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John Brennan Reveals Concern About Collusion Between Trump Campaign & Russia

HeadlineMay 24, 2017
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Meanwhile, former CIA Director John Brennan testified to the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday, describing how he’d grown concerned last year about possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials who allegedly influenced the 2016 presidential election.

John Brennan: “I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign, that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals, and it raised questions in my mind, again, whether or not the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan went on to say he was worried the Russians would lure Trump campaign officials onto a “treasonous path.”

More Headlines fromMay 24, 2017

Britain: 4,000 Soldiers Deployed Nationwide After Manchester Bombing

May 24, 2017
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In Britain, nearly 4,000 soldiers have been deployed nationwide in the wake of a suicide bombing that killed 22 people and injured dozens at a concert in Manchester on Monday night. The victims were mostly young girls and parents who had taken their daughters to the concert by American pop star Ariana Grande. Authorities have identified the bombing suspect as Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old British man whose parents emigrated from Libya. Early this morning, police arrested three more people in Manchester as part of the investigation. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that the threat level in the U.K. will be raised from severe to critical, indicating another attack may be imminent. We’ll go to London for more on the bombing, with political commentator, historian and activist Tariq Ali, after headlines.

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Trump Hires Lawyer for Investigation into Campaign Ties with Russian Officials

May 24, 2017
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In the United States, President Donald Trump has lawyered up—appointing attorney Marc Kasowitz to represent him in the ongoing investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials to allegedly influence the 2016 election. Kasowitz has worked for Trump for over a decade. He threatened to sue The New York Times if it didn’t retract an explosive story in which multiple women accused Trump of sexual harassment. Kasowitz also represents Russia’s largest bank. He works at the same firm as former Senator Joe Lieberman, one of Trump’s front-running candidates to lead the FBI, following Trump’s firing of former Director James Comey.

Senate Committee Subpoenas 2 of Michael Flynn’s Businesses

May 24, 2017
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Brennan’s testimony Tuesday came as the Senate Intelligence Committee issued subpoenas for documents from two of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s businesses. This is committee vice chair Mark Warner.

Sen. Mark Warner: “The other two were that we issued two subpoenas to the two Michael Flynn businesses that we’re aware of—Flynn Intel LLC and, I think, Flynn Intel, Inc.—both located in Alexandria, Virginia, with a specific list of documents, because while we disagree with General Flynn’s lawyer’s interpretation of taking the Fifth, clearer—it is even more clear that a business does not have a right to take a Fifth if it’s a corporation.”

Flynn himself has pleaded the Fifth and refused to comply with a Senate Intelligence Committee subpoena demanding he turn over documents related to his meetings with Russian officials.

Smiling Trump Meets with Glum-Looking Pope Francis at Vatican

May 24, 2017
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All this comes as Trump continues his first foreign trip as president, meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican this morning. Photos show an apparently cheery President Trump standing beside the glum-looking pope. The White House pool report reads, “The Pope did not say anything. He did not smile. … We were quickly ushered out at 8:33 a.m.” Pope Francis has been highly critical of Trump, once saying, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.” On Thursday, Trump is slated to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Union officials in Brussels.

Baltimore Tenants Say Kushner Companies are “Neglectful” Landlords

May 24, 2017
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A new investigation by The New York Times Magazine reveals how Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s companies act as “neglectful and litigious” landlords of low-income housing units in Baltimore. The article chronicles how Kushner Companies hound low-income tenants with a barrage of lawsuits, eviction notices and late fees—even when the tenants are in the right. Tenants also described terrible maintenance practices, which created nearly unlivable conditions for some families.

Philippines: Duterte Declares Martial Law in Mindanao

May 24, 2017
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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in the region of Mindanao. This is Philippines presidential spokesperson Ernie Abella.

Ernie Abella: “The president has called me and asked me to announce that, as of 10 p.m. Manila time, he has already declared martial law for the entire island of Mindanao. As [Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo] Guevarra has clarified, that this is possible on the grounds of existence of rebellion because of what is happening in Mindanao.”

