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Romney says Bolton revelations make it 'increasingly likely' Senate will call witnesses

Romney says Bolton revelations make it 'increasingly likely' Senate will call witnessesMitt Romney said he thinks new revelations from former Trump national security adviser John Bolton will increase the number of Republican senators who will vote in favor of calling at least Bolton to testify in the Senate impeachment trial.




POSTED JANUARY 27, 2020 10:59 AM

Navy SEAL Promoted After Choking Green Beret to Death

Navy SEAL Promoted After Choking Green Beret to DeathThe U.S. Navy promoted Chief Petty Officer Tony DeDolph four months after he admitted to choking a Green Beret to death. DeDolph—who will be back in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing—was formally charged in November 2018 with felony murder, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, burglary, hazing, and involuntary manslaughter in the strangulation death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, a Special Forces soldier assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group.Melgar was nearing the end of his deployment when he was killed in the West African nation of Mali in June 2017. He was part of an intelligence operation in Mali supporting counterterrorism efforts against al Qaeda’s local affiliate, known as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.Days after Melgar was strangled, DeDolph, at the time a petty officer first class, was sent back to his base in Virginia Beach under suspicion of murder. Despite that, DeDolph found himself on the promotion list for chief petty officer in August 2017; he was “frocked”—meaning he began wearing the insignia of the higher rank—on Sept. 15, 2017, according to defense officials. He didn’t start drawing chief’s pay until December.Slain Green Beret’s Widow Speaks: ‘I Knew They Were Lying’Three days before DeDolph’s promotion, the medical examiner’s report was signed. It concluded, based on a June 8, 2017, autopsy at Dover Air Force Base, that Melgar’s cause of death was asphyxiation and the manner of death was homicide, according to documents reviewed by The Daily Beast.A defense official familiar with the case said Naval Special Warfare Development Group, commonly known as Seal Team 6, didn’t flag DeDolph because he was not formally charged or a person of interest in an ongoing investigation. He was a participant in the investigation but no charges were filed until November 2018.Retired Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, the former commander of Special Operations Command-Africa, told The Daily Beast this week that he authorized an investigation after he learned of Melgar’s death. Bolduc alerted Army Criminal Investigation Command and told commanders in Mali to preserve evidence. He didn’t understand why DeDolph was promoted when he returned to his unit in Virginia Beach.“It is another failure of leadership,” Bolduc said. “I mean senior leadership. It’s unfortunate. He should have never been promoted. The investigation was started right away. They whisked them out of there as fast as they could.”When asked if he was surprised by the news, Bolduc said no.“I’m disappointed,” he said. “But not surprised. It’s utter bullshit.”Navy prosecutor Lt. Cmdr. Benjamin Garcia declined to comment on the promotion because DeDolph is part of an ongoing investigation.“DeDolph has remained a member of Naval Special Warfare throughout this process,” said Navy Capt. Tamara Lawrence, a spokeswoman for Naval Special Warfare. “It is paramount that the rights of the service member are protected, thus any additional information regarding this case will not be discussed.”Phil Stackhouse, DeDolph's civilian attorney, did not return calls or text messages seeking comment. Melgar’s widow, Michelle, declined to comment on the story.DeDolph’s case is just one of several high-profile incidents that have exposed issues in the SEAL culture. Members of SEAL Team 7 were expelled from Iraq in 2019 after allegations of drinking and sexual assault. Six SEALs tested positive for cocaine last year. Then there’s the case of Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward Gallagher, a former member of SEAL Team 7, who faced a court martial for war crimes charges including murder, but was convicted of posing for a picture with a dead body and granted clemency by President Trump in November 2019. Trump Tells Allies He Wants Absolved War Criminals to Campaign for HimSome of the same issues were present in Mali, where there was widespread alcohol use, partying, and prostitutes at the safehouse, according to sources familiar with the investigation. “It was like a frat house,” one source said, when asked to describe what the safe house in Bamako was like. In response to the recent incidents, Rear Adm. Collin Green, head of Naval Special Warfare Command, sent a memo last year to his subordinate units declaring the whole SEAL community has a problem.“Some of our subordinate formations have failed to maintain good order and discipline and as a result and for good reason, our NSW culture is being questioned,” Green wrote in the July 2019 memo. “I don’t know yet if we have a culture problem, I do know that we have a good order and discipline problem that must be addressed immediately.”Gen. Richard Clarke, the head of Special Operations Command, ordered an ethics review last August following several high-profile incidents. He acknowledged in a memo to service members on Tuesday that “unacceptable conduct” had been allowed to occur as a result of “lack of leadership, discipline and accountability.” The 71-page report summing up the ethics review warned of what Clarke described as an emphasis on “force employment and mission accomplishment over the routine activities that ensure leadership, accountability, and discipline.”Chief Petty Officer Adam C. Matthews, who was in Mali doing an assessment of the mission there, testified in August he felt it was his duty to haze Melgar—on DeDolph’s recommendation—to teach him a lesson after Melgar “ditched” the team in Mali’s capital city of Bamako on his way to a party at the French embassy. Investigator of Green Beret’s Murder Had Romantic Relationship With Witness, Lawyer SaysDeDolph, Matthews and two Marine Raiders—Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez and Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell—spent the rest of the night plotting to choke Melgar into unconsciousness, pull his pants down and videotape the incident and then show it to him later to embarrass him. When Melgar became unresponsive, Matthews and DeDolph tried to resuscitate Melgar with CPR and opened a hole in his throat. The SEALS with Sergeant First Class James Morris, Melgar’s supervisor, then rushed Melgar to a French medical facility, where he was pronounced dead. At the clinic, DeDolph admitted to an embassy official he choked Melgar, according to NBC News and subsequent reports.Maxwell and Matthews have already pleaded guilty in exchange for plea agreements with prosecutors. Matthews, 33, pleaded guilty to hazing and assault charges and attempts to cover up what happened to Melgar. He was sentenced in May 2019 to one year in military prison. Maxwell, 29, was sentenced to four years of confinement after pleading guilty in connection with Melgar’s death in June 2019.DeDolph and Madera-Rodriguez are the last of the four men who carried out the attack to stand trial. Both men are expected to face courts martial this spring. An exact date has not been selected, according to Navy officials.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.




