Former FBI official says ‘crime may have been committed’ by Trump

Washington: Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe has said in an interview that a "crime may have been committed" when President Donald Trump fired the head of the FBI and tried to publicly undermine an investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia.

McCabe also said in the interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday in the US that the FBI had good reason to open a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was in league with Russia, and therefore a possible national security threat, following the May 2017 firing of then-FBI Director James Comey.

Andrew McCabe said a crime may have been committed by Donald Trump when he fired FBI director James Comey.Credit:AP

"And the idea is, if the President committed obstruction of justice, fired the director of the FBI to negatively impact or to shut down our investigation of Russia's malign activity and possibly in support of his campaign, as a counterintelligence investigator you have to ask yourself, 'why would a president of the United States do that?'" McCabe said.

He added: "So all those same sorts of facts cause us to wonder is there an inappropriate relationship, a connection between this president and our most fearsome enemy, the government of Russia?"

Asked whether Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein was on board with the obstruction and counterintelligence investigations, McCabe replied, "absolutely".

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein was serious when he proposed wearing a wire to record Trump, McCabe said.Credit:Bloomberg

McCabe said the remark was made during a conversation about why Trump had fired Comey.

"And in the context of that conversation, the Deputy Attorney-General offered to wear a wire into the White House. He said, 'I never get searched when I go into the White House. I could easily wear a recording device. They wouldn't know it was there'," McCabe said.

In excerpts released last week by CBS News, McCabe also described a conversation in which Rosenstein had broached the idea of invoking the Constitution's 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. The Justice Department said in a statement that Rosenstein, based on his dealings with Trump, does not see cause to seek the removal of the President.

Senator Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, vowed to investigate whether the top officials at the Justice Department and the FBI plotted an "attempted bureaucratic coup" to remove Trump from office. He said he would subpoena McCabe and Rosenstein if necessary.

Trump reiterated his criticism of McCabe and said the attempted coup was "treasonous".

Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat who is seeking her party's nomination for president, told reporters after a campaign event on Sunday in Las Vegas that if the people around Trump believe he cannot fulfil the obligations of his office, then they have a duty to invoke the 25th Amendment.

A favourite target of Trump's ire, Warren said she has no special knowledge on whether there are grounds to remove Trump from office but said that "there are a whole lot of people who do see him every day who evidently were talking about invoking the 25th Amendment".

AP

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US official says troop withdrawal from Syria has started

US withdrawal of troops from Syria has officially begun, military spokesman confirms but refuses to discuss timeline of exit or specific locations

  • United States has begun ‘the process of deliberate withdrawal from Syria’
  • US military convoy drove from Rmeilan, northeastern Syria into Iraq last night
  • The US has some 2,000 troops on the ground in Syria, according to reports 

An American military official says the U.S.-led military coalition has begun the process of withdrawing troops from Syria.

Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the U.S.-coalition fighting ISIS, says the U.S. started ‘the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria.’

The withdrawal began Thursday night, according to the UK-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The U.S. has started ‘the process of deliberate withdrawal from Syria’. Pictured is a convoy of US military vehicles in Syria’s northern city of Manbij two weeks ago 

It said a convoy of about ten armored vehicles, in addition to some trucks, pulled out from Syria’s northeastern town of Rmeilan into Iraq.

‘CJTF-OIR has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria,’ spokesman Colonel Sean Ryan said in a statement, referring to the US-led anti-jihadist force.


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‘Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troops movements,’ he said. 

Trump’s shock announcement on December 19 that he was withdrawing all 2,000 American troops from the conflict-wracked Middle Eastern country concerned allies and prompted the resignation of his then defense chief Jim Mattis.

Since then, however, administration officials appear to have walked back considerably and the current envisaged timetable is unclear.

The removal of the equipment in recent days was first reported by CNN, which quoted an administration official with direct knowledge of the operation as saying it signaled the beginning of US withdrawal from the Middle Eastern country.