Duterte declared indefinite martial law after militants seized control of key buildings in Marawi City, sparking a battle with the Philippines military. Duterte said the martial law would be no different than what the Philippines experienced under dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Trump Praised Duterte for His Bloody War on Drugs in April Phone Call

May 24, 2017
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A new transcript obtained by The Intercept reveals that President Trump praised Duterte for his bloody war on drugs during their phone call in April, saying he’s doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem.” More than 7,000 people have been extrajudicially killed by police or vigilantes since Duterte launched his so-called war on drugs last June. Human rights groups have accused Duterte of using the campaign as cover to kill activists and community leaders. During the call, Trump also boasted to Duterte that the U.S. has two nuclear submarines off the coast of North Korea—though Trump added, “Not that we want to use them at all.”

Iraqi Military Opens Probe into Human Rights Abuses by Its Troops

May 24, 2017
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In news on Iraq, the U.S.-backed Iraqi military is opening an investigation into allegations of human rights violations committed by its troops fighting ISIS in Mosul. An Iraqi photographer who embedded with an elite unit of the Iraqi military has accused the forces of torturing and raping ISIS suspects in an article published by the German newspaper Der Spiegel. This comes as Airwars says airstrikes carried out by the U.S. or Iraqi Air Force reportedly killed dozens of civilians in the Shifa neighborhood of Mosul on Friday and Saturday.

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Pentagon: Army Failed to Keep Track of $1 Billion Worth of Arms in Iraq & Kuwait

May 24, 2017
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A newly declassified Pentagon audit has revealed that the U.S. Army has failed to keep track of more than $1 billion worth of weapons and military equipment, including tens of thousands of assault rifles and hundreds of armored vehicles, in Iraq and Kuwait. Amnesty International, who obtained the Pentagon report, said, “It makes for especially sobering reading given the long history of leakage of U.S. arms to multiple armed groups committing atrocities in Iraq, including the armed group calling itself the Islamic State.”

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Syrian Rights Group: U.S. Airstrikes Killed 225 Civilians over Past Month

May 24, 2017
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In Syria, Airwars says U.S.-led coalition airstrikes near Raqqa reportedly killed up to 15 civilians, including two children, on Sunday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says U.S.-led airstrikes have killed 225 civilians over the past month, including 44 children.

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Bahrain Troops Kill 1 Protester & Arrest 200+ at Sit-in Supporting Shia Cleric

May 24, 2017
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In Bahrain, security forces raided a sit-in near the home of a prominent Shia cleric, killing at least one protester and arresting over 200 more in the village of Diraz. The protesters support the cleric, Sheikh Isa Qassim, who just received a one-year suspended jail sentence over charges of corruption. He’s the most prominent Shia cleric in the Sunni-ruled kingdom of Bahrain, which is also a close U.S. ally, home to the Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

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Tunisia: Thousands Gather for Funeral of Protester Killed by Police

May 24, 2017
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In Tunisia, thousands of people gathered Tuesday for the funeral of a protester who was killed by police during demonstrations over jobs and economic inequality in southern Tunisia. Anouar Sakrafi died Monday after he was run over by a police truck during the demonstrations outside an oil and gas plant in Tataouine. Protesters torched two police stations following his death.

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U.S. Sues Fiat Chrysler over Software Allowing Ram Trucks to Skirt Emissions Rules

May 24, 2017
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Back in the United States, the Justice Department has sued Fiat Chrysler, accusing it of using illegal software to bypass emissions regulations. The EPA accused Fiat Chrysler of installing the software on more than 100,000 Ram pickup trucks, allowing the car to bypass emissions control systems and spew significantly higher levels of pollution. Another car company, Volkswagen, has admitted to using software to rig some 11 million vehicles worldwide, allowing them to emit up to 40 times more pollution than standards allow.

Thousands Protest McDonald’s & Amazon Shareholder Meetings

May 24, 2017
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And in Chicago, thousands of people marched Tuesday in advance of McDonald’s annual shareholder meeting today, demanding a $15 minimum wage and better working conditions. Despite the rain, fast-food workers, home care aides and other low-wage workers poured into the streets, holding signs reading “McJobs Cost Us All.” Protesters also gathered outside Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting in Seattle Tuesday to demand better conditions and contracts for Amazon workers, as well as that the company stop advertising on the far-right-wing website Breitbart News.

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