin van Lonkuijsen/EPA

Art lovers are in for a rare treat as four forgotten works by Dutch masters Vincent van Gogh and 17th-century painter Govert Flinck have gone on display, after gathering dust for more than 100 years.

The works include a never-before-seen Van Gogh drawing, which had been in private hands until now.

Called The Hill of Montmartre with Quarries, Van Gogh’s monochrome artwork dates from 1886 when he was living in Antwerp and Paris, where he worked at the studio of leading French historical painter Fernand Cormon.

The sketch, together with a second drawing The Hill of Montmartre, were unveiled Tuesday at an exhibition at the Singer Laren museum in central Netherlands.

“Such a discovery is always great. It’s really exceptional and does not often happen,” Teio Meedendorp, senior researcher for the Amsterdam-based Van Gogh Museum, told AFP.

This image released by Van Vlissingen Art Foundation and the Van Gogh Museum shows a drawing by Vincent van Gogh titled The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry, dating to March 1886.

This image released by Van Vlissingen Art Foundation and the Van Gogh Museum shows a drawing by Vincent van Gogh titled The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry, dating to March 1886. Photograph: Van Vlissingen Art Foundation/AP

Meanwhile, two previously forgotten works by Rembrandt’s student Govert Flinck (1615-1660) were also revealed to the public at the Amsterdam Museum for the first time on Tuesday since disappearing around 1895.

The two portraits were only unearthed after their owner visited an exhibition of Flinck’s work at the Amsterdam Museum.

Meedendorp said the Van Goghs had undergone an extensive verification process.

For many years Montmartre with Quarries sat unnoticed in a private collection until it was brought to the Van Gogh Museum in 2013 for authentication, he said.

“After it came in we verified that it was indeed a Van Gogh – but we were intrigued by the question of its origins.”

The Van Gogh Museum’s art sleuths discovered the sketch originally belonged to Johanna Van Gogh-Bonger, the wife of Vincent’s brother Theo.

It had been sold into a private collection in 1917.

A Van Gogh drawing titled The Hill of Montmartre (1886).

A Van Gogh drawing titled The Hill of Montmartre (1886). Photograph: AP

“We authenticated it in 2013, but it took a bit longer because it’s up to the owner and not us to reveal the work,” he added, saying “we had to keep it under wraps for a few years.”

The sketch also gave the museum an opportunity to authenticate a second work in its possession, called The Hill at Montmartre.

The type of stationery used in both sketches is identical and “nicely illustrates how he (Vincent) was still searching for his own style in the winter and spring of 1886,” the Singer Laren museum said in a statement.

“It was a very nice investigation about a work that appeared out of nowhere. It was never published, never put on display,” Meedendorp added.

Meanwhile, the Flincks were uncovered after the anonymous owner contacted the museum to offer the portraits for its current exhibition of the 17th-century master, who studied under Rembrandt but later developed his own style.

“The paintings were hung on their owner’s living room walls when he contacted the Amsterdam Museum and asked if they’d be interested in seeing them,” Dutch newspaper Trouw said.

Believed to be portraits of Zeeland province representative Johan de Mauregenault and his wife Petronella van Panhuysm, they were last described in an 1895 auction catalogue.

“Since then the paintings disappeared into thin air until now,” the paper added.

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US Navy brings negligent homicide charges against Fitzgerald, McCain ex-commanders

Admiral Frank Caldwell decided to file charges Tuesday against Bryce Benson, former commander of the USS Fitzgerald, and Alfredo Sanchez, former commander of the USS John S. McCain, according to a statement released by the Navy Office of Information.

Three other crew members of the USS Fitzgerald, including two lieutenants, and one lieutenant junior grade are also being charged. A chief petty officer of the USS John S. McCain is also facing a dereliction of duty charge.

Commander William Speaks, a Navy spokesman, said the Navy did not disclose the names of the other service members because their cases were still “very early in the process.”

“Everyone apart from someone in the command triad has an expectation of privacy,” Speaks told Military Times.

All of the service members are facing charges that include dereliction of duty, hazarding a vessel, and negligent homicide.

In addition, crew members from each destroyer will face additional administrative actions and four crew members from each vessel will face “non-judicial punishment.”

The charges will be presented at an Article 32 hearing where evidence will be reviewed to determine whether the officers should be court-martialed.

Caldwell, head of the Navy’s nuclear reactors program, was authorized in late October to review the collisions and take administrative or disciplinary actions.

On June 17, seven soldiers were killed as the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine container ship in the middle of the night, southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. The ship sprung a leak and seven sailors drowned. Three of the commanding officers on the ship were later relieved of their duties.

On August 21, the USS John S. McCain crashed into a commercial vessel in the Strait of Malacca off the coast of Singapore. Ten sailors drowned as seawater flooded sealed compartments of the ship. Another five sustained serious injuries.