POSTED JANUARY 28, 2020 8:06 PM

Kobe Bryant helicopter video emerges showing ill-fated flight minutes before crash

Kobe Bryant helicopter video emerges showing ill-fated flight minutes before crashA video that appears to show Kobe Bryant’s helicopter circling over California roughly 15 minutes before the fatal crash has been posted online, illustrating the foggy conditions faced by the chopper on its last flight.In the video, which was posted by a user on Twitter who said they live in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale — where Bryant’s flight circled for roughly 10 minutes on Sunday awaiting instruction, according to flight records — the helicopter can be seen moving slowly in the sky above, obscured by the early morning fog.




POSTED JANUARY 28, 2020 2:25 PM

Four co-workers in Germany contract coronavirus after Chinese colleague visits

Four co-workers in Germany contract coronavirus after Chinese colleague visitsFour people who work at the same company in southern Germany have been infected with the coronavirus, and one of them contracted it from a colleague visiting their workplace in China, officials said on Tuesday. The cases raise concerns about the spread of the flu-like virus that broke out in the central Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of last year and has killed 106 people and infected more than 2,800 people. In one of the first cases of person-to-person transmission outside China, a 33-year-old man apparently contracted the virus on Jan. 21 during a training session with a Chinese colleague, the ministry said.




POSTED JANUARY 27, 2020 8:45 PM

Key points in Trump's Mideast peace plan

Key points in Trump's Mideast peace planThe Mideast peace plan announced by President Donald Trump on Tuesday supports the Israeli position on nearly all of the most contentious issues in the decades-old conflict. Where previous presidents tried to cajole Israel and the Palestinians into compromising on thorny issues like the borders of a future Palestinian state, the status of Jerusalem and the fate of refugees, Trump's Mideast team largely adopted the Israeli position.




