Trump pardons Drumstick, the national Thanksgiving turkey •Trump pardons DrumstickPresident Donald Trump participates in the 70th National Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Nov. 21, 2017. (Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters)What makes a good presidential turkey? Showmanship. A readiness to strut its stuff and gobble on command, yet enough restraint to stay on a table for the big photo op.Related SearchesPresident Trump Pardons TurkeyPardoned TurkeyPresident Pardons Turkey 2017So say a Minnesota turkey farmer and 4-H kids who raised the turkey that went to the White House for an official pardon from President Trump on Tuesday.The 40-pound Drumstick was presented to Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House Tuesday, where he was ceremoniously pardoned. Both Drumstick and Wishbone, the National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate “wingman,” will reside at their new home, Gobbler’s Rest, at Virginia Tech. (AP/Getty Images)See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Twitter and Tumblr.
Trump Allies Accused of ‘Another Desperate Attempt’ to Discredit ‘Pee Tape’ Dossier •Fusion GPS, the research firm that commissioned a dossier featuring explosive and salacious allegations over President Donald Trump’s links to Russia, has accused the president’s allies of “another desperate attempt” to discredit its findings. On Thursday, a federal court unsealed documents related to Fusion GPS’ bank records as part of an ongoing legal battle with the House Intelligence Committee.Related: Here’s What the ‘Golden Shower’ dossier now being investigated by Mueller claims about Trump and RussiaRelated SearchesDesperate Cheeto TrumpTrump Russia DossierTrump Dossier PdfDnc Paid For Trump DossierTrump Dossier ContentsReports in right-wing media have seized upon records showing that Fusion GPS gave money to multiple journalists last year, accusing the firm of paying reporters to publish stories corroborating the dossier. The Washington, D.C.–based firm was founded by two former reporters, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, and regularly employs journalists to dig up information. None of them, the firm insists, publish stories based on their findings.Trending: Who is Tamara Delbridge? Jeffrey Tambor Accused of Sexual Assault by Makeup Artist“Fusion GPS is a research firm set up by former investigative journalists,” Josh Levy, a lawyer for Fusion GPS, said in a statement. “As such, it sometimes works with contractors that have specialized skills seeking public information. Contractors are not permitted to publish any articles based on that work, and Fusion does not pay journalists to write stories.”The bank records were obtained following a subpoena from Republican House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, who Fusion GPS has accused of an abuse of power. Nunes recused himself from the Russia investigation in April amid allegations that he disclosed classified information but continues to sign off on subpoenas.“This is simply another desperate attempt by the president’s political allies to discredit Fusion’s work and divert attention from the question these committees are supposed to be investigating: the Trump campaign’s knowledge of Russian interference in the election,” Levy said.Donald Trump Don’t miss: Will Venezuela Be the Next Zimbabwe? Military Coup Against Maduro Is Very LikelyThe dossier, which alleged that Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 election and had extensive contacts with Trump campaign officials, has been taken seriously by the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller. While much of its claims remain unverified, including an allegation that Trump had Russian prostitutes urinate on a Moscow hotel room bed once slept on by Barack and Michelle Obama, its central thesis has been corroborated.Most of the unsealed transactions were redacted, with those that can be seen detailing payments made by two law firms. Perkins Cole, which represented Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, made a total of seven payments, from May 2016 to the end of December 2016, totaling just over $1.2 million. However, that number had already been publicly disclosed by Fusion GPS earlier this month, when Perkins Cole was revealed as one of the funders of the dossier. Trump, without evidence, tweeted that the dossier had cost $12 million. Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrumpNever seen such Republican ANGER & UNITY as I have concerning the lack of investigation on Clinton made Fake Dossier (now $12,000,000?),….Most popular: Trump Administration Doesn’t Care About Nazis: The U.S. Voted Against U.N. Resolution Condemning NazismThe other records unsealed Thursday detailed payments received from another law firm, BakerHostetler. The House Intelligence Committee, and specifically Nunes, has sought those records over allegations that Fusion GPS acted as an unregistered foreign agent for its work for BakerHostetler, which represented the Russian holding firm Prevezon in its defense of money laundering charges.The money laundering scheme was at the heart of the Magnitsky Act, named after tax accountant Sergei Magnitsky who uncovered an alleged $230 million tax fraud. Magnitsky later died in prison, leading the U.S. to pass a law freezing the assets of any Russians said to have been involved in his death.The bank records show that Fusion GPS was paid $523,651 by BakerHostetler between March 2016 and October 2016. Fusion GPS’s detractors, including Bill Browder, who spearheaded the passage of the Magnitsky Act, and Republican Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, have accused the firm of conducting a smear campaign on behalf of the Russian government to defeat the act.Fusion GPS has vehemently denied those charges, insisting, along with some Democrats, that the allegations are merely an attempt to undermine the dossier.This article was first written by Newsweek
