Michael Flynn apparently forgot to include a trip to the Middle East to explore nuclear power on his security clearance forms
President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, explored building nuclear power plants across the Middle East in 2015 — yet another detail that was left out during his security clearance screening, The Associated Press reports. Flynn was fired after just weeks on the job when it was revealed he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his meeting with the Russian ambassador. Flynn was also discovered to have accepted money from foreign governments, including Turkey, without following the proper legal process.
Flynn's former business associates disclosed the Mideast trip to lawmakers. Flynn reportedly had contact with Israeli and Egyptian government officials as part of the 2015 trip, and House Democrats are now pushing to learn if he met with representatives from any other nations. His travel was reportedly on the behalf of ACU Strategic Partners, but the proposal to build reactors seemingly never went beyond planning stages.
In his security clearance questionnaire, Flynn would have been specifically required to list any meetings abroad or with foreign government officials over the past seven years, The Associated Press notes. Flynn had his security clearance renewed in 2016, being the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and apparently listened to sensitive intelligence briefings with Trump as late as January 2017.
Regarding Flynn's Middle East trip, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) wrote: "It appears that General Flynn violated federal law by omitting this trip and these foreign contacts from his security clearance renewal application in 2016 and concealing them from security clearance investigators who interviewed him as part of the background check process." Read the full report at Bloomberg, and more about why Trump is so intensely obsessed with protecting Flynn here at The Week. Jeva Lange
Hillary Clinton endorsed a new social network for her voters. It was promptly crashed by cyberattack.
Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Twitter Sunday evening invited her followers to join a new social network called Verrit, which bills itself as a "sanctuary in a chaotic media environment" for the 65.8 million voters who backed Clinton in 2016 and are "marginalized and harassed" as a result.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 3, 2017
Shortly after Clinton's tweet went live, Verrit stopped working. The problem was not server overload from a surge of Clinton-sent traffic but rather a "pretty significant and sophisticated" cyberattack, said Verrit creator Peter Daou in comments to Recode. Daou did not know who was responsible for the attack at the time of the interview.
If Verrit is successful, Daou added, it will help Clinton voters escape "bullying" and "feel like they're not facing attacks and smears and harassment and false narratives and negative talking points." The site's core functionality seems to be shareable quotes and factoids packaged with a verification code to demonstrate authenticity, a system that is apparently easily gamed. So far, reviews have been less than stellar. Bonnie Kristian
A British "email prankster" spent the past few days fooling several White House officials and other people close to President Trump into thinking they were talking to each other, CNN reports.
The trickster made Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert, who has been tasked with overseeing cyber security, think he was accepting an invitation to a "bit of a soiree" from Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner. The message was sent to Bossert's White House email address, and when he responded to the fake Kushner, he also gave him his personal address.
The prankster was also able to convince former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci that he was emailing with Reince Priebus, Trump's former chief of staff. In an email sent Saturday, the faux Priebus accused Scaramucci of never acting in a way "that's even remotely classy," and said he has been "diabolical." The real Scaramucci told the fake Priebus: "You know what you did. We all do. Even today. But rest assured, we were prepared. A Man would apologize." They had another exchange, which ended with Scaramucci recommending that fake Priebus "read Shakespeare. Particularly Othello. You are right there."
Other pawns in this game included Eric Trump, who actually figured out that he wasn't really responding to an email from his brother Donald Jr., and Jon Huntsman, the nominee for U.S. ambassador to Russia, who thought he was talking to Eric Trump. The trickster, who showed the emails to CNN, said he was just trying to see how far he could take things, and wasn't trying to install viruses into computers or hack into accounts. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CNN they are "looking into these incidents further." Catherine Garcia
It seems tennis star Serena Williams' accuracy is better on the court than on Snapchat. A week after surprising the world with the news that she's pregnant, Williams admitted during an interview Tuesday at the 2017 Ted Talks Conference that she didn't actually mean to send out that selfie of her growing baby bump. The photo of a swimsuit-clad Williams, with the simple caption "20 weeks," almost immediately made headlines.
"I was on vacation just taking some time for myself and I have this thing where I've been checking my status and taking pictures every week to see how far along I'm going," Williams said. She said she hadn't told "a lot of people to be quite honest" because she was "saving" the news.
"You know how social media is, you press the wrong button and ... ," Williams said. When she checked her phone 30 minutes later, she was surprised to see several missed calls. "But it was a good moment," she said. "I was going to wait, literally, just five or six more days [to share the announcement]."
Williams said she found out she was pregnant just two days before the Australian Open, where she bested sister Venus Williams to claim her 23rd Grand Slam singles title.
