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Matt Gaetz Scandal

Republican snorted cocaine with escort who had ‘No Show’ government job

When Matt Gaetz attended a 2019 GOP fundraiser in Orlando, his date that night was someone he knew well: a paid escort and amateur Instagram model who led a cocaine-fueled party after the event. The Florida congressman’s one-time wingman, Joel Greenberg, will identify that escort to investigators as one of more than 15 young women Gaetz paid for sex. But what distinguishes this woman, Megan Zalonka, is that she turned her relationship with Greenberg into a taxpayer-funded no-show job that earned her an estimated $7,000 to $17,500.

Liz Cheney

Kevin McCarthy should testify about Trump’s views on Capitol attack

The Republican House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, should testify before the commission to investigate the 6 January Capitol attack, the Wyoming representative Liz Cheney said on Friday, because he has “said publicly that he’s got information about the president’s state of mind that day”.

Merrick Garland

Senate Democrats urge not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo

A group of Senate Democrats are urging Attorney General Merrick Garland not to fight a court order demanding the release of a 2019 Justice Department (DOJ) memo that essentially cleared former President Trump of criminal wrongdoing following the special counsel's investigation.

Liz Cheney

Elise Stefanik eventually voted in as House Republican's new No. 3 leader

Elise Stefanik cruised to victory in a vote to replace Liz Cheney as House Republicans' third-ranked leader, capping off a tumultuous month in the GOP conference sparked by its bitter divisions over Donald Trump. Stefanik won in a 134-46 secret-ballot vote, defeating her sole challenger Rep. Chip Roy of Texas — an unsurprising outcome after she aggressively campaigned for the No. 3 spot, scooping up endorsements from top party leaders and Trump. The 36-year-old New Yorker, known as a moderate turned Trump ally who's used her fundraising skills to help elect a new class of GOP women.

The Quick Vote

Republicans removed Cheney from leadership role over Trump ‘big lie’ criticism

House Republicans voted quickly on Wednesday to remove Liz Cheney as their No. 3 leader over her repeated criticism of Donald Trump, a massive shakeup that ties the party tighter to Trump and threatens to create a new litmus test in the GOP. The fast-moving campaign to dump Cheney, Congress' highest-ranking Republican woman, and replace her with a Trump loyalist was orchestrated by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and his top deputies. The California Republican and his allies complained that Cheney’s constant readiness to call out Trump’s lies.

“The Battle For Britney”

Bombshell Claim: Does Britney Spears have dementia?

Last week, Britney Spears posted a video of herself dancing on Instagram, accompanied by an uncharacteristically long, emoji-filled caption. While the post covered an eclectic array of topics—her love of travel, her desire to install a koi pond in her backyard, her pride in her garden—it was her blunt reaction to the recent spate of documentaries about her life and controversial conservatorship that made headlines.

Colonial Pipeline

Gasoline demand spikes in several states after pipeline hack

A growing number of gas stations along the East Coast are without fuel as nervous drivers aggressively fill up their tanks following a ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline, a critical artery for gasoline. The panic-buying threatens to exacerbate the supply shock."Panicked buying" is "running stations in the region dry," Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told CNN Business.

National Rifle Association

Judge dismisses NRA bankruptcy case

A federal bankruptcy judge dismissed an effort by the National Rifle Association to declare bankruptcy on Tuesday, ruling that the gun rights group had not filed the case in good faith. The ruling slams the door on the NRA's attempt to use bankruptcy laws to evade New York officials seeking to dissolve the organization. In his decision, the federal judge said that "using this bankruptcy case to address a regulatory enforcement problem" was not a permitted use of bankruptcy.

