Trump's former chief of staff Reince Priebus interviewed by special counsel investigating Russian collusion in US election

Donald Trump‘s former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was interviewed on Friday by the special counsel investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 US election.

“Mr Priebus was voluntarily interviewed by Special Counsel Mueller’s team today,” said his lawyer, William Burck.

“He was happy to answer all of their questions.”

Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigators are interviewing a number of White House and other officials as part of the inquiry into any ties between Mr Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.

Mr Mueller’s inquiry includes whether Mr Trump might have obstructed justice by trying to persuade then-FBI Director James Comey to drop an investigation of Michael Flynn, the President’€™s first national security adviser.

Mr Flynn resigned in February after disclosures that he had discussed US sanctions on Russia with the Russian ambassador to the United States before Trump took office and misled Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.

Mr Priebus, who was Republican National Committee chairman during the campaign, became White House chief of staff upon Mr Trump’s taking office in January.

He resigned in July after major pieces of legislation on Mr Trump’s agenda failed to pass Congress.


منبع مطلب :

Bride-to-be fears wedding will be cancelled after British couple's 'sex' photo leads to ban of ceremonies

A bride-to-be fears that her dream wedding on a Greek island may have to be cancelled after another couple posed in a photo seeming to show them in a sex act.

Gemma Hunter, 37, of Bradford, fears her special day with fiance Matthew Hewitt, 38, which has been booked at St Paul’s Chapel in Rhodes for August 2018, may have been scuppered by the “obscene” actions of another couple.

Matthew and Carly Lunn’s photo, appearing to perform a sex act at the sacred Greek monastery, went viral and now there is a suggestion of a ban on all foreign marriages on the island. The photo was said to be a joke.

Ms Hunter, a healthcare assistant, said the wedding was booked in May during a specially-arranged family trip where they fell for the chapel which was a “lovely place and just perfect”.

Ms Hunter, who is waiting for more information from her wedding planner, said: “Now it is all a bit of a shock.

“You imagine how it is all going to be and then to find out that it could all fall apart. We are in limbo.”

Estimating that her wedding party have spent around £20,000, she said: “It is all added stress. We thought we could get married abroad and there would be a wedding planner and it would be straigth forward.

“We do not know really what is going on. We have not been told that it has been officially cancelled.”

It has been reported that the mayor of Rhodes is due to make a final decision on the ban in the next couple of weeks.

Ms Hunter and Mr Hewitt have four children between them aged from eight to 11 years old, who were “really excited” about being part of the wedding.

She said: “I have not even told them to be honest that all this is going on and I cannot even show them the picture about why we might not be able to have the wedding there because it is obscene.”

She described the controversial image as “disrespectful”, adding “why would you think to do that in a religious setting?”

Giorgos Eleftheriou, president of Lindos community in Rhodes, told The Times: “I have hundreds of soon-to-be brides from Britain and all over the world calling me today in tears because of this decision. It’s a huge damper on our society here.

“We are one of the most famous wedding destinations in the world and we are booked solid through to 2021.”


منبع مطلب :

Michael Jordan subtly calls his own NBA team ‘garbage’

Oct. 13 (UPI) — The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are expected to return to the NBA Finals. Michael Jordan says the NBA will have 28 garbage teams in 2017.

That might not win many fans for the Charlotte Hornets owner, who is likely including his own team on that list.

Jordan recently did an interview with Cigar Aficionado magazine. He spoke about today’s NBA, yesterday’s NBA and of course, cigars.

“I think it’s going to hurt the overall aspect of the league from a competitive standpoint,” Jordan told Cigar Aficionado. “You’re going to have one or two teams that are going to be great, and another 28 teams that are going to be garbage. Or they’re going to have a tough time surviving in the business environment.”

Jordan was puffing pre-Castro H. Upmanns. He said he smokes six cigars per day.

The Basketball Hall of Famer also said he doesn’t plan on coaching. Jordan’s Hornets were 36-46 last season and have made the playoffs twice during his tenure. The team’s best record since 2010 was the 48-34 mark it posted in 2015.

