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'That little girl is me': Harris challenges Biden in key debate moment. Here are 4 other takeaways

'That little girl is me': Harris challenges Biden in key debate moment. Here are 4 other takeawaysKamala Harris' powerful story on race, Eric Swalwell calls on Joe Biden to pass the torch, Marianne Williamson goes viral and more top moments from the first Democratic debate in Miami.



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Is Trump Really Headed to War With Iran? Here is What Two Experts Think

Is Trump Really Headed to War With Iran? Here is What Two Experts ThinkAmerica’s policy of maximum pressure on Iran continues, with the U.S. Department of the Treasury announcing new sanctions on eight Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Commanders. That directive was tweeted during a luncheon event on Iran at the Center for the National Interest, which was moderated by Geoffrey Kemp, the Senior Director of Regional Security Programs at CFTNI who also served in the White House during the first Reagan administration as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs on the National Security Council Staff. The discussion focused on the ongoing crisis, Iran and America’s interests, and whether war could be avoided.“[Donald] Trump’s approach is self-defeating,” declared panelist Kenneth Pollack, Resident Scholar for Middle Eastern Political-Military Affairs at the American Enterprise Institute, and both a former Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs and a former Director for Persian Gulf Affairs at the National Security Council. Pollack explained that the hardliners keep claiming vindication, noting that they had warned that the United States might tear up the Iran deal. Pollack emphasized that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei started in the moderate camp but has drifted steadily toward a hardline position.At the time of the Iran Deal in 2015, there was a debate between “the pragmatists led by Rouhani” and “the hardliners led by the IRGC.” Those in favor of a deal thought of Iran’s problems are largely economic. President Hassan Rouhani believed that because the Iran Deal would allow Tehran to trade with the world again, it would fix Iran’s economic problems and remove the danger of war. This would secure the regime from external threats from America but also appeal to the Iranian people, thus making a revolt against the regime less likely.However, the hardliners argued that Washington could not be trusted and that Tehran was walking into a trap. “They said look this agreement is not gonna be worth the paper it is written on. The Americans will never honor it, they will never lift all the sanctions. They will cheat, they will refuse to honor it, and they will eventually walk away from it.”The second panelist, Paul Pillar, a former Chief of Analysis at the CIA's Counterterrorist Center and a contributing editor to The National Interest, warned that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s list of twelve demands to Iran was effectively an ultimatum that no independent country could ever adopt. According to Pillar, “It never was realistic that Iran would just sit there and take what was being dished out to them indefinitely, even though they did that for a year.”



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"I Fired a Warning Shot": Here Is What a Navy SEAL Sniper Testified at the Eddie Gallagher Trial

"I Fired a Warning Shot": Here Is What a Navy SEAL Sniper Testified at the Eddie Gallagher TrialNAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — A Navy SEAL sniper testified on Friday that he fired warning shots to scare away a civilian noncombatant in Mosul before Chief Eddie Gallagher fired and told them over the radio, "you guys missed him but I got him."Under direct examination by prosecutors, Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Dalton Tolbert recounted the alleged shooting of an old man along the Tigris river during the Battle of Mosul in 2017. At the time, Tolbert was a member of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon who was stationed in the south tower of a bombed out building, while Gallagher and others were stationed in the north tower.Tolbert testified that he was scanning windows along the riverbank searching for targets when he noticed a man moving closer to the river. As another SEAL explained in previous testimony, firing warning shots to keep civilians off the battlefield was a standard practice, according to their rules of engagement."I aimed to the side — far to the side — and fired," Tolbert testified. "I took the shot. The man got startled."The man then ran from the river to a nearby building and tried to go inside, but the door was locked, Tolbert said. "He ran north to south across the road," Tolbert said. "That's when I saw the red mark on his back and I saw him fall for the first time. Blood started to pool and I knew it was a square hit in the back." Over the radio, he said he heard Gallagher tell the other snipers, "you guys missed him but I got him."Tolbert said the man, who was wearing traditional garb, then stood back up and ran away.Gallagher is accused of murdering a wounded fighter and separately firing on innocent civilians during a deployment to Mosul, Iraq in 2017. He has pleaded not guilty."I saw Eddie Gallagher shoot someone who didn't deserve to die," Tolbert testified. "I shot more warning shots to save civilians from Eddie than I ever did at ISIS."Under cross-examination, Tolbert said he did not tell other snipers over the radio that the man he was firing on was a civilian he was just trying to scare away. He explained that he didn't say anything since each tower was typically covering their own sectors of fire (it was not clear which tower in this incident was firing in the wrong sector).



