President Donald Trump asked two of the country’s most senior intelligence officials to publicly deny the existence of any evidence linking his presidential campaign with Russian efforts to undermine the American political process, The Washington Post reported on Monday evening. According to the Post, Trump appealed to Daniel Coats, the director of national intelligence, and to Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, after then-FBI Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee that the bureau was investigating “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government.” The Post also reports that White House officials asked intelligence officials about the possibility of directing Comey to end the FBI’s investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, apparently out of a lack of understanding of how much influence the president has over FBI investigations. “The White House does not confirm or deny unsubstantiated claims based on illegal leaks from anonymous individuals,” a White House spokesperson an anonymously said of the report. “The president will continue to focus on his agenda that he was elected to pursue by the American people.”
Singer Ariana Grande said she’s “broken” after at least 19 people were killed in a blast at her concert on Monday night. In a gut-wrenching statement on Twitter, Grande wrote, “From the bottom of my heart. I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.” Grande was reportedly in hysterics after learning of the fatalities in the blast, which occurred when her fans were leaving her concert at the Manchester Arena late Monday. In addition to the 19 people killed, at least another 50 were injured. Sources close to the singer were cited by TMZ as saying her world tour will be suspended indefinitely in the wake of the attack, with an upcoming show in London on Thursday canceled. Grande and her team are reportedly worried about security at upcoming shows. Grande’s manager, Scooter Braun, condemned the explosion as a “cowardly act” in a separate statement, saying “words cannot express our sorrow.” “We ask all of you to hold the victims, their families, and all those affected in your hearts and prayers,” Braun wrote on Twitter. Authorities said they are treating the incident as a terrorist attack.
Scandal-plagued Fox News on Monday was slapped with three additional lawsuits alleging sexual and racial discrimination at the cable-news network. The latest claims came from employees in Fox's accounting and radio departments. Two of the allegations involve female employees alleging they were fired almost immediately after informing a supervisor of their pregnancies (with some “racial discrimination” thrown in); and the other claim mentions “unrelenting sexual harassment” at the hands of a co-worker, who at one point threatened her against making a claim with the human-relations department. Fox News blasted all three lawsuits as “without legal basis.”
Supporters of the self-proclaimed Islamic State cheered the bombing of an Ariana Grande concert that left at least 19 dead on Monday night, with some calling for more such attacks on social media. Although the terrorist group has not claimed responsibility for the attack, supporters of the militants used Twitter accounts tied to the group to praise the blast, describing it as retaliation for Western airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. Using the trending #ArianaGrande and #Manchester hashtags, they posted ISIS propaganda materials and called for similar attacks to be carried out elsewhere, using the slogans, “Kill Them Wherever You Find Them” and “Kill Them Everywhere.”
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Monday praised the appointment of Robert Mueller as a special counsel overseeing the FBI’s Russia probe, sharply differing from the way President Trump reacted to the news. “I think we absolutely need the investigation,” Haley told NBC’s Today show while visiting Jordan on a foreign trip. “I think that all these questions need to be answered so that the administration can get back to work.” The White House, however, blasted Mueller’s appointment last week, with Trump himself claiming it to be part of “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history.”
President Trump on Monday seemed to confirm The New York Times’ report that Israel was the source of classified intelligence he revealed to Russian officials during an Oval Office visit several weeks ago. “I never mentioned the word or the name Israel. Never mentioned during that conversation,” he told reporters during a press availability with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “They’re all saying I did, so you have another story wrong. Never mentioned the word Israel.” However, no one ever accused the president of mentioning Israel by name during the Russia meeting—instead, as the Times originally reported, he disclosed classified information that was provided to intelligence officials reportedly by Israel, unbeknownst to him. The point of the controversy surrounding his revealing of the information to Russian diplomats was not that he mentioned a specific source, but that the information he revealed was enough for the Russians to figure out the source.
Seven al Qaeda militants were killed in a morning raid at a compound in Yemen on Tuesday, the U.S. military said. A statement from U.S. Central Command said the militants were killed “through a combination of small arms fire and precision airstrikes” with support from Yemeni authorities. Two U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Reuters that U.S. forces didn’t suffer any injuries or casualties in the operation, which was carried out not far from where a Navy SEAL was killed in another raid in January. The main goal of the operation was to gather intelligence, they said. No further details were provided.
Mississippi state Rep. Karl Oliver on Monday apologized for his previous comments calling for the lynching of officials responsible for the removal of Confederate monuments from New Orleans. The Republican lawmaker wrote on Facebook over the weekend: “The destruction of these monuments, erected in the loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific. If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, ‘leadership’ of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED! Let it be known, I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening in our State.” The post, whcih was removed Monday, was made in response to three monuments being removed from New Orleans. In a statement, he apologized: “I, first and foremost, wish to extend this apology for any embarrassment I have caused to both my colleagues and fellow Mississippians,” Oliver said. “In an effort to express my passion for preserving all historical monuments, I acknowledge the word ‘lynched’ was wrong. I am very sorry. It is in no way, ever, an appropriate term. I deeply regret that I chose this word, and I do not condone the actions I referenced, nor do I believe them in my heart. I freely admit my choice of words was horribly wrong, and I humbly ask your forgiveness.”
Five officers involved in the case of Freddie Gray’s death are facing internal discipline related to the man’s fatal 2015 arrest, and three of them could be fired by the Baltimore Police Department. Officer Caesar Goodson one of the officers who could be fired—he was driving the van where an autopsy later determined Gray suffered fatal injuries. Two other officers, Lt. Brian Rice and Sgt. Alicia White, also could lose their jobs over their involvement in Gray’s death. The cops who arrested Gray face five days suspension without pay. Another officer, William Porter, was criminally charged with manslaughter but does not face any internal discipline. The five internally charged officers can either accept the recommended punishments or contest the charges before a disciplinary panel, which would be a public hearing.
A sea lion has become an internet sensation overnight after yanking a little girl off a Canadian dock this weekend. The girl, who has not been identified, was not harmed in the attack Saturday, but video of the incident quickly went viral. Taken by Michael Fujiwara and posted on YouTube, the video shows a group of tourists in the seaside town of Steveston remarking on how cute a sea lion is as it swims up to the dock where they’re standing. As the group marvels at how big the animal is, the little girl sits down on the edge of the dock. The sea lion then abruptly lunges at the girl, snatches her by her dress, and yanks her into the water. The girl looks shell-shocked as she looks up from the water, but a man quickly dives in and rescues her. While the incident left many shocked by what they saw as the sea lion’s unexpected aggression, experts were more baffled by the behavior of the people in the video. Andrew Tites, director of the University of British Columbia’s Marine Mammal Research Unit, told CBC News that the sea lion most likely thought the girl’s dress was food. “My first reaction to the video is just how stupid some people can be to not treat wildlife with proper respect,” he said, adding that sea lions “are not circus performers.” “They’re not trained to be next to people.”