Jordan also talked about his golf game, Tiger Woods and visiting Cuba.

منبع مطلب :

Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers playing as scheduled despite wildfires

Oct. 13 (UPI) — Sunday’s game between the Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers will be played as previously scheduled.

The Raiders released a statement clarifying the game-time of 1:25 p.m. on Friday. The contest will be at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

“Sunday’s game against the Chargers remains scheduled for 1:25 p.m. at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum,” the Raiders said in the statement. “We will continue to monitor air quality conditions in the Bay Area and will update the public with any changes via our social media channels.”

The Northern California wildfires have killed at least 27 people and made the air quality poor in California’s wine country region.

“We continue to monitor air quality conditions in the Bay Area and are in close communication with both the Raiders and Chargers, as well as local authorities,” NFL spokesman Michael Signora said in a statement. “At this point, the game remains scheduled for Sunday in Oakland.”

Oakland changed its practice time on Thursday, but cut the session short because of air quality.

Players wore masks at Thursday’s practice.

A spokesperson from the San Diego Mayor’s office said the city would welcome the Chargers in hosting the contest.

“We are always happy to help other cities during times like these,” Kevin Faulconer’s chief of staff Aimee Fawcett told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The Chargers and Raiders face off for the second time this season on Dec. 31.

Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano told reporters Thursday that more than 450 people were still missing in the county.

منبع مطلب :

Special counsel Mueller’s team interviews Priebus

Oct. 13 (UPI) — Special counsel Robert Mueller‘s team interviewed former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus on Friday, his lawyer said.

William Burck said Priebus’ interview took place at Mueller’s office.

“Mr. Priebus was voluntarily interviewed by Special Counsel Mueller’s team today. He was happy to answer all of their questions,” Burck said.

The team’s interview of Priebus was expected after two unnamed sources told CNN investigators would begin talking to current and former White House staff about the probe in the coming weeks. The team also spoke to National Security Council chief of staff Keith Kellogg recently.

Mueller has said he’s interested in also speaking to former press secretary Sean Spicer, communications director Hope Hicks, White House counsel Don McGahn, communications adviser Josh Raffel and associate counsel James Burnham.

Mueller is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, as well as the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and a statement Trump made about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a lawyer at one time linked to the Russian government, Politico reported.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller, former director of the FBI, to lead the FBI investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself.

منبع مطلب :

Trump threatens to rip up Iran nuclear deal unless US and allies fix ‘serious flaws’

Donald Trump has threatened to terminate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal if Congress and US allies fail to amend the agreement in significant ways.

In a vituperative speech on Friday that began by listing Iran’s alleged crimes over the decades, Trump announced he would not continue to certify the agreement to Congress, but stopped short of immediately cancelling US participation in the deal.

“Based on the factual record I have put forward, I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification. We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout,” Trump said at the White House.

Trump put the onus on Congress and US allies to agree to means to toughen the conditions on Iran – and to make restriction on the country’s nuclear programme permanent. He made clear that if those negotiations fail to reach a solution – which is almost certain – he would unilaterally pull the US out of the international agreement, a move likely to lead to a return to nuclear confrontation in the Middle East.

“In the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated,” Trump said. “It is under continuous review and our participation can be cancelled by me, as president, at any time.”

The president also announced he had ordered the US Treasury to impose new sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a backer of terrorist groups in the region, although the state department did not designate the IRGC as a terrorist group itself.

The international backlash to Trump’s speech was immediate. The leaders of the UK, France and Germany – also signatories of the nuclear deal – issued a statement vowing their commitment to the agreement.

The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, insisted that the agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was working, and that no single country or leader could terminate it.

“The president of the United States has many powers, but not this one,” Mogherini told reporters in Brussels.

Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog, issued a statement restating the agency’s finding that Iran was abiding by its obligations.

Within minutes of Trump’s speech, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, went live on state television.

He said: “What we heard tonight was a repeat of the same baseless accusations and insults that we’ve heard over the past 40 years. It had nothing new; we weren’t surprised because for 40 years we’ve got used to these words. With your baseless speech you made our people more united.”

