Mulvaney again denies Trump-Ukraine quid pro quo

Washington (CNN)Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Sunday aggressively denied that he admitted last week a quid pro quo between President Donald Trump and Ukraine, saying again that he was misunderstood and that no such agreement occurred. He continued: “I did then mention that in the past the President had mentioned to me, from time to time, about the DNC server, he’s mentioned the DNC server to other people publicly, he even mentioned it to President (Volodymyr) Zelensky in the phone call — but it wasn’t connected to the aid and that’s where I think people got side tracked this weekend at the press conference.” Wallace argued that “anyone listening to what (Mulvaney) said in that briefing …

Trump’s fury rises with key impeachment inquiry testimony on the horizon

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump’s frustration with the Democratic impeachment probe is boiling over, with investigators set Thursday to peel back yet another layer of what is being revealed as a broad, and possibly unlawful, behind-the-scenes scheme to pressure Ukraine for political gain. Sondland was a go-between linking Trump’s circle to the government in Kiev, amid allegations the White House conditioned incentives — including hundreds of dollars in military aid — on Ukraine’s willingness to open an investigation into the President’s possible 2020 foe, Joe Biden. The President’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is meanwhile slipping ever deeper into trouble, amid revelations about his go-it-alone Ukraine policy shop that could also come back to hurt Trump. CNN reported Wednesday that a federal inquiry …

‘American Taliban’ released from prison, a key case for questions about radicals re-entering society

(CNN)John Walker Lindh, the so-called “American Taliban” whose capture in Afghanistan riveted a country in the early days after the September 11 attacks, has been released from prison, authorities said. Raised in the suburbs north of San Francisco, Lindh took an interest in Islam at a young age, converting to the religion at 16 and moving to the Middle East to learn Arabic after finishing high school. In 2000, according to documentation of his interrogations, Lindh went to Pakistan and trained with a radical Islamic group there before moving to Afghanistan and joining the Taliban. Because he was not native to Afghanistan and did not speak the local languages, Lindh told investigators that he joined the “Arab group,” or al …

Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders commit to releasing medical records early

(CNN)Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden committed to publicly releasing his medical records before the Iowa caucuses after questions of whether the 76-year-old former vice president is fit for the rigors of the presidency and to take on President Donald Trump, aged 73, in a grueling 2020 campaign. A Biden spokesman confirmed to CNN that meant before the Iowa caucuses in February 2020. Biden had previously committed to releasing his medical records before the general election. “I mean there’s no reason for me not to release my medical records,” Biden told reporters Friday. Although the statesman would be the oldest US president to be sworn in for his first term, Biden is not the oldest candidate in the race for the …

GOP Trump challengers slam canceled primaries: ‘Only the weak fear competition’

(CNN)All three Republican primary challengers lambasted state GOP leaders — and President Donald Trump — for opting to cancel their 2020 presidential primary elections in a show of support for the President. It is not unprecedented for state Republicans or Democrats to decide not to hold a presidential primary when an incumbent is running essentially uncontested. In South Carolina, a key early primary state, Republicans decided to nix their presidential primaries in 1984 and 2004, when Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were up for their second terms, while state Democrats skipped their contests in 1996 and 2012, with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama running for reelection. “Each of us believes we can best lead the party. So does the …

Kamala Harris apologizes amid criticism of her response to a questioner’s offensive remark about Trump

Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN)Sen. Kamala Harris apologized Saturday following criticism that the California Democrat and presidential candidate laughed and responded, “Well said,” to a lengthy question from a voter who had called President Donald Trump’s actions “mentally retarded.” “Somehow a racist bigot gets into the White House and then he says if you’re not my color you need to go back to your own country,” said the man, who spoke with a thick accent. “So I am scared for this country. I am scared for the people of color in this country.” He then asked Harris what she would do, “in the next one year, to diminish the mentally retarded action of this guy?” The man received a round of …

Depth of Field: The Movie Poster Brexit Deserves

Photographs, Susan Sontag once famously wrote, “fiddle with the scale of the world.” They tell us only a distortion. They are incomplete, even as they strive to render the frame whole and exact. That does not make them false. Exactly the opposite. Photographs invite meaning, possibility. The best photos, thick with narrative, sweat. It is true that a picture is worth a thousand words. It is also true that a picture is worth a thousand more pictures. One image gives way to another. What are photographs but gateways into parallel realms, memories resurrected, passageways into the familiar? What we see, we have already seen. John MacDougall’s portrait-style capture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson—taken during …

Washington Post: Republican congressman rebuked by county GOP forofficiating same-sex wedding

Washington (CNN)A Virginia county GOP committee rebuked US Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman for officiating a same-sex wedding, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. Riggleman is “proud of these two young people who found their life partner,” Chelak added. Still, Chelak said in the statement that “Congressman Riggleman has full confidence in the district committee and applauds their decision to continue to make the Republican Party an inclusive party of liberty and freedom for everyone.” CNN has reached out to the committee for comment. According to The Roanoke Times, the committee also attempted but ultimately failed to censure Riggleman on Saturday for similar reasons. Riggleman previously told the Post that he believed government should not be involved in marriage “at all, but …

Romney disagrees with GOP congressman’s conclusion on Trump’s ‘impeachable conduct’

Washington (CNN)Sen. Mitt Romney said Sunday that he disagrees with Rep. Justin Amash on the Michigan Republican’s recent comments that President Donald Trump’s conduct has met the “threshold for impeachment.” “I just don’t think that there is the full element that you need to prove an obstruction of justice case,” Romney said. “I don’t think impeachment is the right way to go.” On Saturday, Amash, a frequent Trump critic, said his thorough review of the Mueller report led him to conclude the President engaged in “impeachable conduct.” He was the first Republican to express support for impeachment. In a series of tweets, Amash also argued Attorney General Bill Barr initially misrepresented Mueller’s findings, echoing a top complaint from congressional Democrats. …

China’s Scientists Are the New Kids on the Arctic Block

For nearly a century, the Arctic has been a scientific playground for American, Canadian, and European researchers studying everything from magnetic fields to krill populations, as well as documenting rising temperatures and a changing climate. But with China increasingly expressing an interest in all things Arctic, a geopolitical storm is brewing. Traditional boundaries between science, commerce, and the military are melting as fast as the region’s sea ice. On Monday, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo scolded China for using civilian polar research to further its military and commercial goals, including opening up a new “Polar Silk Road” for trade and shipping. “China’s words and actions raise doubts about its intentions,” Pompeo said in Rovaniemi, Finland, where the eight members …

Former House members oppose President’s emergency declaration for wall in new court filing

(CNN)A bipartisan group of more than 100 former members of the House of Representatives filed a court brief Tuesday in a case challenging the President’s national emergency declaration. Among the points laid out in the brief, the former lawmakers refute the idea that there’s a national emergency at the southern border. “Emergencies are sudden and immediate, not longstanding and static,” the brief says, noting that Trump had called for a wall dating back to the start of his campaign in 2015. Among those who joined the briefing today are former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt and two former House members and Secretaries of Defense Bill Cohen and Leon Panetta. A day earlier, eight former House general counsels who served under …