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The First 2020 Democratic Debate Is Almost Here. Here’s Everything You Need to Know

The First 2020 Democratic Debate Is Almost Here. Here’s Everything You Need to KnowDemocratic candidates will face off in the first primary debate in Miami on June 26 and 27. Here's what to know before they take the stage.



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Here Are All of the 2020 Hyundai Sonata's Available Colors—Including Yellow

Here Are All of the 2020 Hyundai Sonata's Available Colors—Including Yellow



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The Mueller report becomes public Thursday. Here are six things to look for.

The Mueller report becomes public Thursday. Here are six things to look for.Special counsel Robert Mueller's report is the product of an investigation that spanned two years and left many unanswered questions.



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Mueller report: How we got here and where we're going

Mueller report: How we got here and where we're goingBefore the redacted Mueller report is released, following Attorney General William Barr’s Thursday-morning press conference, here are the moments that brought us to it.



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A Celebrity Beauty Blogger, a Paraplegic, and a Mystery Client: Here Are the People Michael Avenatti Stole From, Feds Say

A Celebrity Beauty Blogger, a Paraplegic, and a Mystery Client: Here Are the People Michael Avenatti Stole From, Feds SaySpencer Platt/GettyCelebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti has been indicted by a federal grand jury in California on 36 counts, including fraud, tax dodging, and embezzlement. The latest charges come about two weeks after federal prosecutors in New York and California accused Avenatti of trying to extort millions from Nike, Inc., and of stealing from clients and forging tax returns to defraud a bank.Avenatti has denied the charges, tweeting on Thursday, “I intend to fully fight all charges and plead NOT GUILTY. I look forward to the entire truth being known as opposed to a one-sided version meant to sideline me.”The new indictment names five clients whom Avenatti allegedly scammed—and they include cases The Daily Beast has previously reported on, from a disabled man and a YouTube beauty mogul to a client who has accused Avenatti of running his business like a “Ponzi Scheme.” Client 1In January 2015, Avenatti negotiated a $ 4 million settlement on behalf of “Client 1,” Geoffrey Johnson, a paraplegic man who sued Los Angeles County over his emotional and physical injuries from a stay in jail.Johnson’s story is tragic. According to his now-settled lawsuit, Los Angeles police encountered him at 6:30 a.m. on April 24, 2011, when he was “completely naked, praying in the middle of the street outside his apartment building.”The lawsuit alleges Johnson was suicidal when transported to a local hospital. His intake form, according to the civil suit, said he “believed that the only way to escape the plot of others to kill him was to commit suicide.”Johnson would be transferred from hospital to jail cell, after he allegedly lunged at a doctor. He was taken to the Twin Towers Correctional Facility and placed in a cell with a violent prisoner, despite his father and sister warning the jail of his mental illness and suicidal thoughts. After being released and then re-arrested, Johnson was kept in a cell where inmates were known to spit and throw feces. Johnson attempted to hang himself but landed on his head, resulting in a permanent disability from a spinal cord injury.According to the indictment, Avenatti “falsely represented to Client 1 that the settlement agreement had to remain confidential,” and that Los Angeles County couldn’t pay the $ 4 million in one lump sum. Avenatti also allegedly said the county needed to approve a Special Needs Trust for Johnson before he could receive the funds.Yet Avenatti received millions from the county and failed to disclose the payment to Johnson, prosecutors allege. From Jan. 