May 18, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) - East County Magazine's World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:
Trump investigation/special prosecutor
- Meet the legendary G-man investigating Russian meddling (Politico)
- Donald Trump slams ‘archaic’ Constitution that is ‘really bad’ for this country (UK Independent)
- Reporter arrested after repeatedly questioning Health secretary (The Hill)
- The Senate starts to look at Trump’s businesses (New Yorker)
- Acting FBI chief contradicts White House on Russia and Comey (New York Times)
- Trump warning to Comey prompts questions about tapes (New York Times)
- Russian mobster Felix Sater advised the Trump campaign (SternFacts)
- Treasury unit to share records with Senate for Trump-Russia probe: WSJ (Reuters)
- Trump team knew Flynn was under investigation before he came to White House (Wash. Post)
Other national news
- Tillerson signs international declaration recognizing climate change (The Hill)
- Senate unexpectedly fails to repeal key Obama climate policy (Grist)
- Amazon to build homeless shelter in its new Seattle HQ (CNN)
- The head of the Census resigned. It could be as serious as James Comey. (Time)
- Even a semester of full-time school may help college students (CS Monitor)
- Vermont Legislature Becomes First In Nation to Legalize Recreational Marijuana (Reason)
- Hanford nuclear site accident puts focus on aging U.S. facilities (Reuters)
- Dozens of countries hit by huge cyberextortion attack (AP)
- China's Xi lays out $900bn Silk Road vision amid claims of empire-building (Guardian)
- Yemen war: Emergency in Sanaa as cholera kills scores (BBC)
- Syria Has Been Burning Bodies To Hide Prison Executions For Years, U.S. Says (NPR)
- International inquiry finds sulfur mustard exposure in Syria (Reuters)
For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.
Trump investigation/special prosecutor
Soon after former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III was named special counsel to oversee the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion by associates of Donald Trump, the president put out a statement saying he looked forward to the inquiry’s speedy resolution.Trump clearly isn’t familiar with the management style of Mueller, the famously by-the-book former Marine, homicide squad supervisor and long-serving head of the nation’s premiere law enforcement agency.
Republican claims the checks and balances on power woven into the US system is to blame for his problems.
Dan Heyman, a reporter for Public News Service, said he was arrested at the West Virginia State Capitol after trying to ask Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price a question about the House-passed healthcare bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare as the secretary was entering the building.
The Senate starts to look at Trump’s businesses (New Yorker)
… More significant for the long term, perhaps, was another request made by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network..to turn over documents related to Trump and his campaign officials….the unit enforces money-laundering laws and is familiar with Donald Trump’s holdings, specifically the Taj Mahal casino, in Atlantic City.... In 2015, the Taj Mahal admitted to “willfully” violating the law by letting many suspicious transactions go unreported to the authorities, and agreed to pay a ten-million-dollar fine—one of the largest ever for a casino.
Acting FBI chief contradicts White House on Russia and Comey (New York Times)
The acting director of the F.B.I. contradicted the White House on two major issues on Thursday: the support of rank-and-file agents for the fired F.B.I. chief James B. Comey and the importance of the agency’s investigation into Russian election interference. In a striking repudiation of official White House statements, the acting director, Andrew G. McCabe, said the inquiry was “highly significant” and pledged to the Senate Intelligence Committee that the F.B.I. would resist any attempt to influence or hobble the investigation.“Simply put,” he said, “you cannot stop the men and women of the F.B.I. from doing the right thing.”
Trump warning to Comey prompts questions about tapes (New York Times)
President Trump on Friday warned James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director whom he fired this week, against leaking anything negative about him, saying that Mr. Comey “better hope” that there are no secret tapes of their conversations that the president could use in retaliation. The suggestion that the president may be surreptitiously recording his meetings or telephone calls added a twist at the end of a week that roiled Washington. The president and his spokesman later refused to say whether he tapes his visitors, something Mr. Trump was suspected of doing when he was in business in New York.
A Russian mobster named Felix Sater told the Moscow media that he met with Trump’s campaign before the election, and revealed intimate details about his relationship with the man who Donald Trump swears he doesn’t know… Sater’s admitted contact with the Trump campaign during the election culminated in an incident where he carried an abortive secret “peace plan” between Russia and the United States over Ukraine…secretly convicted felon Felix Sater worked for Donald J. Trump, and the new Russian interview reveals that he openly moonlighted in the Trump Organization as US secret agent for the FBI and CIA, after he was convicted racketeering with the New York mafia in 1998 — which took a Supreme Court ruling to reveal.
A unit of the U.S. Treasury Department that fights money laundering will provide financial records to an investigation by the Senate into possible ties between Russia and President Donald Trump and his associates, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday…
Michael T. Flynn told President Trump’s transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign, according to two people familiar with the case.Despite this warning, which came about a month after the Justice Department notified Mr. Flynn of the inquiry, Mr. Trump made Mr. Flynn his national security adviser. The job gave Mr. Flynn access to the president and nearly every secret held by American intelligence agencies.
Other national news
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed on Thursday a declaration acknowledging the threat posed by climate change to the Arctic and indicating the need for action to curb its impact on the region. The move appears at odds with the Trump administration's broad skepticism of climate change and comes at a time when President Trump is weighing a potential withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on fighting its effects.
On Wednesday, the Senate voted down a resolution to overturn restrictions on methane emissions…Wednesday’s surprise defeat demonstrates that the CRA is a fickle beast. Republican senators John McCain (Ariz.), Susan Collins (Maine), and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) all voted against the resolution.
…The new Mary's Place shelter will open in early 2020. It will also have a resource center like those the nonprofit offers in North Seattle and White Center, where 40-plus local nonprofits and volunteers work with staff to help families obtain employment and permanent housing.
… The results of the decennial Census—the next will be in 2020—will determine how state and federal political districts are drawn; which Americans are "counted" for representation; and how federal dollars, many of which are allocated on a per capita basis, are spent. The Founding Fathers believed so deeply in the importance of a comprehensive census that they included a legal requirement for it in the Constitution, a clause later underscored by the Fourteenth Amendment. We have carried out a national Census every ten years since 1790. Thompson's early departure has the potential to undermine that tradition.
A new study shows that community college students who attend school full-time for a semester are more likely to graduate – and engage positively at school – than those who do not.
Vermont [becomes] the first state in the nation to pass a legalization measure through its legislature rather than by ballot initiative.
The collapse of a tunnel used to store radioactive waste has raised concerns among watchdog groups and others who study the country's nuclear facilities because many are aging and fraught with problems.
Dozens of countries were hit with a huge cyberextortion attack Friday that locked up computers and held users’ files for ransom at a multitude of hospitals, companies and government agencies It was believed to the biggest attack of its kind ever recorded.
Speaking at the start of a high-profile summit about China’s “Belt and Road initiative”, Xi hailed his multi-billion dollar infrastructure crusade as a means of building a modern-day version of the ancient Silk Road and a new “golden age” of globalisation.
Hospitals in the capital, Sanaa, are overflowing with patients and scores of people have died. // The Red Cross says the number of suspected cases in the country has tripled in a week to more than 8,500.
"We believe that the building of a crematorium is an effort to cover up the extent of mass murders taking place" in a military prison outside Damascus, a State Department official said Monday.
Investigators from the global chemical weapons watchdog found that two Syrian women were exposed to sulfur mustard in an apparent attack in Aleppo province last September, a report to the United Nations Security Council said.