Vanessa & Tiffany Trump

‘Inappropriately close’ to Secret Service agents

Two Trump family members got “inappropriately – and perhaps dangerously – close” to agents protecting them while Donald Trump was president, according to a new book on the US Secret Service. Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service, by the Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig, is published next week. The Guardian obtained a copy.

anti-vaxxers

Anti-Maskers ready to start masking — to protect themselves from the vaccinated

A conspiracy ripping through the anti-vax world may finally drive some anti-maskers to do the unthinkable: wear a mask and keep their distance. The conspiracy — which comes in several shapes and sizes — more or less says the vaccinated will “shed” certain proteins onto the unvaccinated who will then suffer adverse effects. The main worry is the “shedding” will cause irregular menstruation, infertility, and miscarriages. The entirely baseless idea is a key cog in a larger conspiracy that COVID-19 was a ploy to depopulate the world, and the vaccine is what will cull the masses.

From the Desk of Donald J. Trump

Trump's blog isn't lighting up the internet

Four months after former President Donald Trump was banished from most mainstream social media platforms, he returned to the web last Tuesday with “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” essentially a blog for his musings. A week since the unveiling, social media data suggests things are not going well. The ex-president’s blog has drawn a considerably smaller audience than his once-powerful social media accounts.

Wuhan

Rand Paul clashes with Dr. Anthony Fauci over coronavirus origins

Anthony Fauci on Tuesday clashed with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) over the role of the Wuhan, China, virology lab in the origins of COVID-19. During a Senate hearing on the pandemic response, Paul alleged that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) had been sending funding to the Wuhan lab, which then "juiced up" a virus that was originally found in bats to create a supervirus that can infect human cells.

The Washington Post

Sally Buzbee new executive editor

Sally Buzbee, executive editor and senior vice president of The Associated Press, has been named the new executive editor of The Washington Post, the paper reported on Tuesday. Buzbee will become the first woman to lead the Post’s newsroom when she begins work next month, replacing former executive editor Martin Baron, who retired in February.

Matt Gaetz Scandal

Federal investigators seeking cooperation from former Gaetz girlfriend, second key witness

Federal investigators scrutinizing Rep. Matt Gaetz are seeking the cooperation of a former Capitol Hill intern who was once a girlfriend of the Florida Republican, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN. Investigators could also soon gain the formal cooperation of a second key witness, former Florida county tax collector Joel Greenberg, who is approaching a deadline this week to strike a plea agreement with the government on more than two dozen charges he's facing. The pursuit of the cooperation comes as investigators are nearly finished collecting evidence, one source said.

USA

New study estimates more than 900,000 people have died of COVID-19

A new study estimates that the number of people who have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. is more than 900,000, a number 57% higher than official figures. Worldwide, the study's authors say, the COVID-19 death count is nearing 7 million, more than double the reported number of 3.24 million.

The far right conspiracy

New York AG sues Jacob Wohl for $2.75 million over robocalls

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that her office has filed a lawsuit against bumbling right-wing conspiracy theorists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman over robocalls the pair allegedly made to suppress the Black vote ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Ex-wife Judith gets $42,000 a month

Money problems: Rudy Giuliani cuts down his entourage

Rudy Giuliani, the former personal lawyer for ex-president Donald Trump, has reduced the size of his personal entourage. Giuliani laid off several staffers and independent contractors in the last few weeks, according to one of the people, who said the ousted employees had been told that the former New York mayor was seeking to cut costs.

FOX NEWS

Tucker Carlson makes BS claim ‘30 people every day’ are dying from vaccines

Fox News host Tucker Carlson continued his reckless mission to mainstream vaccine skepticism on Wednesday night by dangerously speculating that thousands of Americans have died from COVID-19 vaccinations, citing a faulty open-sourced database that has become a haven for misinformation.

Kenneth Braithwaite

Donald Trump’s Navy Chief blew $2M on eight-month traveling spree

Former Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite traversed the globe in his brief tenure under the Trump administration, spending about $2.4 million in air travel, according to figures and documents obtained by USA TODAY. Braithwaite spent $232,000 the week before President Joe Biden's inauguration to fly to Wake Island, a tiny Pacific atoll, where, according to Navy spokesman Capt. Jereal Dorsey, no sailors or Marines are stationed.

