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Celebrity dog seller says ear cropping is so they don’t get ripped during fights as government considers ban


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Celebrity dog seller says ear cropping is so they don’t get ripped during fights as government considers ban


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Why did Trump pick fights with Congress he was sure to lose?


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Chile’s Mapuche indigenous group fights for rights


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Trump Admin Fights Bill Punishing Turkey for Its Russian Deal

Trump Admin Fights Bill Punishing Turkey for Its Russian DealIn a detailed memo to senators, the Trump administration is fighting a bill that would punish Turkey for buying Russian missiles, arguing it would drive the countries closer together. Of note, Team Trump opposes a provision in the bill that would help Syrian Kurdish refugees immigrate to the United States. The case is laid out in a seven-page document obtained by The Daily Beast. The memo was sent by the State Department to Capitol Hill ahead of the Senate mark-up of a bill co-sponsored by Sens. Jim Risch (R-ID) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) titled “Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act.” That legislation, which passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee despite Team Trump’s opposition, would sanction Turkey for buying Russian surface-to-air missiles and would bar the U.S. from selling Turkey F-16 or F-35 fighter jets, including parts, until the country has fully abandoned the S-400 missile defense system it purchased from Russia. Aykan Erdemir of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies argued that the administration’s opposition to the bill is useful for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.“This would definitely encourage Erdogan to continue his transgressions,” Erdemir said. Are Impeachment Hearings Focused on the Wrong Country?The bill to punish Turkey comes in the wake of a sanctions package that passed after Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections. The “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA) mandated sanctions on countries that make major new purchases of Russian weapons. But despite the fact that Turkey’s deal with Russia fits the bill, the administration hasn’t imposed sanctions—enraging members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. Aaron Stein of the Foreign Policy Research Institute said the document sheds new light on the Trump administration’s opposition to the Hill’s sanctions. “It’s in far more detail than we’ve ever gotten,” Stein said. “They are legitimate criticisms of the bill, but the bill is probably going to happen because Donald Trump won’t take the deal. The art of the deal, the master of the deal is an effing moron. The thing to do is impose CAATSA and make this go away. It’s just that simple.” In the seven-page description of the Trump administration’s views—published below—the administration detailed a host of problems with the legislation. The administration argued that the legislation would “effectively terminate U.S.-Turkey defense trade,” which would increase Turkey’s reliance on Russia or “other adversary arms providers” for weapons. The bill would also “treat Turkey as a pariah in NATO, feeding a narrative that the Russian Federation would likely seek to amplify and exploit.” A State Department spokesperson said the U.S. government wants to keep the NATO relationship strong.“NATO is stronger with Turkey as a member, and has been for nearly 70 years,” the spokesperson said. “Turkey has been a significant contributor to NATO collective security for decades. One of Russia’s key strategic goals is to drive a wedge between NATO members; we are working to maintain strong cooperation within the Alliance. We remain deeply concerned with Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile system, and stress the S-400 and F-35 cannot coexist. We will continue to urge Turkey to ensure its defense investments adhere to the commitment all Allies made to pursue NATO interoperability.”The document also said the administration “opposes” a provision of the bill that would help Kurdish allies come to the U.S. as refugees more quickly. “The President has been clear on this Administration’s approach to refugees as reflected in the National Security Strategy of the United States,” the document says. The State Department document also raises concerns about a provision of the bill that would give Kurds access to Special Immigrant Visas—normally used to authorize travel to the U.S. for Iraqi and Afghan translators who faced retaliation because they helped American soldiers. According to the letter, the nine-month processing time for those visas is too short “to accommodate vital national security screening.” Kurdish fighters under the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces—which Turkey considers a terrorist group—fought side-by-side with U.S. special operations forces against ISIS in Syria and helped retake vast swaths of the country from the jihadist caliphate, including its former capital in Raqqa. But in October, Turkish forces invaded SDF-held territory in northern Syria after Trump pulled U.S. troops away from that part of the country. Human rights groups alleged that Turkish troops and allied Syrian militias committed war crimes against Kurdish civilians, leaving lawmakers furious. The Senate bill also includes sanctions against Halkbank, a Turkish bank accused of participating in a multi-billion-dollar sanctions-evasion operation on behalf of the Iranian government. Though the Trump administration already has the authority to level sanctions against Halkbank, it hasn’t done so—perplexing many observers of Trump’s Iran policy. The Justice Department, however, has charged Halkbank with helping Iran illegally access billions of dollars. And the chief of the DOJ’s National Security Division, John Demers, called it “one of the most serious Iran sanctions violations we have seen.” In just about every other instance, the Trump administration has taken an aggressive approach to enforcing Iran sanctions and targeting Tehran. The administration even declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to be a terrorist group earlier this year, which fed into acute tensions simmering in the Gulf. So the administration’s reticence on Halkbank is striking. Inside Trump’s Brewing Turkey Scandal, Starring Rudy GiulianiThe president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has done legal work for Reza Zarrab, a gold trader who pleaded guilty to participating in the sanctions-dodging scheme that allegedly involved Halkbank. Giuliani worked hard to keep Zarrab from having to make that plea; he reportedly pushed the Trump administration to send Zarrab back to Turkey as part of a prisoner swap. The bid failed, and Zarrab’s testimony about the sanctions-evasion scheme proved valuable to prosecutors.The Trump administration’s comments to Congress only gave boilerplate language opposing Congressional sanctions on the controversial bank. “[T]he sanctions on Halkbank are unnecessary because the Department of Treasury already possesses the authority to designate Halkbank, if appropriate,” the document said. “Purporting to require the President to impose sanctions on Halkbank, constrains the President’s authority to conduct foreign relations.” Erdemir, who helms the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ program on Turkey, said the administration’s opposition to mandated sanctions on Halkbank sends a message that would please Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “This is not just Erdogan and this one bank,” he said. “Overall, this would undermine U.S. sanctions because other entities and other governments would say, ‘OK, if Erdogan and Turkey and Halkbank can enjoy some level of impunity, maybe we can too.’” Overall, the document reflects the administration’s accommodative attitude toward Turkey. “They bet on Trump,” Stein said of the Erdogan government. “Their bet is paying off in the short term.”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.



