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Daily Mail defends story linking Israel's Barak to Epstein

Daily Mail defends story linking Israel's Barak to EpsteinThe popular British tabloid The Daily Mail on Thursday defended a decision to publish photos in the US of one of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election rivals entering the mansion of disgraced American financier Jeffrey Epstein in 2016. Ehud Barak’s lawyers wrote to the British company’s US-based website on Wednesday demanding it remove Tuesday’s story and pay “substantial damages to vindicate his reputation and compensate him”. The newspaper’s US website ran photos of four young women separately entering Epstein’s New York residence around the same time as Barak himself went in.



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Pence's chief of staff defends Trump's racist tweets, becoming the first White House official to comment on them

Pence's chief of staff defends Trump's racist tweets, becoming the first White House official to comment on themThe VP's chief of staff is the first White House official to speak publicly about the president's racist tweets directed at congresswomen of color.



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Donald Trump defends Acosta role in plea deal involving accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein

Donald Trump defends Acosta role in plea deal involving accused sex trafficker Jeffrey EpsteinPresident Donald Trump defended Labor Secretary Alex Acosta amid calls for his resignation over his role in cutting a plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein.



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Donald Trump defends Alex Acosta as fallout from Jeffrey Epstein case spreads

Donald Trump defends Alex Acosta as fallout from Jeffrey Epstein case spreadsDonald Trump’s labour secretary is facing mounting calls to resign over his role in the decade-long saga of accused sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, as powerful men across America scrambled to distance themselves from the financier. Alex Acosta was the US attorney for Southern Florida when, in 2008, he agreed to a non-prosecution deal aggressively pushed by Epstein’s high-powered legal team. Epstein, 66, was accused of procuring girls as young as 14 to visit his mansion, and paying them to perform massages, which then turned into sexual acts. Epstein pleaded guilty to a state charge of soliciting prostitution, paid a fine, registered as a sexual predator and served 13 months of an 18-month sentence. Much of the sentence was spent at Epstein’s Palm Beach office, under a work-release programme. No federal charges were filed. Epstein’s arrest on Saturday, and his appearance in court in New York on Monday, have shone an uncomfortable spotlight on Mr Acosta’s role in the story. Jeffrey Epstein in court in Manhattan on Monday, with his lawyers Martin Weinberg, left, and Marc Fernich. He pleaded not guilty On Tuesday Mr Trump praised his labour secretary’s record in the White House, and defended the embattled Cabinet member – one of the few who has been in his role from the beginning. "What happened with respect to 12 or 13 years ago – you know, if you go back and look at everybody's decisions, I would think you would probably find they wish they did it in a different way,” said Mr Trump. “I think there were a lot of people in that position not just him. We'll have to look very carefully but it was a decision made I think not by him but a lot of people." Mr Acosta insists that his deal ensured that Epstein faced a degree of punishment. "The crimes committed by Epstein are horrific, and I am pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence," tweeted Mr Acosta. "With the evidence available more than a decade ago, federal prosecutors insisted that Epstein go to jail, register as a sex offender and put the world on notice that he was a sexual predator," he continued. "Now that new evidence and additional testimony is available, the NY prosecution offers an important opportunity to more fully bring him to justice." Kellyanne Conway, Mr Trump’s senior advisor, also sprang to his defence, saying: “I hope we’re all paying attention to who the true perpetrator is here.” But the Democrats have seized on Mr Acosta’s involvement, and both Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, and Chuck Schumer, leader of the Senate, have called for him to resign. They claim that the 2008 deal was made without out informing Epstein’s accusers – a legal requirement. A series of articles in the Miami Herald in November led to court challenges to the deal Mr Acosta brokered. “@SecretaryAcosta must step down,” said Mrs Pelosi. “As US Attorney, he engaged in an unconscionable agreement w/ Jeffrey Epstein kept secret from courageous, young victims preventing them from seeking justice. This was known by @POTUS when he appointed him to the cabinet. AcostaResign” Mr Schumer went further, demanding that Mr Trump account for his own friendship with Epstein. In 2002 Mr Trump was asked about Epstein for a New York magazine profile, and was reported as responding: “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.” Mr Schumer said: “The president needs to answer for his relationship with Epstein. Epstein was reportedly a regular at the Mar-a-Lago club. ‘I don’t recall is not an acceptable answer in this case’, particularly given that Mr Trump appointed Mr Acosta.” Geoffrey Berman, US attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks during a news conference about the arrest of Epstein Mr Trump is attempting to distance himself from Epstein, saying on Tuesday: "I knew him like everyone in Palm Beach knew him. I had a falling out with him a long time ago, maybe 15 years ago. I was not a fan of his I can tell you.” Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, has said Mr Trump had “no relationship” with Epstein. Mrs Conway insisted that Mr Trump was unaware of the scandal and called the allegations “disgusting”. “I talked to the president this morning,” she said. “He hasn't talked or had contact with Epstein in years and years and years — and over a decade at least, he said. “And he, like everyone else, sees these charges, the description of these charges against Epstein, as completely unconscionable and obviously criminal. Disgusting, really.” Epstein’s address book, published by the website Gawker in 2015, listed Mr Trump’s contact information alongside that of hundreds of other people, including former president Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew. On Monday night Mr Clinton issued a statement saying he had taken four trips on the billionaire’s private plane, and made “one brief visit” to Epstein’s home in New York – alongside a “staff member and his security detail” – in 2002. Jeffrey Epstein's home in the Upper East Side of New York The $ 56 million (£45m) property, one of the largest private homes in Manhattan, featured photos of Woody Allen and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia on the wall, besides photos of Epstein with Mr Clinton. The two men also met at Clinton’s Harlem office “around the same time” as the apartment visit, the statement said. "President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York," said Angel Ureña, Mr Clinton’s spokesman. The statement did not mention that a former charity of Epstein’s, the C.O.U.Q. Foundation, donated $ 25,000 to Bill and Hillary Clinton’s charity in 2006 and was recently listed among past and present donors on the Clinton Foundation’s website.