Office of Legal Counsel (OLC)

Judge's decision on Bill Barr memo puts spotlight on secretive DOJ office

A small but powerful section of the Department of Justice (DOJ) is under renewed scrutiny after a federal judge tore into former Attorney General William Barr and ordered the DOJ to release a memo that let former President Trump claim he was exonerated by the Mueller probe. Critics of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), which provides legal advice to the White House and Cabinet agencies, have long argued it acts as a rubber stamp for the president and essentially drafts laws behind closed doors.

Election 2022

Liz Cheney faces the boot in Washington - Wyoming isn’t looking much better

Rep. Liz Cheney’s colleagues are set to boot her from House GOP leadership this month. Now Republicans back in her home state of Wyoming are plotting how to remove her from Congress entirely. There is no shortage of Republicans eager to take on Cheney in a 2022 primary since her vote to impeach President Donald Trump and her subsequent criticism of him tanked her popularity in Wyoming. But the crowded field is also a risk for the anti-Cheney forces, making it more possible for her to win with a plurality.

Frank Luntz

Donald Trump's 'Big Lie' is working, may cost GOP votes

Veteran GOP pollster Frank Luntz warned that former President Trump’s repeated assertions that the 2020 presidential election was rigged against him could hurt Republican efforts to take back the House in 2022. Luntz noted in an interview on the New York Times podcast “Sway” released Thursday that “more than two-thirds of Republicans believe that the election was stolen,” warning that a widespread and unproven belief that there was rampant fraud last November could turn Republicans off from voting in the midterm elections.

Shortnews

Black Live Matter

NBA flexes muscle amid partisan attacks

When the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play their playoff game against the Orlando Magic in outrage over the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Wednesday, the NBA — already maligned by some as being too political — took a giant step to the forefront on one of America’s most pressing social issues. Fellow players and athletes from other American sports quickly hailed the historic action, forcing the NBA and other leagues to postpone games over multiple days.

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Black Live Matter

NBA flexes muscle amid partisan attacks

When the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play their playoff game against the Orlando Magic in outrage over the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Wednesday, the NBA — already maligned by some as being too political — took a giant step to the forefront on one of America’s most pressing social issues.

Fellow players and athletes from other American sports quickly hailed the historic action, forcing the NBA and other leagues to postpone games over multiple days.

But the crowd that already had ire for the league, including President Trump and his allies, mocked the NBA players, suggesting that their activism was hollow.

“I think the NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they're able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences for themselves financially,” senior White House adviser Jared Kushner said Thursday. “So they have that luxury, which is great.”

While talking to the press later about Hurricane Laura, President Trump called the NBA a “political organization.”

“They’ve become like a political organization, and that’s not a good thing,” Trump said of the NBA, a league where the players are nearly 75 percent Black. “I don’t think that’s a good thing for sports or for the country.”

Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who controversially told NBA front man LeBron James to “shut up and dribble” in 2018, tweeted: “Good. Make it permanent.”

The NBA and its players had already shown strong support for the Black Lives Matter movement since it returned to action from its coronavirus pandemic-induced hiatus at the end of July.

Black Lives Matter is emblazoned on NBA courts in the Orlando “bubble” on the DisneyWorld campus where teams are playing, and players have put messages on their jerseys such as “Say her name,” “Education reform” and “Enough.”

The messages are intended to send a message about racial justice and ensure the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and others Black people killed by police are not forgotten.

Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police when a white office knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville police while in her own home in March as officers enforced a controversial “no-knock” warrant. In June, Brooks was shot and killed by a white Atlanta police officer in Wendy’s parking lot.

The boycott Wednesday initially appeared like it might end the NBA season, but the decision to resume play appears to signal the NBA player interest in continuing to use their platform to push for change.