POSTED JANUARY 28, 2020 6:34 PM

China Demands Apology From Danish Newspaper Over Virus Cartoon

China Demands Apology From Danish Newspaper Over Virus Cartoon(Bloomberg) -- The Chinese Embassy to Denmark wants the newspaper Jyllands-Posten to apologize for publishing a drawing that depicts China’s flag with virus symbols instead of five stars.“We express our strong indignation and demand that Jyllands-Posten and [cartoonist] Niels Bo Bojesen reproach themselves for their mistake and publicly apologize to the Chinese people,” the embassy said in a statement posted on its website.When asked to comment, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen avoided any direct reference to Jyllands-Posten’s cartoon.“I have nothing to say on the matter other than [to note that] we have a very strong tradition in Denmark not just for freedom of speech but also for freedom of satire, and we’ll continue to have that in the future,” she said, according to multiple news media including Politiken. “This is a well known Danish position and we’re not going to change it.”Denmark’s largest newspaper has faced international backlash over its cartoons in the past. In 2005, the paper printed 12 drawings of the Prophet Muhammad, which angered many nations in which Islam is the main religion and sparked a diplomatic crisis. Back then, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen also defended freedom of speech and said governments had no place telling newspapers what to write.The Chinese flag was printed in the opinion section of the newspaper’s Monday edition with a caption titled “Corona virus”.Editor-in-Chief Jacob Nybroe said the paper won’t apologize.“We can’t apologize for something we don’t think is wrong,” Nybroe told news agency Ritzau. “We have no intention to demean or mock but we don’t think this drawing is doing that.”(Updates with comment from Denmark’s prime minister)To contact the reporter on this story: Morten Buttler in Copenhagen at mbuttler@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Christian Wienberg at cwienberg@bloomberg.net, Tasneem Hanfi BröggerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.




POSTED JANUARY 28, 2020 5:56 AM

A Dangerous Game: Russia and America Keep Flying Their Planes Near Each Other's Borders

A Dangerous Game: Russia and America Keep Flying Their Planes Near Each Other's BordersNuclear chicken anyone?




POSTED JANUARY 27, 2020 4:58 AM

Japan confirms virus in man who had not been to China

Japan confirms virus in man who had not been to ChinaJapanese authorities said Tuesday a man with no recent travel to China has contracted the novel strain of coronavirus -- apparently after driving tourists visiting from Wuhan, where a deadly outbreak began. The man in his sixties from Nara in western Japan drove two groups of Wuhan tourists earlier in January and was hospitalised on Saturday with flu-like symptoms, the health ministry said. Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said the country had confirmed two new cases, bringing the total so far in Japan to six.




POSTED JANUARY 28, 2020 5:13 AM

Harvard Chemistry Dept. Head Charged with Failing to Disclose Chinese Funding

Harvard Chemistry Dept. Head Charged with Failing to Disclose Chinese FundingThe head of Harvard University's chemistry department has been charged with failing to disclose funding from the Chinese government, according to an indictment unsealed on Tuesday.Charles Lieber, the department head, allegedly hid his participation in China's "thousand talents" program from officials in the Defense Department and the National Institutes of Health.China uses what it calls "talent plans" to encourage scientific research by providing government funding to select scientists. The U.S. government has charged a number of individuals funded by talent plans with attempting to steal U.S. intellectual property for the Chinese government."While association with a Talent Program is not illegal, it can create incentives to steal, violate export controls, or (at a minimum) conflicts of interest," said John Demers, chief of the national security division at the Justice Department, at a November presentation.In one case, the Justice Department revealed in November that federal agents in 2017 had stopped Haitao Xiang, a Missouri resident and employee of an agriculture-biotechnology company, from boarding a plane to China with a copy a proprietary algorithm belonging to his company.Also in November, the FBI admitted in a Senate hearing that it had not done enough to counter the threat of intellectual property theft by China."With our present-day knowledge of the threat from Chinese plans, we wish we had taken more rapid and comprehensive action in the past," said John Brown, assistant director of the counterintelligence division at the FBI, at the hearing. "The time to make up for that is now."




POSTED JANUARY 28, 2020 12:07 PM

McConnell: Republicans don't have the votes to block witnesses in impeachment trial, reports say

McConnell: Republicans don't have the votes to block witnesses in impeachment trial, reports sayMitch McConnell told Republicans that the GOP does not have the votes to block additional witnesses, according to multiple media reports.




POSTED JANUARY 28, 2020 7:46 PM

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