Rouhani went on: “Today, the US is more isolated than ever against the nuclear deal, [more] isolated than any other time in its plots against people of Iran.”

The Iranian president shrugged off Trump’s call for constraints on Iran’s ballistic missile programme.

“Our missile and defence activities have always been important to us for our defence, and today it’s more important,” Rouhani said. “We have always made efforts to produce weapons that we need, and from now on we will double our efforts. These weapons are for our defence and we will continue strengthening our defence capabilities.”

Trump received rapid support, meanwhile, from Israel and Saudi Arabia, who have emerged as his own major allies on the world stage.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said he wanted to “congratulate President Trump for his courageous decision today” and for “boldly confront[ing] Iran’s terrorist regime”.

For European diplomats seeking to salvage the JCPOA, the days leading up to Trump’s long-awaited speech were a roller-coaster. Initially fearful that Trump could immediately trigger a possible collapse of the deal, the Europeans were buoyed when they were briefed that Trump would not call for the reimposition of sanctions by Congress.

However, in the wake of the president’s speech on Friday, the JCPOA’s survival looked tenuous.

In the speech, Trump declared: “I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws so the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons.”

He noted that congressional leaders were already drafting amendments to legislation that would include restrictions on ballistic missiles and make the curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme under the 2015 deal permanent, and to reimpose sanctions instantly if those restrictions were breached.

However, any such changes would need 60 votes in the US Senate to pass, and Democrats are high unlikely to give them their backing. Even if they did pass into law, the restrictions would represent a unilateral effort to change the accord that would not be acceptable to the other national signatories.

Hours earlier, the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson had acknowledged that it was very unlikely that the JCPOA agreement could be change, but suggested that the issue of Iran’s ballistic missile programme and the time limits on some of the nuclear constraints in the deal, could be dealt with in a separate agreement that could exist alongside the JCPOA.

Trump, however, made no reference to such a way out of the looming impasse.

He appeared to go out of his way to goad Iran, even linking Tehran with al-Qaida and the attacks on US embassies in 1998. He referred to Tehran as a “fanatical regime” and a “dictatorship”. He even referred to the body of water almost universally known as the Persian Gulf as the Arabian Gulf.

“How come a president has not yet learned the name of a famous gulf in the world, the same Persian Gulf that US vessels always pass through aimlessly?” a riled Rouhani said in his response.

“He needs to study geography, but also international law. How come an international agreement that is endorsed by a UN resolution, which is a UN document … how a US president can annul such an international document?”

The exchange of insults mirrored Trump’s continuing spat with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, adding personal animus to already tense situations on opposite sides of the world.

منبع مطلب :

I did not ‘hunt’ for Harvey Weinstein, claims alleged fixer

In the week that allegations against Harvey Weinstein rocked Hollywood, Fabrizio Lombardo has emerged as a central figure in the scandal – the so-called “Italian connection” accused of enabling the American producer’s alleged sexual harassment and abuses.

Two women – Asia Argento and Zoë Brock – have claimed that Lombardo, who formerly worked as a Miramax executive in Italy, helped set up encounters with Weinstein under false pretences.

Argento, an Italian actor, has accused Lombardo of leading her to Weinstein’s suite in the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in the south of France in 1997, after he falsely told her she would be attending a party. When they arrived at the room she found the movie mogul alone, and Argento alleges the meeting led to her being raped by Weinstein.

Brock, a model and writer from New Zealand, said Weinstein made unwanted sexual advances when she was 23 years old, and that Lombardo was part of the “pack of hyenas” who would “hunt” for him, enabling the producer’s alleged abuses.

Sitting in his attorney’s office in Rome, in an old palazzo tucked between the Tiber and the Vatican, an old picture of Federico Fellini and Robert De Niro leaning against the wall, Lombardo responded to the multiple allegations with a mix of irritated incredulity and steadfast denials.