26, 2015 to March 30, 2015, Avenatti transferred $ 3.12 million of Johnson’s money to an Eagan Avenatti account, before transferring “substantial portions” to an account for his law firm Avenatti & Associates, then to other bank accounts controlled by Avenatti, including his personal bank account and accounts associated with “GB Auto.”By July 6, 2015, the indictment states, Avenatti “had drained all of the settlement proceeds” out of Johnson’s client-trust account, using much of it to pay his own personal expenses.Avenatti then made 69 payments of $ 1,000 to $ 1,900—totaling at least $ 124,000—to Johnson from July 2015 to March 2019, prosecutors say. The lawyer also paid assisted living facilities for Johnson’s rent, and “falsely represented” to Johnson that these payments were “advances” on the settlement owed to him.In 2017, Johnson told Avenatti he wanted to purchase his own residence, and Avenatti allegedly agreed to find him a real estate broker.According to prosecutors, Avenatti promised Johnson he’d received the settlement proceeds to buy a house, but after Johnson was in escrow on the purchase, Avenatti falsely informed him there was no money, because the county still hadn’t approved the Special Needs Trust.Avenatti also caused Johnson to lose his Social Security benefits, prosecutors say.In November 2018, Avenatti informed Johnson he would help him provide documentation to the Social Security Administration, which was evaluating Johnson’s eligibility for Supplemental Security Income benefits. “Knowing full well that the requested information could lead to inquiries that could reveal that defendant Avenatti had embezzled [Johnson’s] portion of the settlement proceeds, defendant Avenatti failed to provide the requested information to SSA, which resulted in [Johnson’s] SSI benefits being discontinued” in February 2019, the indictment alleges.Last month, facing questions over Johnson’s settlement at a judgment-debtor exam, Avenatti falsely told Johnson that the county had finally approved the Special Needs Trust and Johnson would receive his settlement.Avenatti then had Johnson sign a document claiming he was “satisfied” with Avenatti’s representation of him. Avenatti claimed the signature “was necessary to effectuate the settlement agreement,” the indictment states. Client 2Avenatti negotiated a settlement for the unidentified “Client 2” on Jan. 7, 2017, with “Individual 1” agreeing to make an initial payment of $ 2.75 million by Jan. 28. An additional payment of $ 250,000 was due Nov. 1, 2020 under the agreement.Prosecutors say Avenatti, who was owed 33 percent of the total $ 3 million, didn’t provide a copy of the settlement agreement to the client.Instead, Avenatti falsely represented that “Individual 1” would make an initial lump-sum payment that would go to Eagan Avenatti’s fees. The individual would then make 96 monthly payments over the next eight years, Avenatti allegedly told his client. Still, Avenatti allegedly concealed the $ 2.75 million settlement, and transferred $ 2.5 million of it to the attorney-client trust account for another law firm. The same day, prosecutors allege, Avenatti had this law firm transfer the money to Honda Aircraft Company, LLC, so Avenatti could purchase a private jet through his company, Passport 420. (The remaining $ 250,000 was transferred from an EA account to an A&A; account.)To appease the client, Avenatti made 11 payments totaling $ 194,000 to the client from March 2017 to June 2018, the indictment states.After that, Avenatti stopped paying the client, claiming Individual 1 was not complying with the settlement agreement.On March 24, 2019, the client met Avenatti at his Los Angeles residence, where Avenatti claimed the client would soon receive a payment to make up for the missed monthly payments—monthly payments to which Individual 1 never agreed. Client 3In December 2017, Avenatti negotiated a $ 1.6 million settlement on behalf of a client, which appears to be Gregory Barela, who previously accused Avenatti of stealing his payout and running his firm like a “Ponzi scheme.”In May 2015, Barela