Sports Trump Makes World’s Dumbest Feud Even Dumber• President Donald Trump escalated what has arguably been his most mindless feud yet by calling the father of a college basketball player “a poor man’s version of Don Kong, but without the hair” and “ungrateful fool.”President Donald Trump escalated what has arguably been his most mindless feud yet by calling the father of a college basketball player “a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair” and an “ungrateful fool.”Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence – IT WAS ME. Too bad! LaVar is just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair. Just think..Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump…LaVar, you could have spent the next 5 to 10 years during Thanksgiving with your son in China, but no NBA contract to support you. But remember LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It’s a really big deal, especially in China. Ungrateful fool! Trump’s tweets early Wednesday continue the president’s back-and-forth jeers with LaVar Ball, whose son LiAngelo Ball was one of three UCLA basketball players arrested in China on shoplifting charges earlier this month. The athletes were eventually released ― an outcome that Trump has very publicly taken credit for ― but Ball isn’t having any of it. Related SearchesLavar Ball Donald Trump FeudFeud Tv Show“Everybody wants to make it seem like [Trump] helped me out,” the elder Ball told ESPN last week. “I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn’t define him.”In response, the president fumed that he should have left the players in jail, a charge that the White House later walked back.Trump’s latest criticism seems to be in response to comments the elder Ball made on Monday night, that “if I was going to thank somebody, I’d probably thank President Xi.”Experts told the New York Times that the players probably would have been released without Trump’s help, because― contrary to the president’s claims― shoplifting isn’t a serious crime in China.The younger Ball and his teammates returned home last week, but they’ve been suspended indefinitely from the team.
SitRep: Navy Plane Down in Pacific • SitRep: Navy Plane Down in Pacific U.S. Army walking away form $6 billion battlefield comms network, Air Force says key surveillance plane too vulnerable against Russia By Paul McLeary with Adam Rawnsley Another Navy accident in the Pacific. A U.S. Navy transport plane carrying eleven people crashed in the Philippine Sea south of Japan on Wednesday as it flew to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, the U.S. Seventh Fleet said Wednesday.It was the fifth accident this year for the Seventh Fleet in the Western Pacific.Eight crewmembers have been rescued, with three more unaccounted for. The rescued personnel were transferred to the Reagan and are in “good condition,” the Navy said. The C-2 Greyhound, a propeller-powered transport plane, first entered service in the mid-1960s. It is slated to be replaced by the long-range tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft.A bad year for the Seventh Fleet. The crash comes just three months after the U.S.S. John S. McCain was rammed by an oil tanker near Singapore, killing ten sailors. In June, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine merchant vessel off the coast of Japan, killing seven sailors. In an accident report released this month, the Navy said the crashes were “avoidable” and came as the result of poor training and leadership.U.S. bombs North, East Africa. There have been new rounds of American airstrikes in Somalia and Libya, with the largest coming north of Mogadishu on Tuesday, killing over 100 al Shabab militants, according to the U.S. Africa Command. The strike was hardly unprecedented. In March 2016, a U.S. aircraft and drones killed more than 150 al Shabaab fighters in Somalia.Over in Libya, U.S. strikes hit Islamic State militants in Fuqaha, south of the former ISIS stronghold of Sirte on Nov. 17 and 19. There have been intermittent American strikes in Libya since Operation Odyssey Lightning in August and December 2016, when American aircraft conducted around 500 airstrikes, killing hundreds of militants.Nothing to see here, Pentagon says. Despite the increasing frequency of the strikes, especially in Somalia, “I do not believe necessarily there’s a ramp-up. It’s the density of targets is such that now there’s some opportunities to do those strikes,” Joint Staff Director Lt. Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie told reporters at the Pentagon last week. “As [the targets] become available and as we’re able to process them and vet them, we strike them,” he added.U.S. Army vulnerable to Russian hacking. The Army has concluded that its $6 billion battlefield communications system would likely be breached by Russia or China in the event of a big-power conflict, and is asking for least two years to come up with a new, more resilient system, FP’s Paul McLeary reports. Not only is the WIN-T system hackable, but “soldiers can’t set it up quickly and potentially move it in a hurry if they need to,” one Army official said. “So if I’m in more than one place for an extended period of time, I’m dead.”More trouble. Another once-venerated program that likely wouldn’t survive a fight with the Russians or Chinese is the U.S. Air Force’s Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS), which provides ground surveillance.