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Trump Admin Fights Bill Punishing Turkey for Its Russian Deal

Trump Admin Fights Bill Punishing Turkey for Its Russian DealIn a detailed memo to senators, the Trump administration is fighting a bill that would punish Turkey for buying Russian missiles, arguing it would drive the countries closer together. Of note, Team Trump opposes a provision in the bill that would help Syrian Kurdish refugees immigrate to the United States. The case is laid out in a seven-page document obtained by The Daily Beast. The memo was sent by the State Department to Capitol Hill ahead of the Senate mark-up of a bill co-sponsored by Sens. Jim Risch (R-ID) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) titled “Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act.” That legislation, which passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee despite Team Trump’s opposition, would sanction Turkey for buying Russian surface-to-air missiles and would bar the U.S. from selling Turkey F-16 or F-35 fighter jets, including parts, until the country has fully abandoned the S-400 missile defense system it purchased from Russia. Aykan Erdemir of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies argued that the administration’s opposition to the bill is useful for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.“This would definitely encourage Erdogan to continue his transgressions,” Erdemir said. Are Impeachment Hearings Focused on the Wrong Country?The bill to punish Turkey comes in the wake of a sanctions package that passed after Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections. The “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA) mandated sanctions on countries that make major new purchases of Russian weapons. But despite the fact that Turkey’s deal with Russia fits the bill, the administration hasn’t imposed sanctions—enraging members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. Aaron Stein of the Foreign Policy Research Institute said the document sheds new light on the Trump administration’s opposition to the Hill’s sanctions. “It’s in far more detail than we’ve ever gotten,” Stein said. “They are legitimate criticisms of the bill, but the bill is probably going to happen because Donald Trump won’t take the deal. The art of the deal, the master of the deal is an effing moron. The thing to do is impose CAATSA and make this go away. It’s just that simple.” In the seven-page description of the Trump administration’s views—published below—the administration detailed a host of problems with the legislation. The administration argued that the legislation would “effectively terminate U.S.-Turkey defense trade,” which would increase Turkey’s reliance on Russia or “other adversary arms providers” for weapons. The bill would also “treat Turkey as a pariah in NATO, feeding a narrative that the Russian Federation would likely seek to amplify and exploit.” A State Department spokesperson said the U.S. government wants to keep the NATO relationship strong.“NATO is stronger with Turkey as a member, and has been for nearly 70 years,” the spokesperson said. “Turkey has been a significant contributor to NATO collective security for decades. One of Russia’s key strategic goals is to drive a wedge between NATO members; we are working to maintain strong cooperation within the Alliance. We remain deeply concerned with Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile system, and stress the S-400 and F-35 cannot coexist. We will continue to urge Turkey to ensure its defense investments adhere to the commitment all Allies made to pursue NATO interoperability.”The document also said the administration “opposes” a provision of the bill that would help Kurdish allies come to the U.S. as refugees more quickly. “The President has been clear on this Administration’s approach to refugees as reflected in the National Security Strategy of the United States,” the document says. The State Department document also raises concerns about a provision of the bill that would give Kurds access to Special Immigrant Visas—normally used to authorize travel to the U.S. for Iraqi and Afghan translators who faced retaliation because they helped American soldiers. According to the letter, the nine-month processing time for those visas is too short “to accommodate vital national security screening.” Kurdish fighters under the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces—which Turkey considers a terrorist group—fought side-by-side with U.S. special operations forces against ISIS in Syria and helped retake vast swaths of the country from the jihadist caliphate, including its former capital in Raqqa. But in October, Turkish forces invaded SDF-held territory in northern Syria after Trump pulled U.S. troops away from that part of the country. Human rights groups alleged that Turkish troops and allied Syrian militias committed war crimes against Kurdish civilians, leaving lawmakers furious. The Senate bill also includes sanctions against Halkbank, a Turkish bank accused of participating in a multi-billion-dollar sanctions-evasion operation on behalf of the Iranian government. Though the Trump administration already has the authority to level sanctions against Halkbank, it hasn’t done so—perplexing many observers of Trump’s Iran policy. The Justice Department, however, has charged Halkbank with helping Iran illegally access billions of dollars. And the chief of the DOJ’s National Security Division, John Demers, called it “one of the most serious Iran sanctions violations we have seen.” In just about every other instance, the Trump administration has taken an aggressive approach to enforcing Iran sanctions and targeting Tehran. The administration even declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to be a terrorist group earlier this year, which fed into acute tensions simmering in the Gulf. So the administration’s reticence on Halkbank is striking. Inside Trump’s Brewing Turkey Scandal, Starring Rudy GiulianiThe president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has done legal work for Reza Zarrab, a gold trader who pleaded guilty to participating in the sanctions-dodging scheme that allegedly involved Halkbank. Giuliani worked hard to keep Zarrab from having to make that plea; he reportedly pushed the Trump administration to send Zarrab back to Turkey as part of a prisoner swap. The bid failed, and Zarrab’s testimony about the sanctions-evasion scheme proved valuable to prosecutors.The Trump administration’s comments to Congress only gave boilerplate language opposing Congressional sanctions on the controversial bank. “[T]he sanctions on Halkbank are unnecessary because the Department of Treasury already possesses the authority to designate Halkbank, if appropriate,” the document said. “Purporting to require the President to impose sanctions on Halkbank, constrains the President’s authority to conduct foreign relations.” Erdemir, who helms the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ program on Turkey, said the administration’s opposition to mandated sanctions on Halkbank sends a message that would please Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “This is not just Erdogan and this one bank,” he said. “Overall, this would undermine U.S. sanctions because other entities and other governments would say, ‘OK, if Erdogan and Turkey and Halkbank can enjoy some level of impunity, maybe we can too.’” Overall, the document reflects the administration’s accommodative attitude toward Turkey. “They bet on Trump,” Stein said of the Erdogan government. “Their bet is paying off in the short term.”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.