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Biden apologizes for remarks about segregationists, defends civil rights record

Biden apologizes for remarks about segregationists, defends civil rights recordThe Democratic candidate also highlights his time in the Obama administration in a South Carolina address.



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Trump defends cost of having tanks and military planes at his July 4 celebration

Trump defends cost of having tanks and military planes at his July 4 celebrationOn the eve of his planned July 4 celebration in Washington, D.C., the president pushed back against criticism over the amount of money it is costing American taxpayers.



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Tucker Carlson Defends Don Jr. for Retweeting Birther-Style Kamala Harris Smear

Tucker Carlson Defends Don Jr. for Retweeting Birther-Style Kamala Harris SmearFox News host Tucker Carlson has rallied to the defense of Donald Trump Jr. for retweeting a birther-style smear of Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris, arguing on Tuesday night that the presidential son was merely echoing the skepticism many black voters have of Harris.Following Harris’ much-lauded primary debate performance last week, alt-right commentator Ali Alexander claimed that the California senator had no business commenting on racial issues because she wasn’t an “American Black” but “half Indian and half Jamaican.” Don Jr. would soon retweet—and later delete—Alexander’s post, with a spokesman saying he had simply been surprised to learn of Harris’ heritage. According to Carlson, it was not Don Jr.’s retweet that should have sparked condemnation—but Harris’ debate performance. “Sen. Kamala Harris clearly thinks she can become president of the United States by calling other people racists,” he said before showing a clip of Harris’ standout debate moment, in which she took former Vice President Joe Biden to task for opposing school busing during the 1970s. “Oh, barf,” Carlson muttered after playing the clip.Insisting that the media wants to pit “black against white” and “Kamala Harris versus Joe Biden,” Carlson claimed that real life was “far more complicated than that.” Stating that Biden’s strongest voter constituency is black voters while Harris’ is young, white and affluent, the Fox News host asserted that “many black voters appear skeptical of Kamala Harris.” (Post-debate polls, however, show Harris gaining on Biden due to a massive shift in black support.)“One of them recently tweeted that Harris' life story doesn't bear much resemblance to that of most African Americans,” Carlson said, referencing Alexander’s tweet. “Her parents were from India and Jamaica. Donald Trump Jr. retweeted that observation, and for that, CNN denounced him as a terrifying racist.”After showing footage of critics blasting Trump Jr. over the tweet, the conservative media star then took aim at CNN's Don Lemon for seemingly questioning whether Harris should identify herself as African-American several months ago. “This tape has been floating around Washington, and Don Lemon apparently has been calling other anchors—even on other channels—and asking them not to replay it because he's embarrassed of it,” Carlson mockingly said. “But we think you have a right to see it and you can decide for yourself if Don Lemon is also an anti-black racist.”During a CNN segment earlier this year, Lemon said Harris could brush away any criticism of her racial identity by saying “I’m black but I’m not African American,” noting that Jamaica isn’t America.“Here's Don Lemon telling you that Kamala Harris is not an African American,” Carlson concluded. “He thinks it's important that you know that, and yet that's not racist because Don Lemon is a democratic voter. That's the logic of identity politics.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get 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.