filed a lawsuit against a Colorado-based company over an intellectual property dispute. The civil complaint said Barela was “the inventor of a product which can be summarized as a paving system for paving or flooring.”Under the settlement agreement, Barela was owed $ 1.6 million by January 10, 2018, followed by three payments of $ 100,000 by Jan. 10 of 2019, 2020, and 2021, according to the indictment. Avenatti was owed $ 760,000 in attorney’s fees, or 40 percent of the total $ 1.9 million payout.During a Dec. 28, 2017 meeting at Eagan Avenatti’s offices, Avenatti gave Barela an “altered copy” of the settlement, which forged a new payment deadline of March 10, 2018.Meanwhile, Avenatti pocketed Barela’s money and used $ 1.59 million of it to pay his own expenses related to his coffee company, Global Baristas, prosecutors say.From March 2018 through November 2018, court papers allege, Avenatti lied to Barela, saying the company hadn’t paid the settlement. Avenatti claimed he was working on obtaining the money Barela was owed.In April 2018, Avenatti began providing Barela multiple payments totaling $ 130,000—calling them “advances” on the unpaid $ 1.6 million settlement. Client 4 and 5In September 2017, Avenatti negotiated a “Common Stock Repurchase Agreement” with a company on behalf of Client 4 and Client 5. Based on the payment deadlines and figures listed in the indictment, these clients appear to be famous beauty vlogger Michelle Phan and a business associate, Long Tran.As The Daily Beast reported, Phan launched her own makeup brand, EM Cosmetics, in 2013. Four years later, she announced she was leaving Ipsy, a beauty subscription service she co-founded, and that she’d acquire EM from the company.According to prosecutors, an unnamed company agreed to repurchase Phan’s shares for about $ 27.47 million, followed by additional shares for about $ 8.14 million. The total repurchase amount was about $ 35.62 million, court papers state.On Sept. 18, 2017, the company wired $ 27.41 million to Avenatti’s client-trust account. About $ 2.79 million was designated for Avenatti’s attorney’s fees, which was 7.5 percent of the total payout.Yet in March 2018, Avenatti withheld Phan’s $ 8.14 million payment. Between March 15, 2018 and May 4, 2018, Avenatti used about $ 4 million of Phan’s money for his own purposes—including using $ 2.82 million to pay his debts to the Internal Revenue Service. The feds claim Avenatti also transferred the money to bank accounts associated with his other companies: Global Baristas, Avenatti & Associates and Passport 420.And to prevent Johnson from discovering that Avenatti embezzled his $ 4 million payment from Los Angeles County, Avenatti used Phan’s money to provide Johnson with about $ 1,900, prosecutors say. Avenatti also used Phan’s settlement to pay Client 2 about $ 34,000, the indictment alleges.From March to May 2018, Avenatti allegedly failed to disclose to Phan and Tran that he’d used about $ 4 million of Phan’s money for his own purposes. He told them he’d give them their money at a later date and that to do so, he needed to visit the bank to fill out paperwork for wire transfers.On May 4, 2018, Avenatti paid Phan $ 4 million and $ 146,288, authorities say. But Avenatti allegedly failed to transfer the remainder of the $ 8.14 million to Phan.From May 4 to June 4, 2018, Avenatti and another unidentified attorney told Phan and Tran that the entire $ 8.14 million had already been transferred to Phan in three separate wire transfers. According to the indictment, Avenatti falsely presented a wire transfer document document that supposedly showed a second $ 4 million wire transfer to Phan.Instead, Avenatti had already used the remaining $ 4 million for his own purposes, prosecutors say, and the wire transfer document he showed Phan related to the first wire transfer she already received on May 4, 2018.After Avenatti’s arrest last month, Phan posted on Twitter: “When karma finally comes through. You never disappoint.” She followed up with, “I’m so grateful.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here