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House Democrats Pass High-Water Mark in Fights Against Trump

House Democrats Pass High-Water Mark in Fights Against Trump(Bloomberg) — Democrats scored a series of damaging revelations about Donald Trump when they launched their impeachment investigation, but now they’ll begin a crucial election year with the challenge that the most dramatic moments are likely behind them.Even by the time Nancy Pelosi banged her speaker’s gavel on Trump’s impeachment — once for abuse of power, again for obstruction of Congress — the House chamber was full of history but devoid of excitement. Now the process has settled further into a languor that lawmakers attribute to the inevitability of the outcome.“I guess it was anti-climatic,” said Representative Mike Quigley, adding that the response he has heard in his solidly Democratic Illinois district has been positive. “At some point in time, people just came to expect this.”That means Democrats will head into 2020 as Trump has the last say in the impeachment process on the friendly turf of the Republican-led Senate. Months before he runs for re-election, and with the facts of the case already shrugged off by his supporters, Trump could conceivably enter the House chamber to deliver the State of the Union address on Feb. 4 with Republicans celebrating his rapid acquittal by the Senate.Pelosi’s TimingPelosi, who shrewdly calculated two years of Trump investigations and their political impact, suddenly appeared to be winging it Dec. 18 when she said she wouldn’t immediately send the impeachment articles to the Senate to start the trial. Some of her Democratic colleagues argued that she should cling to the last bit of leverage in the House’s final procedural steps to pressure Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold a fair trial.Lawmakers left town for the holidays last week with McConnell scoffing at Pelosi’s hesitation to send over what he described as an “unfair, unfinished product.” Leading up to the vote, Pelosi stressed the need to act quickly to curb Trump’s attempts to influence the 2020 elections, and she hasn’t fully explained why she will wait until January to name the impeachment managers who will present the House’s case in the Senate.“Sooner or later she’ll send them over,” McConnell said Monday on Fox News. “We’re ready to sit there and have the trial the Constitution requires.”The majority leader didn’t rule out calling witnesses during the trial, although he has opposed the idea in recent weeks.”We need to listen to arguments, have a written question period, and then based upon that decide which witnesses to call,” McConnell said. Referring to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, he said, “All I ask of Schumer is we treat Trump same as we treated Clinton.”Schumer, in a letter to fellow Senate Democrats on Monday, repeated his call for the Trump administration to produce a number of documents related to Trump’s discussions with Ukraine’s leader as well as the withholding of financial aid and a White House meeting sought by that country.Among the documents Schumer seeks are those involving Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who testified to the House that he couldn’t get access to many of his State Department records to refresh his memory about contacts with Ukrainian officials.Clinton TrialAfter the 1998 impeachment of Democratic President Bill Clinton, the then-Republican House named 13 House managers to prosecute the case in the Senate, including now-Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina. Pelosi is expected to name fewer managers, according to those familiar with her thinking, and has said she needs to know more about the structure of the Senate trial before picking names.Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff will likely be included as impeachment managers.McConnell last week dismissed the House’s impeachment inquiry as sloppy and rushed to meet a Democratic political timetable, but he’s refused to entertain demands from Schumer to call four current or former administration officials to testify in the Senate trail.The rules of the trial, over which U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts will preside, will ultimately be determined by a simple majority of 51 senators. That leaves the slight chance that four Republicans could join all Senate Democrats on some procedural demands.According to the Constitution, a two-thirds majority is needed to remove Trump from office, which would require at least 20 Republican senators to join the Democrats. McConnell already said that is “inconceivable.”Political FalloutBarring unforeseen new developments, last week’s “IMPEACHED” headlines in newspapers across the country will early next year turn to say “ACQUITTED,” an outcome sure to be trumpeted by the president.That leaves voters to decide Trump’s fate, in November. The political realities aren’t lost on Schumer, who’s already painting Republicans as part of Trump’s cover-up if they refuse to seek documents and testimony the president blocked from the House investigation.Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat said Sunday on CNN that Americans “are looking for a fair trial, not a fake trial.”The potential for political fallout is real, but it’s far from clear which party will pay a price, with voters closely divided, and highly dug in, on the question of impeachment.Assuming Pelosi eventually sends the articles of impeachment to the Senate, the impeachment managers will have a solemn and grand stage on which to prosecute their case. But unlike in the House, where chairmen could and did gavel down GOP requests, Republicans control the Senate floor. McConnell has made clear he has no intention of being impartial, despite an impeachment oath that has traditionally required senators to deliver “impartial justice.”If McConnell can keep his party united — and keep Trump from taking risks with a robust defense — the trial could last as little as two weeks. That would leave House Democrats simply reciting facts and assertions already aired in House proceedings. A dull and dour event with a swift conclusion would suit McConnell fine.Public interest in impeachment peaked after Pelosi announced a formal inquiry to investigate allegations, first reported by an intelligence community whistle-blower, that Trump sought politically motivated investigations from Ukraine in exchange for security aid that Congress had already approved.The rapid parade of House witnesses in October and November filled out details that were shocking, compelling and sometimes expletive-laden. But those revelations are now in the past, and the Senate trial promises less new information.‘High-Water Mark’There are risks for senators of both parties. One Democrat — Doug Jones of Alabama — is seeking re-election in one of Trump’s best states. He said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that he was looking beyond a “pure and political argument.”Two GOP senators — Susan Collins of Maine and Cory Gardner of Colorado — are running for re-election in states that voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Several other Republicans in battleground states are being targeted by Democrats who hope to net at least three seats to wrest back control of the chamber.A vote to acquit the president will tie Republicans to Trump’s presidency more than ever, while a vote by any Republicans to convict could mark the end of their political career.Some Republicans have already been telegraphing a third option: criticizing the president’s conduct as inappropriate but not worthy of undoing his election and tossing him from office. Polls have shown very few Republican voters want Trump tossed, but nearly half think he did something wrong.Presidential ContendersThe trial will also be complicated for the five Senate Democrats running for president. They’ll miss valuable time on the campaign trail as the first voters prepare to caucus in Iowa in early February. But the 2020 hopefuls will also be in the center of the biggest story in Washington with the opportunity to create a viral moment or two.Trump Investigation Guide: Impeachment, Inquiries, LawsuitsTrump, meanwhile, won’t face an end to investigations, even after impeachment is over. Democrats continue to wage court fights for his financial records and testimony regarding his administration and business dealings.“There are land mines laid out the next 14 months for this president, in terms of cases coming due and other information,” said Quigley, the Illinois Democrat.Arizona Representative Raul Grijalva, chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, also predicted that Democrats will continue to uncover misconduct by Trump, regardless of the impeachment process moving into the Senate.“We will be building on this high-water mark,” Grijalva said, looking ahead to the 2020 election. “And we’re going to need to.”(Updates with Schumer comments starting in 10th paragraph)\–With assistance from Teaganne Finn and Laura Litvan.To contact the reporters on this story: Billy House in Washington at bhouse5@bloomberg.net;Steven T. Dennis in Washington at sdennis17@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Kevin Whitelaw at kwhitelaw@bloomberg.net, Anna Edgerton, Ros KrasnyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Thai cave dive hero fights back tears as he tells court ‘life sentence with no parole’ inflicted by Elon Musk

