Over a period of two hours early Saturday morning, President Donald Trump fired off a flurry of angry tweets touching on everything from controversy over his son's meeting with a Russian lawyer to reports that his new hire, Anthony Scaramucci, once backed Jeb Bush. In a tweet about a recent Washington Post alleging that Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed campaign issues with the Russian ambassador (something Sessions had denied), Trump appears to confirm the veracity of the story by writing, "A new INTELLIGENCE LEAK from the Amazon Washington Post,this time against A.G. Jeff Sessions.These illegal leaks, like Comey's, must stop!"
An American airstrike killed 16 Afghan policemen late Friday in a friendly-fire incident as U.S. forces assist in the country’s fight against the Taliban. The strike happened in the Gereshk district of Helmand Province, where U.S. forces have carried out dozens of airstrikes in recent days to help Afghan forces push back Taliban fighters. NATO’s mission in Afghanistan confirmed the “unfortunate incident” and said an investigation would be opened into the circumstances behind it. Ahmad Shakir, the chairman of the security committee of the Helmand provincial council, said the strike hit a police post that had temporarily been taken over by Taliban forces. “It is not yet clear how the post was hit, maybe because of wrong coordinates as the post was abandoned yesterday and retaken today,” Shakir was cited as saying by The New York Times.
The Russian lawyer whose meeting with Donald Trump Jr. last summer further fueled concerns over the president’s ties to Moscow recently says she is “disappointed” in reporting on the controversy. Natalia Veselnitskaya appeared to mock Reuters on Saturday for a report published Friday that connected her to Russia’s FSB, the country’s top spy agency once headed by Vladimir Putin. Citing Russian court documents, the report said Veselnitskaya—who has denied having ties to the Kremlin—represented the FSB in a legal battle from 2005 to 2013. “Is that all your evidence? I am disappointed. Dig around the case files!” Veselnitskaya responded to the report on Facebook. She said she has represented everyone from Russian businessmen to “world-renowned” foreign businessmen, as well as companies fighting the Russian government. “As Churchill put it: ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.’ Don't waste your time. Get busy,” she wrote.
Negotiators from the House and Senate reached a deal on sanctions unveiled Saturday that does not include the changes sought by President Trump to make lifting sanctions against Russia easier. The legislation on sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea passed the Senate with a vote of 98-2 last month but spent weeks stalled in the House. The White House had pushed to include language that would soften provisions allowing Congress to block the president from lifting or easing sanctions on Russia. But in the bipartisan deal announced Saturday, the bill will allow lawmakers to block Trump from making changes to sanctions policy. Ben Cardin, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, hailed the agreement. “A nearly united Congress is poised to send President Putin a clear message on behalf of the American people and our allies, and we need President Trump to help us deliver that message,” Cardin said in a statement. The bill is expected to pass with overwhelming support from both parties when it’s put to a vote on Tuesday.
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A 16-year-old German girl who ran away from home after converting to Islam has been found in Iraq, German authorities said Saturday. German prosecutor Lorenz Haase from Dresden said the girl, identified only as Linda M., is currently getting consular support from the German Embassy in Iraq. Haase declined to comment on reports that the teenager was found fighting with the so-called Islamic State in Mosul. Three Iraqi intelligence sources cited by the Associated Press said she had been working with the terrorist group’s police department, however. They said she married a Muslim Arab she had earlier met online after her arrival in ISIS-controlled territory. She was one of 26 foreigners arrested by Iraqi forces in Mosul after ISIS was forced out of the territory, officials said. Haase said German authorities have not requested an arrest warrant and will not request her extradition. But “there is the possibility that Linda might be put on trial in Iraq,” he said.
More than 90 people were hospitalized Friday night during a concert in Connecticut featuring Chance the Rapper, authorities said Saturday. Hartford Deputy Chief Brian Foley said the bulk of the hospitalizations were due to underage concert-goers suffering “severe intoxication.” In addition, at least 50 people were cited by police for underage drinking, he said. About 21,000 people attended Hot 93.7′s Hot Jam concert at Xfinity Theatre, where Chance the Rapper was headlining. Kyle, PnB Rock and ANoyd also performed at the event. “Tailgating, partying and excessive alcohol consumption was extremely prevalent” throughout the concert, Foley said. No further details were provided on the condition of those hospitalized, but police said updates would be given once more information is available.
Israeli authorities say they will demolish the home of a 20-year-old Palestinian man accused of killing three members of an Israeli family in their West Bank home on Friday amid escalating tensions over a Jerusalem holy site. Israeli Defense Minister Avigodor Lieberman announced the news on Saturday in a meeting with senior military commanders, calling on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to condemn the “slaughter,” the Associated Press reports. Israeli authorities also said they’d be sending more troops to the West Bank after Friday witnessed some of the most violent street clashes in years. The unrest erupted earlier this week after Israeli authorities announced plans to install metal detectors at a shrine in Jerusalem’s Old City, a move seen by some Muslim leaders as a bid to take control of the contested site. In addition to the three Israelis killed late Friday, three Palestinians were killed in clashes with police at Jerusalem’s Old City earlier in the day.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has ordered police officers to shoot drug traffickers amid the country’s “narcotics emergency.” In a speech delivered late Friday, Widodo urged the law enforcement community to “be firm, especially to foreign drug dealers who enter the country and resist arrest.” “Shoot them because we indeed are in a narcotics emergency position now,” he said, according to Reuters. Widodo’s comments come a week after police fatally shot a Taiwanese man accused of trying to smuggle crystal methamphetamine into the country. The national police chief responded to that incident by telling officers not to hesitate in shooting drug dealers who resist arrest.
Actor John Heard was found dead Friday in a hotel in Palo Alto, TMZ reported Saturday, citing family sources. Heard, most well-known for his role as Kevin McAllister’s dad in the Home Alone movies, was 72. The cause of death was not immediately known, but Heard was reportedly recovering from “minor back surgery” that he underwent on Wednesday. Heard also featured in the iconic 80s films Big and Beaches, and had roles in Miami Vice and The Sopranos more recently.