A U.S. soldier, left, sits on an armored vehicle behind a sand barrier at a newly installed position near the front line between the U.S-backed Syrian Manbij Military Council and the Turkish-backed fighters, in Manbij, north Syria in April last year

The official quoted by CNN would not describe exactly what the cargo was or how it was being transported.

They also did not say what part of Syria it came from, though it is expected the drawdown would begin in the country’s north.

The CNN report added that officials it had previously spoken to said the Pentagon wants to signal to the president it is working towards his goals following his withdrawal decision last month.

Though the removal of troops is not on the cards immediately, withdrawing equipment is a means of showing progress towards this goal, it added.

On Sunday, National Security Adviser John Bolton set out stringent conditions for the proposed withdrawal, saying the defense of allies must first be assured.

‘We’re going to be discussing the president’s decision to withdraw, but to do so from northeast Syria in a way that makes sure that ISIS is defeated and is not able to revive itself and become a threat again,’ Bolton said when meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

Speaking in Egypt Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed the troop pullout from Syria would go ahead as he urged Middle East nations to forge a common stand against Tehran.

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Customs official ‘allows shoppers smuggle goods in return for sex’

Chinese customs official is accused of allowing shoppers smuggle in luxury goods in return for sex

  • Head of customs at Dalian port Guan Zhaojin, 37, is accused of abusing his power
  • Wife said he helped ‘professional shoppers’ smuggle goods in exchange for sex
  • Video shows Guan in his underwear confessing to sleeping with seven women 

A high-ranking customs official at a major Chinese port has been accused of helping ‘professional shoppers’ smuggle luxury goods from overseas in exchange for sex. 

Guan Zhaojin, 37, the head of customs at Dalian port in north-east China’s Liaoning province, has also been accused of taking bribes and abusing his power while helping the shoppers evade inspections and customs duty. 

He was reported to the authorities last August by his wife, 36, who shared a video of him confessing to the affairs with the women. The video went viral his week, sparking an outcry. 

Guan Zhaojin, 37, the head of customs at Dalian port in north-east China’s Liaoning province, has also been accused of taking bribes and abusing his power while helping the shoppers evade inspections and customs duty. He has been suspended amid investigations


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In the video posted by his wife, surnamed Bu, Guan was seen wearing only a pair of underpants and listing the names of at least seven women he has slept with. 

Guan has been suspended from his job and is under investigation, the Dalian Customs District said on its official Weibo account on Sunday. 

‘We have received new leads and online reaction concerning Guan Zhaojin’s cover-up and assisting with smuggling, corruption and bribery,’ the authority said. 

The customs office said a team has been set up to strictly review the evidence and the authority will publicise the result of the investigation. 

Guan denied the affairs and said he was cleared of any wrongdoing by Dalian Customs last September, according to The Paper.  


Guan was reported to the the authorities last August by his wife, 36, who shared a video of him confessing to the affairs with the women. The video went viral his week, sparking an outcry

Guan had relationships with 14 women, Guan’s wife said. Married since 2009, the couple originally lived in Shenyang before her husband was transferred to Dalian in 2016 

Guan’s wife told MailOnline she found out Guan was taking bribes and sleeping with the shoppers while checking his phone for evidence of an affair. 

‘I suspected he was having more than one affair. Then I found out through his messages with the women he was violating the law,’ Bu said. 

Guan had relationships with 14 women and slept with nine of them, she said. Married since 2009, the couple originally lived in Shenyang before her husband was transferred to Dalian in 2016. 

‘I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I have forgiven him many times and he was still having affairs,’ she added. 

‘I hope he will get the punishment he deserves,’ she said, adding that she will seek a divorce.  

Professional shoppers, known as ‘daigou’ in China, purchase products including expensive purses, cosmetics and infant formula overseas and sell them back in China via messaging app WeChat or Chinese e-commerce platforms. 