In November, the Navy announced reforms to improve sailors’ skills at sea after reviews showed crew members in the Pacific were undertrained and overworked.

Benson and Sanchez were both relieved of their command after the collisions. The Navy did not specify when their hearings will begin.

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MSM, Twitter balk at Trump’s ‘excellent’ mental & physical health, ‘incredibly good genes’

Navy Rear Admiral Doctor Ronny Jackson, Trump’s military physician, announced Tuesday that the president’s overall health is “excellent” and he is medically fit to serve as commander-in-chief.

Jackson listed a range of tests the 71-year-old president underwent last week during his first periodic physical exam at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“All clinical data indicates the president is healthy and that he will remain so for the duration of his presidency,” he said.

Reporters at the press briefing could not believe the news, with one reporter asking how Trump could be considered healthy, despite his diet and lack of exercise.

“Tell me how a guy that eats McDonald’s hamburgers and fried chicken and all those diet cokes and never exercises is in as good of shape as you say he’s in,” one reporter asked.

“It’s called genetics. I don’t know, some people have just great genes,” Jackson answered.

“You know, I told the president that if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years, he might live to be 200 years old.”

“He has incredibly good genes, and it’s just the way God made him,” Jackson added.

Many on social media did not believe Jackson’s assessment either, pointing to the fact that Trump’s family has a history of Alzheimer’s.

However, others pointed out that many of Trump’s relatives lived well into their 80s and 90s.

Trump has repeatedly credited his genes for his success and intelligence.  

While much of Jackson’s assessment was positive, he did say that Trump could stand to lose about 10 to 15 pounds through diet and exercise over the next year.

“We talked about diet and exercise a lot. He’s more enthusiastic about the diet part than the exercise part, but we’re going to do both,” Jackson said.

He said Trump currently “doesn’t have a dedicated, defined exercise program,” but added the president’s diet has improved since he moved into the White House.

“He’s eating what the chefs are cooking for him now, and they’re cooking a much healthier diet for him now,” Jackson said. “And we’re going to continue to work on that and make that even healthier.”

However, many Twitter users even had a hard time believing Jackson when he said that Trump weighs 239 pounds.

Many also pointed out that at Trump’s height of 6”3’, he is only one pound away from being considered obese, according to a scale used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While others questioned certain parts of Jackson’s assessment, some questioned whether the doctor was making the whole thing up as part of a White House propaganda conspiracy.

However, those conspiracy theorists might not know that Jackson was also the White House physician under former President Barack Obama and former President George W Bush.

Many tweeters blamed the press for going after the doctor, and questioned if they would act the same way if a Democrat were president.

Trump also asked Jackson to perform a cognitive exam during his physical. Despite Jackson’s determination that the testing was not necessary, the doctor boasted that Trump scored a 30/30 on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment.

“The president is mentally very sharp,” Jackson said. “I have no concerns about his cognitive ability.”

Many on Twitter pointed out that the test Trump took is a 10-minute screening test for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which, they said, does not prove anything about Trump’s mental health.

Others did believe Jackson’s assessment of Trump’s mental health, but said that it only proves Trump is “evil.”

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Ex-CIA officer arrested for trying to pass classified information to China

Jerry Chun Shing Lee was detained Monday night after landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport. On Tuesday, the former CIA employee was “charged with unlawful retention of national defense information” by the Eastern District Court of New York. The judge ordered that Lee be held without bail.

US federal authorities accuse Lee of violating the terms of his top secret clearance and conditions of non-disclosure agreements he had signed with the agency he worked for from 1994 to 2007. Lee’s disclosures reportedly led to a crackdown on the CIA’s informants in China starting in 2010, the New York Times reported citing several former intelligence officials. The 53-year-old was at the center of a mole hunt for years.

Court documents reveal that after settling in Hong Kong with his family after leaving the agency, the accused returned to the US in August 2012 to live in northern Virginia. The FBI took note of Lee’s return and placed him under investigation, searching his hotel rooms in Hawaii and Virginia during his travels back and forth between Hong Kong and the United States.

“During each of the hotel stays, FBI agents conducted court-authorized searches of Lee’s room and luggage, and found that Lee was in unauthorized possession of materials relating to the national defense,” the DOJ said in a statement. “Specifically, agents found two small books containing handwritten notes that contained classified information, including but not limited to, true names and phone numbers of assets and covert CIA employees, operational notes from asset meetings, operational meeting locations and locations of covert facilities.”

Last year, a NYT investigation revealed that Beijing either killed or imprisoned 18 to 20 CIA sources from 2010 to 2012 following a massive intelligence breach at the agency. Initially, the CIA thought the Chinese could have hacked the Agency’s communications system. However, the investigation ultimately honed in on the possibility of an internal leak, possibly by a former CIA analyst who worked in the China division. At the time, the newspaper said, there was not enough evidence to arrest the suspected mole. Whether or not Lee is responsible for exposing CIA operatives in China has not yet been announced.

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