“We had a candid, impassioned and productive conversation yesterday between NBA players, coaches and team governors regarding next steps to further our collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality,” NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a joint statement.

The duo stated that teams within the playoff bubble were returning to play “with the understanding that” the league would work with teams to focus on a slate of civil and voting rights programs.

Scott Rochelle, president and CEO of National Basketball Retired Players Association, said that former players were “shocked” by the ability of current players to “effectuate that type of change.”

“Our players have been on the frontline on many social justice issues and they have been vocal their entire lives, but never have they been able to witness this type of immediate impact on the game of basketball.”

Rochelle added: “The player’s passion hasn’t changed, the access to power is what really is at the forefront right now.”

Former NBA player Kenny Smith — who in solidarity with the players walked off the set of TNT’s NBA pregame show which he co-hosts — pushed back against the idea that the players’ actions on Wednesday were political in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“No. It shows you have power,” Smith told Blitzer, adding that players were citizens with voices. “Sometimes you have to wake people up with a cold glass of water.”

One of the new initiatives being put in place after the boycotts this week will see NBA arenas, currently sitting empty because of the pandemic, become polling sites in November.

Another by-product of talks is the establishment of a “social justice coalition” that will include players, coaches and state governors. The coalition will focus on issues like “increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform,” the statement from Silver and Roberts states.

Ronald Koeman

New Barcelona manager

Ronald Koeman is set to be appointed the new Barcelona manager this week to take over from Quique Setién. The former Barcelona player, and assistant manager, will leave his role as Netherlands coach to take over at the Camp Nou in time for the new season. Setién’s days looked numbered even before the humiliating 8-2 defeat against Bayern Munich on Friday and he will leave after seven uncomfortable months. Barcelona finished five points behind Real Madrid in the league and lost to Athletic Bilbao at the quarter-final stage in the Spanish Cup.

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Ronald Koeman

New Barcelona manager

Ronald Koeman is set to be appointed the new Barcelona manager this week to take over from Quique Setién. The former Barcelona player, and assistant manager, will leave his role as Netherlands coach to take over at the Camp Nou in time for the new season.

Setién’s days looked numbered even before the humiliating 8-2 defeat against Bayern Munich on Friday and he will leave after seven uncomfortable months.

Barcelona finished five points behind Real Madrid in the league and lost to Athletic Bilbao at the quarter-final stage in the Spanish Cup. It is the first time in the past 12 years that the club have ended a season trophyless.

Koeman had already turned Barça down, in January, when the club were looking for a replacement for Ernesto Valverde, but this time he could not resist the challenge.

The original preference for the Barça president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, was to hire Mauricio Pochettino but some board members were against that considering the former Espanyol manager once said that he would rather go and work on a farm than manage Barcelona.

NHL Hockey

LA Kings suspend mascot amid sexual harassment allegations

The Los Angeles Kings have suspended the man who portrays the Kings' "Bailey" lion mascot following a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former member of the hockey team's ice crew. Tim Smith, the now-suspended mascot, has also served as a senior manager of game presentation and events for the Kings. A woman who was hired onto the team's ice crew in 2018 filed the suit against Smith, the team, and the Kings owner AEG. The lawsuit is seeking over $1 million in damages, the report added. The woman alleges that Smith made lewd jokes and inappropriate sexual comments before firing her when she confronted and condemned his actions.

Borussia Dortmund

Real Madrid youngster Reinier Jesus to joint BVB

Borussia Dortmund are set to sign Real Madrid youngster Reinier Jesus on a one-year loan with an option for another season. The 18-year-old joined Real Madrid in a €30 million transfer from Flamengo in January but has yet to make his senior debut for the La Liga champions. He is now unlikely to make his debut for Los Blancos during the 2021-20 season. Sources confirmed that Dortmund are close to sealing the loan deal for Reinier and he could join his new teammates once they return from their training camp in Switzerland early next week. The agreement will not include a buy option for the Brazil under-23 international.