Donald Trump is reportedly already turning on Mick Mulvaney—who hasn't even started his new job as acting White House chief of staff yet—due to a two-year-old video uncovered by The Daily Beast, which shows Mulvaney calling the president "a terrible human being." Mulvaney is due to start his new job at the end of the year. Trump's announcement of Mulvaney's appointment followed a troubled hiring process that saw several of his preferred picks refuse the role. Trump reportedly started regretting his appointment after seeing the video of Mulvaney from a week before the 2016 election saying: "Yes, I am supporting Donald Trump, but I'm doing so despite the fact that I think he's a terrible human being." Axios reports Trump was "furious" when he heard about the footage—he reportedly asked one adviser: "Did you know [Mulvaney] called me 'a terrible human being' back during the campaign?" A spokeswoman for Mulvaney dismissed the remarks as "old news" and said he changed his mind about Trump after they met.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is "distressed" over Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' shock announcement that he will resign over differences with President Donald Trump. Mattis resigned Thursday following Trump's sudden decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria—a move that has been sharply criticized from all sides, except Russia. In a statement late Thursday night, the Kentucky Republican made clear that he sided with Mattis and backed the point made in his resignation letter that the U.S. must prioritize its relationships with its allies. "I am particularly distressed that he is resigning due to sharp differences with the president," said McConnell, adding: "We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances." Trump targeted McConnell via Twitter early Friday, saying the Senate majority leader should "fight for the Wall and Border Security as hard as he fought for anything. He will need Democrat votes, but as shown in the House, good things happen."
Billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein has settled a lawsuit with a woman who alleged that he forced her into sex acts and directed her to have sex with power attorney Alan Dershowitz. Sarah Ransome's allegations against Dershowitz—who previously represented Epstein—were revealed this week, but she previously sued Epstein and his alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell, saying they trafficked her for sex from 2006 to 2007. Ransome withdrew the lawsuit Thursday after settlement was reached, the terms of which haven't been disclosed. "We are pleased with the settlement. It provides as much compensation as money can provide for the horrific damage done by sex trafficking," said her lawyer, David Boies. Epstein was been convicted of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution—he's also been accused of sexually abusing dozens of mostly underage girls at his Palm Beach mansion. Dershowitz issued a strong denial this week of Ransome's allegations, saying: "I've never met this woman, I don't know her, I never heard of her. She just made it up completely."
Pope Francis has urged the Catholic Church's pedophile priests to turn themselves in or prepare for "divine justice" in Hell. It's not clear if the pontiff was instructing predator priests to turn themselves over to church authorities or the police, but Vatican sources told Reuters that it was the first time the pope had made such a strong and direct appeal to them. "To those who abuse minors, I would say this: Convert and hand yourself over to human justice, and prepare for divine justice," Francis said in his traditional Christmas address to the Curia, the Vatican's central administration. "Let it be clear that, faced with these abominations, the church will spare no effort to do all that is necessary to bring to justice to whoever has committed such crimes. The church will never seek to hush up or not take seriously any case." Earlier this year, Francis first strongly defended a bishop in Chile who had been accused of covering up abuse, only later to launch an inquiry and accept the resignation of that bishop and others. The pope acknowledged that the church made serious errors in the past but promised to make "past mistakes opportunities for eliminating this scourge."
Finding a needle in a haystack is like finding a single cow among a heard of 2,000 head spread across 10,000 acres. At the Matador Cattle Company, cattlemen hope to use drones to do just. Rancher John Douglas Russel has been key to the drone adoption, citing time-saving benefits, "If you go prowling around looking for strays, you can kill a week in a hurry,"
This Koch Industries-owned company will use the drones to search for strays and check in on specific animals they have concerns about, even eventually using infrared cameras to find strays' heat signatures. In the future, it hopes to use the drones across the entire ranch "mitigating invasive species, safely overseeing grass fires and even remotely scanning RFID ear tags to monitor cattle health." To see the drones in action and read more about Koch's commitment to innovation across its companies, click here.
China has hit out at a U.S. indictment against alleged Chinese government hackers who were charged Thursday with stealing confidential data from American government agencies and businesses around the world. Zhu "Godkiller" Hua and Zhang "Baobeilang" Shilong are allegedly part of a hacking group linked to China's main intelligence service known as Advanced Persistent Threat 10. China insists the two have never stolen commercial secrets. "We urge the U.S. side to immediately correct its erroneous actions and cease its slanderous smears relating to internet security," a statement from China's foreign ministry Friday reads. It went on to say that it's long been an "open secret" that U.S. government agencies hack into foreign governments, companies, and individuals. "The U.S. side making unwarranted criticisms of China in the name of so-called 'cyber stealing' is blaming others while oneself is to be blamed, and is self-deception. China absolutely cannot accept this," according to the ill-tempered statement.
An Iowa man who admitted sexually abusing a 13-year-old has gone free after a county attorney turned up drunk at court. Under state law, defendants in Iowa must get a trial within a year of their arrest—but, after the judge ruled that the trial couldn't proceed with a drunk prosecutor, that year-long deadline expired and the accused was free to go. "The county attorney's unavailability at the last hearing was the finale following unexplained periods of inactivity and lack of responsiveness that prevented disposition of this case within one year," wrote Iowa District Court Judge Martha Mertz. County Attorney Michelle Murphy Rivera was arrested Oct. 18 at the courthouse, with a criminal complaint noting that she "was slurring her words and stumbling on her feet," and had a "strong odor of alcohol" about her. Police asked her to take a breath test—she refused and was arrested, and later pleaded guilty to a public-intoxication charge and was fined $65. The 23-year-old defendant had admitted to engaging in a sex act with a minor in August 2017, police records say.
Malaysia is seeking a $7.5 billion reparation payment from Goldman Sachs over the investment bank's involvement in the 1MDB scandal, which saw the misuse of billions in state funding. Malaysian prosecutors filed charges against Goldman this week regarding its role as underwriter and arranger of three bond sales that raised $6.5 billion for 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). The U.S. Department of Justice alleges some $4.5 billion was misappropriated from the fund and used to buy extravagances such as real estate in London and New York, expensive jewelry and artwork, and a private jet. According to the Financial Times, Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said reparations from Goldman should be far higher than the $1.8 billion sum the bank has told investors it had set aside for the legal case. "Their figure is $1.8 billion. Ours is $7.5 billion," Lim said. Goldman has denied wrongdoing and said members of the former Malaysian government and state fund lied to it about the proceeds of the bond sales.
A powerful storm in Seattle has hit the city with blasts of wind as high as 70 mph and left tens of thousands of homes and businesses without power. According to CNN, around 300,000 people were plunged into darkness as the storm hit its peak Thursday afternoon. Puget Sound Energy, Washington state's largest power company, reported on Twitter that 110,000 of its customers were still without power as of around 10 p.m. local time but that it had restored power to 172,000 customers since the storm was at its worst. The National Weather Service forecast says winds will remain high into Friday, but will not be as strong.
Net-a-Porter is like a visual encyclopedia of legacy brands and up-and-coming luxury designers, except you can actually buy everything you see. Their up to 70% off sale includes clothing, shoes, accessories, bags, jewelry, beauty, and more. It's basically a free-for-all of designer names like Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Balenciaga, Givenchy, and more, with prices that don't take a teaspoon of sugar to choke down. While the Christmas season is about giving to others and enjoying company and spreading cheer, there's always an opportunity to make yourself feel good too, like buying incredibly discounted designer clothing and calling it a day.
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