“I did not hunt for him,” Lombardo said in direct response to Brock’s allegation. “It is not my style … it is not my relationship with Weinstein,” he added.

For decades, Weinstein was a Hollywood kingmaker. He is now facing allegations of sexual misconduct from more than two dozen women, and three allegations of rape. Weinstein has “unequivocally denied” any “allegations of non-consensual sex” and has said he is hoping to get a “second chance”.

But as more stories of his allegedly predatory behaviour emerge, so too are questions about the people in Weinstein’s intimate circle who may have known and indeed helped the producer to gain physical access to young and unsuspecting women.

Among many questions about Lombardo’s relationship with Weinstein is what role he played at Miramax, which reportedly continued to pay the Italian executive for months after the production company’s short-lived Italy office was closed in 2003, according to an account that was published in 2004 by the New York Times.

Lombardo emphatically denies that he ever brought a then-21-year-old Argento to Weinstein’s suite in 1997, when they were attending the Cannes film festival. He also said he could not recall having ever met Brock, although the model told the Guardian that Lombardo invited her to his home in Rome, which he shared with his then-girlfriend and where she once spent the night.

Lombardo rejected the notion that any single man can enable another man’s sexual abuse of a woman by bringing the woman to an abuser’s hotel room.

“So you can’t complain with the driver or with the doorman of the hotel who sends the woman up, you see what I mean?” Lombardo said.

Weinstein, Lombardo said, would not have needed him to meet women or anyone else. “He can pick up the phone and have lunch or dinner with whoever he wants,” he added.

He denied any knowledge of Weinstein’s sexual activities, saying that such things were not discussed among men, especially situations in which a man might be rejected by a woman.

In an hour-long interview, Lombardo acknowledged, however, that he had introduced the media mogul to “countless” people over the years. He said meetings took place in Weinstein’s hotel suites because he and the people he met with were famous.

Asked whether he ever questioned what Weinstein’s intentions might have been when he met young women privately, Lombardo said: “You cannot talk about [intentions]. Out of 1,000 people, to know his intentions with three people, I don’t know … it’s impossible.”

Hillary Clinton says she was ‘shocked and appalled’ by Weinstein allegations – video

Pressed about whether he knew what was happening behind closed doors, he claimed: “But you are joking. Of course not.” He said: “What world are you talking about?” and added that Guardian journalists had a biased view of men.

The allegations against Weinstein have “shocked” him, Lombardo said, but he declined to comment further.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton said she found Weinstein’s alleged behaviour “disgusting” and said the woman who have stepped forward should be “commended” for their courage. Asked how she felt when she first read the allegations of sexual assault by Weinstein who had helped raise substantial sums for her and Barack Obama, she responded: “I was shocked and appalled because I had known him through politics as many Democrats had, he’s been a supporter, he’s been a funder, for all of us for Obama, for me, people who’ve run for office in the United States.

“It was just disgusting and the stories that have come out are heartbreaking and I really commend the women who have been willing to step forward and tell their stories,” she told the Andrew Marr programme. But she said society had to do something to make sure this type of alleged behaviour was not tolerated in any sector including politics.

Brock, 43, alleged that Weinstein made unwanted sexual advances at Cannes film festival in 1997. She told the Guardian she had been in Weinstein’s hotel room with a few other people when they left, leaving her “suddenly … alone in a remote hotel suite with Harvey fucking Weinstein”. She alleged that Weinstein took his clothes off and asked her for a massage, forcing her to run into a bathroom to escape.

She said what most disturbed her was how a network of men, including Lombardo, had allegedly enabled Weinstein on the night of her encounter, seemingly setting her up to be one-on-one in the hotel.

“They went behind my back, betrayed me and organised a date with the guy. That was just horrifying to me,” she said. “That is the most sinister thing. We’re all used to predators working alone, but when they band up like a pack of hyenas, that’s a whole other ballgame.”

She said of Weinstein’s links to Lombardo: “That is scary that a man is that powerful that he can convince other people to hunt for him … What does that say about society? What does that say about humanity that we would do that? It’s so disturbing to me.”