Thai cave dive hero fights back tears as he tells court ‘life sentence with no parole’ inflicted by Elon MuskA British diver who helped rescue a dozen boys trapped in a cave in Thailand fought back tears as he told a court Elon Musk's "pedo guy" slur amounted to “a life sentence with no parole”.Vernon Unsworth choked up on Wednesday as he testified against the Tesla CEO during a defamation trial in Los Angeles.



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Acting Homeland Security Secretary McAleenan fights subpoena

Acting Homeland Security Secretary McAleenan fights subpoenaKevin McAleenan, the acting Homeland Security secretary, is challenging a subpoena to appear before a congressional committee to discuss terrorism threats to the U.S. on the day before he’s set to leave office. Kevin McAleenan sent a letter to House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson on Friday saying he was surprised and disappointed to get the subpoena a day earlier. McAleenan had suggested that the department’s top intelligence officer testify in his stead.



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‘I can’t think properly’: Assange fights back tears and struggles to say own name as he appears in court over US extradition

‘I can’t think properly’: Assange fights back tears and struggles to say own name as he appears in court over US extraditionJulian Assange appeared to fight back tears and said “I can’t think properly” as he faced court to fight extradition to the US.The Wikileaks founder also mumbled, paused and stuttered as he confirmed his name and date of birth at the beginning of the start of a case management hearing in London on Monday.



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