Author: The Washington Post

Swapped Soviet spy apparently poisoned in Britain – The Mercury News

GOOGLE NEWS By Karla Adam and William Booth, (c) 2018, The Washington Post Sergei Skripal; Yulia Skripal. (Associated Press)  LONDON — It is a spy drama — and it is real. An aging Russian double agent is found slumped beside his daughter on a park bench in a quiet English town, both near death, apparently poisoned. Now Scotland Yard is on the case. Britain’s counterterrorism police on Tuesday took over the investigation into what caused  former Soviet-era spy Sergei Skripal, 66, to collapse on Sunday, leaving him staring into space beside his comatose daughter, Yulia Skripal, 33. The pair...

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Pentagon unveils nuclear weapons strategy, ending Obama-era push to reduce arsenal – The Denver Post

GOOGLE NEWS By Paul Sonne, The Washington Post The Pentagon released a new nuclear arms policy Friday that calls for the introduction of two new types of weapons, effectively ending Obama-era efforts to reduce the size and scope of the U.S. arsenal and minimize the role of nuclear weapons in defense planning. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said in an introductory note to the new policy – the first update since 2010 – that the changes reflect a need to “look reality in the eye” and “see the world as it is, not as we wish it to be.”...

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Inside Trump's quest to alter the judiciary – The Mercury News

GOOGLE NEWS By Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey and Ashley Parker | Washington Post WASHINGTON — The collapse of three of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominations in the span of a week has embarrassed the White House, revealed weaknesses in its vetting process and threatened to cause Senate Republicans to apply more scrutiny to the president’s picks. In their push to fill scores of vacancies on federal circuit and district courts at the historic pace demanded by Trump, White House officials have overlooked vulnerabilities in the backgrounds of some nominees. Critics allege that White House counsel Donald McGahn, who is overseeing the process, has sacrificed traditional qualifications for ideological purity and youth. But the downfalls of three nominees — Jeff Mateer, Matthew Petersen and Brett Talley — are also aberrations in what has been a quiet yet undeniable success for Trump: a year-long drive to permanently alter the judiciary by nominating and confirming conservative jurists to lifetime appointments on the federal bench. The president has told advisers that he is focused on three main criteria: that his nominees be young (in most cases younger than 50, and preferably younger than 40), conservative and strict constitutionalists. “He clearly understands that this is going to be one of his enduring legacies,” said Leonard Leo, a Trump adviser on judges and the executive vice president of the Federalist Society. “He is excited about how...

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Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, US intelligence intercepts show – The Denver Post

GOOGLE NEWS By Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller, The Washington Post WASHINGTON – Russia’s ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, according to current and former U.S. officials. Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Sessions – then a top foreign policy adviser to Republican candidate Donald Trump – were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies, which monitor the communications of senior Russian officials both in the United...

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Ronald McDonald lying low until clown scare blows over – The Denver Post

FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images By Katie Mettler, The Washington Post For now, McDonald’s is benching its mascot. In a statement Tuesday, the fast-food chain announced that Ronald McDonald and his signature red and gold garb won’t be seen in public for a while, at least until America stops being so collectively terrified of his kind. The chain’s more than 14,000 locations nationwide are “mindful of the current climate around clown sightings in communities” and “are being thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald’s participation in community events for the time being,” spokeswoman Terri Hickey said in an emailed statement to NBC News. The announcement comes after weeks of reported creepy clown sightings across the United States that have led to something approaching mass hysteria, playground panic and even some arrests. It first began in August, when residents of Greenville County in South Carolina called authorities to report a clown, or someone dressed like one, “trying to lure children in the woods,” said the property manager of an apartment complex in Greenville. Sightings spread to North Carolina, then to Alabama and Kentucky. Soon, callers were reporting creepy clown sightings across the country – and even internationally. In the United Kingdom, authorities have responded to dozens of apparent clown sightings, including one in northeast England, where a man dressed as a clown and carrying a knife allegedly followed four children to school, reported CNN....

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Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts focuses on Hillary Clinton in endorsing Donald Trump – Washington Post

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (right) is greeted by Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts at Trump’s campaign rally at Werner Enterprises Hangar in Omaha, Neb., on May 6, 2016. (Reuters/Lane Hickenbottom OMAHA, Neb. — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) took the stage at Donald Trump’s rally in an airplane hangar on Friday afternoon and explained why he was endorsing the presumptive Republican nominee — even though his parents have collectively given $5.5 million to an anti-Trump super PAC. “Folks, I went through a contested primary,” said Ricketts, who took office in 2015. “And then we all came together to support me as the nominee for the Republican Party here in Nebraska. And it is time now that we as Republicans come together to support our nominee for president.” In remarks that lasted just a few minutes, Ricketts managed to mention Trump’s name just twice. And instead of listing off qualities that he liked about Trump, Ricketts attacked the Obama administration and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, telling the crowd that she must be defeated. “You’re here, I’m here, we’re all here because we know we need to take back our country,” Ricketts said. “And two-thirds of Americans agree with us. And we don’t want the next person charting the course of this country to be Hillary Clinton.” Trump warmly accepted the governor’s endorsement, and the two posed for photos. This is the routine that many Republicans — especially...

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