“How will we fight and how will we close the kill chain in a highly contested environment,” in Europe, Air Force Gen. Mike Holmes said this week. “Our conclusion is, that none of those systems that were fielded now, including our current JSTARS or a replacement JSTARS would give us the capability to do that.”Ukraine. Reports indicate that president Trump might sign off on some $40 million worth of lethal arms sales to Ukraine in the coming weeks. Buzzfeed’s John Hudson spoke to some administration officials who told him that the key to persuading Trump is requiring Ukraine to pay for at least some of the equipment. “For Trump, it has to be a two-way deal,” a senior State Department official said. “Ukraine spends almost 7% of its GDP on defense, so it’s reasonable to expect Ukraine to pay for this.”Trump transgender ban. On Tuesday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland issued a preliminary injunction in Stone v. Trump, a case brought by the ACLU challenging Trump’s transgender military ban. It was the second federal judge to demand a halt to the Trump administration’s proposed transgender military ban finding that active-duty service members are “already suffering harmful consequences” because of the president’s policy.U.S. sanctions hit Chinese, North Korean companies. The Trump administration has slapped sanctions on 13 Chinese and North Korean organizations it says have conducted hundreds of millions of dollars in trade in recent years. The new sanctions demonstrate the Trump administration’s focus on hitting economic ties between China and North Korea as a way to pressure Pyongyang to back away from its ballistic missile and nuclear programs.Welcome to SitRep. As always, please send any tips, thoughts or national security events to email@example.com or via Twitter: @paulmcleary.Kim advisor gets shivved. Kim Jong-un has purged another senior North Korean military officer in his continuing effort to bring the country’s powerful armed services to heel. South Korean intelligence officials say that Kim has meted out unspecified punishments to former advisor and chief of the General Political Bureau of the army Vice Marshal Hwang Pyong So. The great escape. The U.N. Command in Korea has released footage of a North Korean soldier’s defection at the Panmunjom Joint Security Area where officials from the two Koreas meet face-to-face for talks. The video shows the Korean People’s Army soldier bolting across the border as his fellow troops open fire and briefly step across the Military Demarcation Line separating the two countries.He went to Jared. White House son-in-law-in-chief Jared Kushner is once again in a subject of interest for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian election meddling. Investigators from Mueller’s office are probing Kushner’s contacts with foreign governments as the Trump transition team tried to quash a U.N. resolution criticizing Israeli settlements in December 2016.Men behaving badly (yet again). Three uniformed service members from the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) are in trouble for their interactions with foreign women during President Trump’s recent trip through Asia, according to a scoop from the Washington Post. It’s unclear what that conduct consisted of or which country it took place in but troops assigned to the WHCA are tasked with the sensitive job of securing the classified communications of White House officials while abroad.Our man in Washington. How close is Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) to the Russian government? The New York Times reports that FBI agents have told the California congressman that Russian intelligence gave him a codename as far back as 2012 and considers him one of its sources. The revelation comes as part of a long profile of Rohrabacher, who’s finding it increasingly lonely to be the sole vocal defender of Russia in Congress as the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 election continues to roil American politics. Fake news. Google is tweaking its search algorithm to make sure that news site like the Russian government-run RT and Sputnik, frequently accused of peddling fake news and propaganda, appear lower in search results. CEO Eric Schmidt singled out the two companies as particular problems in a recent speech, saying that the company has had to be more vigilant about monitoring the content it offers to consumers because “with the data, from what we’ve seen from Russia in 2016 and with other actors around the world, we have to act”Cloud of suspicion. Europe is wondering where a cloud of radioactivity came from just as Russia has confirmed that an old nuclear facility in the Ural Mountains recently spewed out a burst of ruthenium 106 into the atmosphere. Authorities in France and Germany say the radioactivity spotted over Western Europe — harmless to human health and safety — likely came from Russia but Russia denies that the two incidents are related.Saad’s excellent adventure. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has returned to Beirut after leaving the country for Saudi Arabia to announce his resignation amidst what he claimed was a Hezbollah assassination plot against him and what skeptics say was a Saudi-prompted attempt to put political pressure on the the Iranian-backed terrorist group. Hariri stopped in France on his way back from Saudi Arabia, where French Presidential Emmanuel Macron has tried to defuse the political crisis brought about by Hariri’s attempted resignation. Iran in the machine. The U.S. has indicted an Iranian hacker it accuses of trying to shake down HBO for bitcoin blackmail money after stealing unaired HBO TV episodes and snagging a copy of scripts for forthcoming Game of Thrones shows. Prosecutors say Behzad Mesri allegedly worked for Iran’s military, hacking Israeli military and critical infrastructure systems before moving on to a career as a criminal trying to get HBO to pay $6 million to prevent the release of its content to the public.