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November 20, 2018

President Trump has conceded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "could very well" have known about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. But he's still not going to punish Saudi Arabia's government for it.

The CIA has reportedly determined that bin Salman directed Khashoggi's murder, and Trump is expected to receive a full CIA briefing Tuesday, per CNN. Still, the president signaled in a Tuesday statement that no matter what the CIA tells him, he still won't take retaliatory action against the Saudi government.

Khashoggi's Oct. 2 killing in Turkey's Saudi consulate "was a terrible one," Trump said. But regardless of who is responsible for it, Trump suggested Saudi Arabia is a "great ally," is "leading the fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism," and has deep economic ties to the U.S. Giving up those ties would "be a wonderful gift" to Russia and China, Trump said, adding that it would fail Trump's "America first" mission. He additionally seemed to accept the Saudi government's criticism of Khashoggi. "Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that [Khashoggi] was an 'enemy of the state' and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that," he wrote.

Trump then cast doubts on what the CIA may have learned about Khashoggi's death, saying "we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder." The Treasury Department "already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder," Trump acknowledged, and his entire statement suggests this is the harshest action he will take against the Saudi government. Read the whole statement below. Kathryn Krawczyk

7:53 a.m.

Preliminary results of the European Union parliamentary elections show that nationalist parties gained significant ground in the U.K., France, Italy, and Poland. Parties like Britain's Brexit party, led by Nigel Farage, and France's National Rally party, led by far-right figurehead Marine Le Pen, took the most votes in their home countries.

However, Reuters reported, these victories in individual countries still didn't "dramatically alter the balance of pro-European power in EU assembly." Pro-Europe groups, including the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and the Greens/European Free Alliance party, held strong with 504 out of the 751 available seats in parliament. The EU's new priority will be "the search for a majority," as no single party took enough seats to hold a simple majority.

Europeans managed to sharply buck the norm of low voter turnout at EU parliament elections. This time, 51 percent of eligible voters cast their vote, the highest turnout in 20 years. Back in 2014, that figure was only 43 percent. But renewed nationalist sentiment, along with its opposition, seems to have invigorated European voters enough to reverse the trend of "falling participation since the first direct EU vote in 1979."

Read more at Reuters. Shivani Ishwar

May 26, 2019

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, gave a lengthy interview for ABC's This Week which aired on Sunday. While Buttigieg is usually known for his measured opinions, the 37-year-old mayor was a little more fiery during his conversation with Martha Raddatz. Here are three standout moments.

On the military — Buttigieg, who served in Afghanistan, was highly critical of President Trump's ideas about the military. First, he doubled down on his comments that Trump faked his bone spurs to avoid serving in Vietnam, calling it "an assault on the honor of this country." He later added that Trump's potential pardoning of soldiers accused of war crimes "undermines the foundations of this country."

North Korea negotiations aren't working — While Buttigieg is a fan of diplomacy, he doesn't fully agree with Trump's tactics regarding North Korea. In fact, he thinks the main thing Trump accomplished was legitimizing a rogue state.

His experience comes from his office, not his age — Buttigieg often gets questioned about his youth and lack of experience in Washington. But he argues that his job as mayor might prepare him even more for the presidency than serving in Congress would. "You can be a very senior member of Congress and have never in your life managed more than 100 people," he said. Tim O'Donnell

May 26, 2019

Bart Starr, a Hall of Fame quarterback known for guiding the Green Bay Packers to victory in the first two Super Bowls ever in 1967 and 1968, died on Sunday in Birmingham, Alabama. Starr had battled numerous health issues in recent years, including two strokes, a heart attack, and several seizures. He was 85.

Starr and the Packers won three other NFL championships before the Super Bowl began, giving him five titles in a decade — a feat not even Tom Brady can claim. Starr also won the league's Most Valuable Player award in 1966.