Professional shoppers, known as ‘daigou’ in China, purchase products including expensive purses, cosmetics and infant formula overseas and sell them back in China via messaging app WeChat or Chinese e-commerce platforms. Above, the city of Dalian, Liaoning province

Due to China’s heavy import tariffs of 30 per cent to 80 per cent, the industry has been thriving in the country. There is an estimated one million small-time business operators who frequently shop overseas, according to Caixin. 

A 2015 report by consulting firm Bain said that the daigou market for luxury goods alone was worth between 34 billion yuan (£3.9 billion) to 50 billion yuan (£5.8 billion). 

Last year, an estimated US$100 million (£78 million) of foreign luxury goods was brought into China. 

A hardworking daigou could earn 50,000 yuan (£5,777) to 60,000 yuan (£6,932) every month – around eight times Shanghai’s average salary. 

On Jan 1, China’s new e-commerce law came into effect to clamp down on the unregulated trade. Daigous are required to register as businesses, which make them subject to taxation. 

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Demi Lovato And Her New Man Are Instagram Official

Despite Demi Lovato‘s recent plea to her everyone to leave her the eff alone about her near death OD, there is one piece of personal info that Demi is happily serving up today. Demi has gone Instagram official with the news that she has upgraded her “sober companion” to her “slobber companion”, as she posted a video of her kissing her current purse holder, oh-so-edgy clothing designer Henri Levy.

We first heard about Henri and Demi hanging out when she left rehab earlier than expected and was seen dining with him at a restaurant in Beverly Hills. They were even seen holding hands for a moment, but the world wasn’t ready for this story, as everyone was waiting for Wilmer Valderrama to pull a Richard Gere in Pretty Woman and show up on that horse to try and win back Demi’s affection. But alas, that Wilmer thing isn’t going to happen, as Demi and Henri are now a thing.

So who is this guy Henri who has won Demi’s affections? Heavy says that they met in rehab a couple of years ago and have been attending AA meetings together. He founded a clothing label called Enfants Riches Déprimés that sells faux punk gear at premium cost, with t-shirts around the $300 mark and leather jackets upwards of $7,000. He’s also so edgy it hurts.

Levy’s designs have elicited controversy over the years, particularly the shirts that bear slogans like “My Nazi parents” and shirts that featured Mickey Mouse emblazoned with a swastika having sexual intercourse with Minnie Mouse after presumably giving her a black eye. Levy also caused controversy when he sold a $7,000 cashmere noose. “If you were going to kill yourself, wouldn’t you want to do it with a $7,000 cashmere noose?” he explained to The Guardian in 2016.

Henri has already earned some press for a messy Instagram feud he had with the band Black Anvil after they dissed his designs after Kim Kardashian-West was seen wearing a jacket he designed that the band deemed too “punk” for that poseur Kimmy K (Point: Black Anvil).

Here is the cringey video of Demi and Henri smacking dry lips on what appears to be a private jet, as it first appeared on Henri’s Instagram page, before making it’s way onto this “Demi Lovato Poland News” Twitter page. Yes, the internet is magical and works in mysterious ways.

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Canadian businessman missing after questioning by Chinese authorities

Canadian businessman, who is one of the few Westerners to have met Kim Jong-Un, is declared missing in China two days after a former Canadian diplomat was detained there

  • Canadian Michael Spavor was pronounced missing in China on Wednesday
  • Canada’s foreign minister confirmed he went missing after he alerted the Canadian government that he was being questioned by Chinese authorities
  • His disappearance comes just two days after former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig was detained in China on Monday  
  • The Chinese arrests may be acts of retaliation after Canada detained Chinese telecommunications company Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on December 1
  • She was detained at the request of the United States for possible extradition  
  • She was granted bail on Tuesday but must remain in the Vancouver area 

A Canadian businessman, who is one of the only Western figures to have met North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, has gone missing in China. 

Michael Spavor has been declared missing after he alerted the Canadian government he was being taken in for questioning in China earlier this week and hasn’t been heard from since, according to Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland. 