Argento has also pointed a finger of blame at Lombardo, who she said took her to Weinstein’s room when she was 21, in 1997, and claimed it was a Miramax party.

Asia Argento

Fabrizio Lombardo brought me to Weinstein’s room when I was 21 in ’97. He told me it was a Miramax party. Only Harvey was there.

October 11, 2017

She told the New Yorker that when she questioned why no one else was there, Lombardo – referred to in the article as “the producer” – said they had arrived “too early”, before leaving her alone. The alleged rape occurred after he left.

Lombardo contacted Argento for the first time in years last week. On 5 October, the day the New York Times broke the story of Weinstein’s alleged serial abuse and harassment, Lombardo sent Argento two messages on Whatsapp that he claimed were jokes. In one, a man wakes up next to a woman in bed after a night of drinking and tries to escape what he believes to be a bad one-night stand, only to see a photograph of the woman downstairs. She’s his wife. In another alleged joke, former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi – who is known for having had “bunga bunga” sex parties with young women – is pictured with a car and a licence plate that reads “escort”.

In an earlier interview with Lombardo’s attorney, Bruno della Ragione, the attorney joked that Argento was the “virgin of 2017”. He also suggested that Weinstein’s rapid downfall could be the result of a financial conspiracy against the producer.

Asia Argento

This is another message I received from “producer” Fabrizio Lombardo last Thursday #nutsandsluts

October 11, 2017

Lombardo said he sent the messages to Argento by accident. Pulling out his iPhone, he showed a reporter how he regularly sends memes and jokes to his contacts, and that he unwittingly sent the two to Argento, coincidentally as the Weinstein story was breaking.

“I sent it by mistake. Maybe hers was close to another name,” he said.

Underlying some of the allegations are broader questions about Lombardo’s role at Miramax. The former executive said he first met Weinstein when the two used to vacation on the Caribbean island of St Barts where Weinstein would stay with his family and Lombardo was with friends.

Lombardo was hired by Miramax to head the company’s Italian division a few years after they met. According to the New York Times, Miramax paid Lombardo, who was described by the paper as a “longtime friend” of Weinstein, for months after the Italy division was closed, even though he held another full-time job at a real estate company.

Miramax’s decision to hire Lombardo in 1999 was controversial, according to the New York Times. He had scant experience in the film industry, but Weinstein insisted he be brought on board.

منبع مطلب :

Terrorist couple argued who was more radical, mulled stabbing spree as wedding gift, UK court hears

Ummariyat Mirza, 21, was reportedly given a hunting knife as a gift from his pregnant wife Madihah Taheer, also 21, as well as a life-size mannequin and a training knife to practice for the terrorist attack.

Mirza, from Alum Rock, Birmingham, and Taheer were married in April of last year, however messages between the couple before they were wed revealed Taheer’s wish to travel to Syria after reading a woman’s account of life with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). “OMG man. She made me want it so bad,” she wrote.

The court heard how Mirza offered to stab people as a wedding present for his bride after Taheer told him to “put a ring on it” if he wanted her “list” of people she wanted him to “kill.”

Facebook messages read out in court showed the couple bickered over who was more “radical,” with Taheer claiming she had seen a picture of their “khalifa” (leader) before her husband and “therefore I am more radical.” To which Mirza countered by claiming she became the jihadist’s “student” only after he had introduced her to “Twitter and jihad.”

Other exchanges on the social networking site show the couple had a debate over whether Mirza should buy a £300 (US$400) knife. “We’ve got bills to pay man, baby’s thing to get. Have to be sensible and think with a straight head. Can u not use any dishum [knife]. It doesn’t have to be bloody state of the art.”

READ MORE: UK parliament proposes new ‘backup’ House of Commons chamber in case of terror attack or fire

“She’s not complaining about the fact that he is buying a knife or what it is for,” said the prosecution, John McGuinness QC, to the jury.

Mirza has pleaded guilty to planning the attack, while Taheer has denied knowing his intentions. The trial continues at Woolwich Crown Court.

منبع مطلب :