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I Am the Rabbi of Tree of Life Synagogue. Here Is a Simple Thing We All Can Do to Help Stop the Next Christchurch

I Am the Rabbi of Tree of Life Synagogue. Here Is a Simple Thing We All Can Do to Help Stop the Next ChristchurchA reflection on pain and the power of goodness



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Can’t Any Democrat Here Play This Game?

Can’t Any Democrat Here Play This Game?Time to check on the 20 Smurfs.Joe Biden recorded a message on a friend’s iPhone in which he admitted that he’s made women and “some men” uncomfortable by, among other things, touching them, rubbing their shoulders, and smelling their hair. It’s his way of making a “connection,” Biden explained, as though he were a domestic animal introducing himself to another pet. Men, women, “young, old,” he’s touched them all. Handshakes and small talk aren’t enough for Joe. He’s “tactile.”Biden pledged to be “mindful” of personal space because “social norms” have changed since he was born in the late Cretaceous period. He still hasn’t announced his presidential run, but has signaled to allies that his prospective candidacy is “full steam” ahead — in which direction, and toward what destination, no one can say. It already resembles one of those Amtrak trains Biden admires so much: rickety, noisy, a relic transiting badlands.Biden’s old boss, Barack Obama, has maintained a studied silence throughout the controversy over his vice president’s creepiness. So has Michelle. The Obama team appears to be more intrigued by Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, who launched his campaign at a rally in El Paso, Texas, last weekend. Andrew Stiles of the Washington Free Beacon wrote about it here. The AP had to correct its story on the speech, which said, “Mr. O’Rourke also spoke at length in his native Spanish.” Dios mio.Beto is as lily-white as Elizabeth Warren, whose finance director is leaving because of a disagreement over money. The director would like to raise some. Warren’s not so sure. She pledged not to accept donations from millionaires and billionaires, holding out for small-dollar contributions from folks like you and me. The problem: Folks like you and me don’t want anything to do with Warren.Some of us, apparently, are much more interested in the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind. Pete Buttigieg is winning the coveted media primary, as journalists gush over his youth, his Harvard credentials, his husband, and his language abilities. He answers questions in Norwegian. Elect this man! The other day an acquaintance of mine, a reporter for a major newspaper, got caught up in a reverie about the mayor’s dogs. They are, I’m told, SO cute.The geniuses narrating our lives can’t figure out where Buttigieg came from. Do they read bylines other than their own? The press has been chirping about this boy wonder since a 2016 Frank Bruni column. Now Buttigieg has risen in the polls. He had a solid first quarter for someone without a national profile. The media reputation machine — it builds them up and tears them down — is humming along nicely.I find Mayor Pete far less interesting than what he reveals about the Democratic field. He’s upstaged the Washington Senators — Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Kristin Gillibrand, Cory Booker, and perhaps Michael Bennet — who have been dreaming of this moment for years. Buttigieg isn’t having a moment because Democrats have been waiting decades for a nominee who speaks seven languages and whose husband is good at Twitter.He’s enjoying his 15 minutes because even the most talented of these elected officials has yet to stand out. The afterglow of Kamala Harris’s successful launch faded rapidly. She’s running a professional campaign, raising cash, announcing policies, building coalitions. Don’t count her out.Even so, Harris’s bid to seize the mantle of “establishment frontrunner” during these early days has fizzled. Her colleagues are no better off. They gab on the talk shows, appear on the cable town halls, join in calls to tear down the Constitution. None commands authority.With one exception: Bernie Sanders. Who isn’t even a Democrat. But he looks more like the Democratic frontrunner every day. He is second to Biden in national polls and leading in some states. He has raised the most money and has the most donors, a solid core of supporters, and a simple but comprehensive message of economic and social equality. The party’s establishment is leery of him. In these times, that might be an advantage.Born a year earlier than Biden, Sanders is nevertheless more in sync with the moment. Not just because his fans include so many Millennials. Thinking dialectically, as Sanders does, the Vermont senator’s democratic socialism is the antithesis to the thesis of President Trump’s nationalist populism. He means to work the same changes in the Democratic party that Trump made in his. He’ll be resisted just as Trump was. The question is whether Democratic elites have a better sense of their voters than Republican elites do of theirs.That leaves the others — JohnHickenlooperJayInsleeJulianCastroTimRyanTerryMcAuliffeSteveBullockJohnDelaneyTulsiGabbard-EricSwalwellAndrewYangMarianneWilliamsonI’veneverheardofthemeither.Given the weakness of this gang, is it any wonder that Stacey Abrams is flirting with a bid of her own, and Michael Bloomberg might reverse course and run after all? Why the heck not, considering the competition?This is the opposite of the 1927 Yankees. It’s more like the 1916 Athletics.This article originally appeared in The Washington Free Beacon.



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