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Trump lashes out at New York’s attorney general and defends his shuttered family foundation

Trump lashes out at New York’s attorney general and defends his shuttered family foundationPresident Trump lashed out at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday, saying he uses the state attorney general "as a bludgeoning tool for his own purposes."



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Rosenstein Lashes Out at Obama and the Media, Defends Trump in First Remarks Since Mueller Report

Rosenstein Lashes Out at Obama and the Media, Defends Trump in First Remarks Since Mueller ReportREUTERS/Jonathan ErnstSpeaking publicly for the first time since the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections, Assistant Attorney General Rob Rosenstein did not mince words. In a prepared speech delivered to the Public Servants Dinner of the Armenian Bar Association, Rosenstein criticized the Obama administration for failing to act on what he says should have been a “real-time reaction to Russian hacking.” “The previous Administration chose not to publicize the full story about Russian computer hackers and social media trolls, and how they relate to a broader strategy to undermine America,” he said.But he saved his harshest criticism for the press, which he accused of blatantly sensationalizing the facts surrounding his involvement in the two-year inquiry. “Some of the nonsense that passes for breaking news today would not be worth the paper it was printed on, if anybody bothered to print it,” he said. “One silly question that I get from reporters is, ‘Is it true that you got angry and emotional a few times over the past few years?’ Heck yes! Didn’t you?”Rosenstein answered critics who say that he was complicit in what many believe was Attorney General William Barr’s filtering of the report. “I did pledge to do it right and take it to the appropriate conclusion,” he told those gathered. “I did not promise to report all results to the public, because grand jury investigations are ex parte proceedings. It is not our job to render conclusive factual findings. We just decide whether it is appropriate to file criminal charges.”Then he went further, addressing widespread criticism that he stood emotionless as Barr delivered remarks at a press conference the morning the redacted report was released. “Can you imagine if I did anything other than stand there at the press conference?” he asked. “Imagine the reaction and the commentary if I had smiled or grimaced. But you cannot avoid criticism. The only way you can avoid criticism in public service is if you stay home.”He only mentioned Trump once in the talk, praising the president’s approach to the law. “The rule of law is our most important principle,” Rosenstein said. “As President Trump pointed out, ‘We govern ourselves in accordance with the rule of law rather [than] … the whims of an elite few or the dictates of collective will.’”Rosenstein warned that the Russian meddling outlined in the Mueller report was just the beginning. “The bottom line is, there was overwhelming evidence that Russian operatives hacked American computers and defrauded American citizens,” he said, according to the official transcript of the speech. “And that is only the tip of the iceberg of a comprehensive Russian strategy to influence elections, promote social discord, and undermine America, just like they do in many other countries.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here



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Democrats 'may' pursue impeachment against Donald Trump as Giuliani defends president

Democrats 'may' pursue impeachment against Donald Trump as Giuliani defends presidentDonald Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said it would have been OK for the president to accept Russia's help in the campaign.



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