Michael Flynn apparently forgot to include a trip to the Middle East to explore nuclear power on his security clearance forms
President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, explored building nuclear power plants across the Middle East in 2015 — yet another detail that was left out during his security clearance screening, The Associated Press reports. Flynn was fired after just weeks on the job when it was revealed he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his meeting with the Russian ambassador. Flynn was also discovered to have accepted money from foreign governments, including Turkey, without following the proper legal process.
Flynn's former business associates disclosed the Mideast trip to lawmakers. Flynn reportedly had contact with Israeli and Egyptian government officials as part of the 2015 trip, and House Democrats are now pushing to learn if he met with representatives from any other nations. His travel was reportedly on the behalf of ACU Strategic Partners, but the proposal to build reactors seemingly never went beyond planning stages.
In his security clearance questionnaire, Flynn would have been specifically required to list any meetings abroad or with foreign government officials over the past seven years, The Associated Press notes. Flynn had his security clearance renewed in 2016, being the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and apparently listened to sensitive intelligence briefings with Trump as late as January 2017.
Regarding Flynn's Middle East trip, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) wrote: "It appears that General Flynn violated federal law by omitting this trip and these foreign contacts from his security clearance renewal application in 2016 and concealing them from security clearance investigators who interviewed him as part of the background check process." Read the full report at Bloomberg, and more about why Trump is so intensely obsessed with protecting Flynn here at The Week. Jeva Lange
Earlier this summer, special counsel Robert Mueller's office interviewed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about President Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The questioning took place in either June or July, several people with knowledge of the interview told the Journal, and could mean that investigators do not see Rosenstein as a major figure in the probe. Rosenstein took over the probe into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, and appointed Mueller in May to his role as special counsel. Catherine Garcia
Democratic Reps. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, and Adriano Espaillat of New York were arrested Tuesday on disorderly conduct charges during a protest outside Trump Tower in Manhattan.
The three members of Congress were part of a small group of demonstrators calling for legislation to be passed helping undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States by their parents as children. Protesters sat down on Fifth Avenue and wouldn't move, The Associated Press reports, and they were eventually handcuffed and led away by police, who said they issued desk appearance tickets. They have all been released.
Before the protest, organizers said the lawmakers planned on getting arrested, and on All In with Chris Hayes after his release, Gutierrez said the goal was to keep the spotlight on the issue. When working with immigrants, "you see the fear, the trepidation that exists, and it's hurtful, it's painful to see that," he said. "I want to say, 'We're fighting.'" Trump, in town for his United Nations address, was supposed to be at Trump Tower at the time, but wasn't on the premises. Catherine Garcia
At the age of eight, Sophia Spencer has done something that most scientists only dream of: she co-authored a paper that was published this month in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America.
Spencer, who lives in Canada, loves bugs — snails, slugs, caterpillars, and her personal favorite, grasshoppers. When the kids at school started making fun of her because they thought it was weird for her to be so interested in bugs, Spencer's mom wrote a letter to the Entomological Society of Canada, asking if they could share any words of encouragement, Quartz reports. After the request was tweeted out, support started flooding in for Spencer, and Morgan Jackson, an entomologist at the University of Guelph Insect Collection, decided to publish a paper on the importance of social media making science accessible to a greater audience, and asked Spencer to be his co-author.
Jackson analyzed engagement and the topics that were brought up, like getting more women involved in STEM, while Spencer wrote about her love of insects and what it was like to speak with entomologists. The tide has turned at school, Spencer said, and now the kids think bugs are cool and they use her microscope to get a closer look. "If somebody said bugs weren't for girls, I would be really mad at them," she said. "I think anything can be for anybody, including bugs." Catherine Garcia
Attorneys for first lady Melania Trump have warned the Americki Institut in Croatia to stop using her image on their billboard, next to the words, "Just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English."
Her lawyers said they are ready to sue the English-language school if they don't take down the billboards in Zagreb, which feature a painting of Trump in front of a microphone, within 24 hours, the BBC reports. The school's founder, Brett Campbell, told a Croatian publication all he is trying to do is emphasize the fact that "knowledge is essential for international success" and "if you are well-versed in English, in these markets you can go very far. And we can help you."
Trump is multi-lingual, speaking French, Italian, and German in addition to her native language of Slovenian and English. Since becoming first lady, her attorneys have gone after several companies for using her likeness without permission, including a honey business in Slovenia that was told they cannot use the name "Melania" on their labels. Catherine Garcia
A spokesman for President Trump's onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort said Tuesday if reports are correct that Manafort was wiretapped by federal investigators as part of a probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, there should be an "immediate investigation" into the leak by the Department of Justice's Inspector General.
"It is a felony to reveal the existence of a FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrant, regardless of the fact that no charges ever emerged," Jason Maloni said in a statement. Manafort is requesting the Department of Justice "release any intercepts involving him and any non-Americans so interested parties can come to the same conclusion as the DOJ — there is nothing there." CNN reported Monday that Manafort was wiretapped before Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel to take over the FBI's Russia investigation, and The New York Times reported that Manafort was told by prosecutors they plan to indict him. Catherine Garcia
Donations to President Trump's re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee are going towards paying off Trump's Russia probe legal bills, Reuters reported Tuesday. While it's legal for campaign funds to be used "to pay legal bills arising from being a candidate or elected official," Reuters reported that Trump "would be the first U.S. president in the modern campaign finance era to use such funds to cover the costs of responding to a criminal probe."
Reuters was not able to determine how much campaign cash Trump has spent so far on his team of lawyers, who are working on his behalf in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russia's election meddling and the Trump campaign's potential ties to it. However, one person familiar with the matter told Reuters that the first of his payments would be disclosed in public filings. The RNC is slated to release reports on its August spending Wednesday, and the Trump campaign's will be out in a month, on Oct. 15.
Either White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had a bad headache on Tuesday, or President Trump's debut address before the United Nations General Assembly was giving him one. While Trump was calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "Rocket Man," threatening to "totally destroy" North Korea, and informing world leaders that some countries, "in fact, are going to hell," Kelly sat beside first lady Melania Trump with his head in his hands and his eyes on the ground.
John Kelly apparently went through some sort of existential crisis during Trump's UN speech. pic.twitter.com/v0JUz21klN
— Kyle Feldscher (@Kyle_Feldscher) September 19, 2017
Another notable reaction was displayed by representatives from Zimbabwe, who looked equal parts amused, concerned, and sleepy. Becca Stanek
— Mike Giannoni (@mikegiannoni) September 19, 2017