He is the second Canadian figure to go missing in China in the past two days.

Spavor is the director of the Paektu Cultural Exchange, a company that brings tourists and athletes to North Korea. He helped arrange a visit to North Korea where former NBA player Dennis Rodman met Kim Jong-Un in 2017.

Global Affairs Canada confirmed that Spavor has missing in a statement on Wednesday evening. 


Canadian businessman Michael Spavor was pronounced missing in China on Wednesday after he was questioned by local authorities and hasn’t been heard from since

Spavor is the director of the Paektu Cultural Exchange, a company that brings tourists and athletes to North Korea and is one of the few Westerners to have met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

He was due to be in Seoul, South Korea on Monday but never showed up. He told Canadian authorities he was summoned for questioning in China and hasn’t been heard from since. Spavor pictured above with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un

He helped arrange a visit to North Korea by former NBA player Dennis Rodman (pictured left)

‘We are aware that a Canadian citizen, Mr Michael Spavor, is presently missing in China,’ the government said. 

‘As the Foreign Minister said today, we are aware of a Canadian citizen who was in contact with us from China. We have been unable to make contact since he let us know he was being questioned by Chinese authorities. We are working very hard to ascertain his whereabouts and we continue to raise this with the Chinese government,’ the statement added.  

His disappearance comes just two days after former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig was detained in China on Monday December 10.

He was arrested on suspicion of engaging in ‘activities that harmed China’s national security’, according to Chinese media. 

‘Canada is deeply concerned about the detention of Mr. Kovrig and Canada has raised the case directly with Chinese officials,’ Foreign minister Chrystia Freeland said after his arrest. 

After Kovrig was detained, Spavor contacted the Canadian government saying he was summoned for questioning. He’s believed to have been missing since Monday as well. 

He reportedly knows Kovrig, according to The Globe and Mail. 


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His disappearance comes just two days after former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig was detained in China on Monday. Kovrig and Spavor reportedly know each other 

Spavor lives in China but works closely with North and South Korea. He was due to arrive to Seoul, South Korea on Monday but never showed up, according to CTV News.   

It also comes less than two weeks after Meng Wanzhou, the chief executive of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, was arrested in Vancouver on December 1, at the request of the United States for possible extradition. 

Wanzhou was arrested on U.S. claims that she used a Hong Kong shell company to do business with Iran, violating U.S. sanctions. 

Meng was released on Tuesday after posting $10million bail but she is still confined to Vancouver and nearby suburbs and must where a GPS tracker.

The Canadian government has not said if the detainment of Kovrig and Spavor are acts of retaliation by the Chinese government following Wanzhou’s arrest. 

Friends and experts say Kovrig may have become a ‘hostage’ and ‘pawn’ in a three-nation feud, according to AFP.   


Kovrig and Spavor’s detainment follow the arrest of prominent Chinese businesswoman Meng Wanzhou, 46, in Vancouver, Canada on December 1. Wanzhou was arrested on U.S. claims that she used a Hong Kong shell company to do business with Iran, violating U.S. sanctions

Meng was released on Tuesday after posting $10million bail but she is still confined to Vancouver and nearby suburbs and must where a GPS tracker. Pictured above arriving to the parole office with a security guard in Vancouver

According to Canada’s former ambassador to China Guy Saint-Jacques, ‘In China there are no coincidences’. 

‘In this case it is clear the Chinese government wants to put maximum pressure on the Canadian government,’ he said to Canadian Broadcasing Corporation on Tuesday when asked about Kovrig’s arrest that shortly followed Wanzhou’s. 

After Wanzhou was arrested, China threatened severe consequences to Canada.  

Analysts predicted that retaliation for the arrest was likely. 

The tensions between Canada and China come as the U.S. and China make trade talks this week. 

The president said he’d wade into the case of Wanzhou if it would help produce a trade agreement with China.   

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