Watch Williams get candid about her pregnancy reveal below. Becca Stanek
GOP Rep. Ted Yoho (Fla.) "misspoke" when he claimed Thursday morning that congressmen work "for the president," Yoho's spokesman has clarified in a statement. Yoho made the claim while defending House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who has faced scrutiny for meeting an undisclosed source on White House grounds the day before he announced President Trump and his team's communications may have been inadvertently swept up in routine surveillance.
YOHO: "[Nunes] answers to the president".
MELVIN: Does he? Or does he work for constituents?
YOHO: "Well, you do both." pic.twitter.com/rbeeBiqNFa
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 30, 2017
"You gotta keep in mind who he works for," Yoho said during an interview on MSNBC. "He works for the president. He answers to the president." "Does he?" MSNBC's Craig Melvin said. "Or does he work for the constituents in the district?"
"Well, you do both," Yoho said. "But when you're in that capacity — you know, if you've got information — I'm okay with what he did." Democrats, on the other hand, have called for Nunes to recuse himself from the investigation of President Trump's ties to Russia's election meddling.
Yoho's spokesman clarified later Thursday that Yoho "knows that every member is here because of the people that voted them into office" and that he understands "members work for their constituents, whether they are rank and file or if they have the honor of serving as a committee chairman." Becca Stanek
Sam Bee's Full Frontal tries to make amends for showing brain-cancer patient in CPAC 'Nazi haircut' joke
Full Frontal sent producer Mike Rubens to the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, and Samantha Bee played his report on Wednesday's show. The partly NSFW segment was meant as a half-serious anthropological look at the state of conservatism in President Trump's Republican Party. At last year's CPAC, the narrator notes, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was king and Trump canceled his appearance, fearing a poor reception. "This year, the bow ties were gone and CPAC was decidedly Trump country." Rubens peppered CPAC participants with questions, and the narrator noted that not everyone was welcome: "CPAC boldly drew a line at Nazisim and pederasty."
Originally, the narrator had included this line: "This year, the bow ties were gone and replaced by Nazi hair," with a shot of a bunch of CPAC participants with a certain short-on-the-side, longer-on-top haircut The Washington Post refers to as the "fashy." But Full Frontal excised that part after Megan Coddington pointed out that not all "fashy"-nistas had chosen that style to showcase their white nationalist sympathies:
— Megan Coddington (@meg_kelly16) March 9, 2017
Kyle Coddington was diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma, "a very aggressive type of brain cancer," in December, according to a GoFundMe page posted by the conservative magazine he writes for, Outset. Bee responded to the tweet, telling Megan Coddington: "We deeply apologize for offending you and [Kyle]. We only learned of his condition today & have removed him from the piece."
Full Frontal executive producer Jo Miller told The Washington Post Thursday afternoon that the show had "apologized to Mr. Coddington and his family members," adding, "We wish him all the best in his fight against cancer and sincerely, deeply regret offending him and his family." Miller also said the show would donate to his treatment — and "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" is currently the GoFundMe campaigns's largest donor, at $1,000.
Kyle Coddington, who appears to be neither a white nationalist nor a big Trump supporter, also asked that the "Nazi haircut" part be removed, but he did so with a bit more humor, tweeting, "I look like a balding potato," and: "Also, it's not a Nazi haircut. Richard Spencer's is, but mine's from cancer." Peter Weber
Chinese media, tripped up by satirical article, erroneously report bathrobe-wearing President Trump 'ordered his aides to wrap the White House telephones in tinfoil'
Chinese media outlets missed the memo that comedian Andy Borowitz's articles for The New Yorker are purely satirical. This week, multiple Chinese publications — citing one of Borowitz's articles — reported a "frantic President Trump, holding court in a bathrobe, ordered his aides to wrap the White House telephones in tinfoil," The New York Times noted Wednesday.
That wasn't the only fictional tidbit that got picked up and passed around as fact. Headlines in reputable magazines read, "Trump turns White House upside down looking for signs of Obama: 'I know he's still here!'"
Readers were left either confused the state-run media was writing up jokes, or seriously worried about Trump after reading the reports. "This is illness," a user on microblogging site Weibo wrote, per The New York Times.
This isn't the first time Chinese media has mistaken satire for fact: In 2012, a Chinese newspaper reported The Onion had deemed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "Sexiest Man Alive for 2012." Becca Stanek
While making remarks at the inauguration of a new high-speed train system line on Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande was interrupted by the sound of a gunshot, with French media reporting a police sniper accidentally fired his weapon.
Two people were wounded in the incident — a waiter working with a catering company whose calf was grazed by the bullet and an employee of the train line who was shot in the leg, Sud Ouest reports. Their injuries are not life-threatening. Hollande didn't panic when he heard the shot, but did look offstage and said, "I hope that it's nothing serious." The police sniper was on a roof as part of security detail, an official in Villognon said, and fired when he was adjusting his position. Catherine Garcia