In a team press release, the Packers described Starr as "maybe the most popular player" in franchise history. He is also known for his game-winning quarterback sneak to beat the Dallas Cowboys in the 1967 NFL championship, a memorable game dubbed the "Ice Bowl" due to the frigid winter temperatures in Green Bay.

"While he may always be best known for his success as the Packers quarterback for 16 years, his true legacy will always be the respectful manner in which he treated every person he met, his humble demeanor, and his generous spirit," his family said in a statement. Tim O'Donnell

May 26, 2019

Sumo wrestling and trade negotiations make for an unlikely combination. But Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is hoping the two mesh well.

During his visit to Japan on Sunday, President Trump presented a special "President's Cup" trophy to the winner of a sumo wrestling tournament, one of Japan's most significant cultural institutions. The winner, Asanoyama, became the first recipient of a winner's trophy awarded by a United States president.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump sat in ringside armchairs during the bouts, The Guardian reports, as opposed to the traditional form of viewership — sitting cross-legged on thin cushions.

The gesture, orchestrated by Abe, is widely viewed as a diplomatic attempt to flatter Trump as the two countries gear up for trade negotiations, which Trump tweeted would likely develop more fully after Japan's elections in July.

In the short term, at least, it appears Abe made the right call — Trump seems to have enjoyed the moment. Tim O'Donnell

May 26, 2019

Felix Klein, Germany's anti-Semitism commissioner, on Saturday warned the country's Jewish population about the potential dangers of donning the kippa, a traditional Jewish skullcap, in public.

Klein said his position on the matter has changed over time, citing a rise in anti-Semitic activity in Germany, mostly on the far right of the political spectrum, including from leaders of the Alternative for Germany Party who have openly questioned Germany's policy of atonement for the Holocaust and other World War II atrocities, France 24 reports. "The internet and social media have largely contributed to this," he said in an interview published by the Funke regional press group. "But so have constant attacks against our culture of remembrance."

Official figures show there were 1,646 hate crimes committed against Jews in Germany in 2018, a sharp increase from the year prior. Klein also suggested police, teachers, and lawyers should receive better training to recognize anti-Semitic behavior.

Recently, Berlin's top legal expert on anti-Semitism, Claudia Vanoni, told Agence France-Presse that while the issue has always been "deeply rooted" in German society, "it has become louder, more aggressive, and flagrant." Tim O'Donnell

May 26, 2019

President Trump's appeal against an order from a federal judge which allowed for Deutsche Bank and Capital One to hand over financial records to Democratic lawmakers was successful in delaying the process, a Southern District of New York court filing revealed on Saturday.

Until a final decision is reached on the appeal, the two banks will not have to immediately comply with the subpoenas, which call for financial records of Trump, three of his children, and the Trump Organization. The delay is the result of what Reuters calls a "rare accord" between Trump's attorneys, the banks, and the House Intelligence and Financial Services Committees.

Trump's legal team has argued the subpoenas exceed the authority of Congress, but U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos found they do, in fact, fall under Congress' authority to conduct investigations to further legislation, Reuters reports. Tim O'Donnell

May 26, 2019

Norway's foreign ministry confirmed on Saturday that delegates from both Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's government and the country's opposition led by Juan Guaidó will meet in Oslo next week to negotiate an end to Venezuela's political crisis.

Both sides met separately with Norwegian mediators last week for preliminary talks. Guaidó has been hesitant about sending representatives to meet with the government, arguing Maduro has used negotiations as nothing more than a stalling tactic in the past. But as the opposition continues to lose momentum, he confirmed he would support the Oslo talks during a rally on Saturday, though he insisted his side would maintain that a transfer of power is necessary. The U.S. State Department shares that sentiment. "As we have stated repeatedly, we believe the only thing to negotiate with Nicolás Maduro is the conditions of his departure," department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.

Maduro has also publicly endorsed the Norway talks, but has shown no indication he would step down.

Norway has a history of successfully mediating foreign internal conflicts, including situations in Colombia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. Tim O'Donnell

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