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Hannity and Manafort’s Gushing Text Messages Revealed: ‘We Are All on the Same Team’

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 18:22

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photo GettyThroughout Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecution of Paul Manafort, he found a willing and enthusiastic ally and confidante: Fox News host and presidential pal Sean Hannity. On Friday, a D.C. federal judge released dozens of pages of private text messages between the former Trump campaign chairman and Hannity, who at one point offered “anything I can do to help.”The messages show Hannity apparently reached out shortly after the FBI raided Manafort’s Alexandria, Virginia apartment in August 2017. Hannity checked in on Manafort throughout the course of the special counsel’s investigation and prosecution of him, asking if he was OK. Like many other higher-ups in Trump’s orbit, Manafort maintained a friendly relationship with Hannity during the 2016 election and kept in touch after he left the Trump campaign in August 2016.  The special counsel’s office charged Manafort with tax and bank fraud counts in Virginia and tried him in a separate case in Washington, D.C. for acting as an unregistered foreign agent, money laundering and obstruction of justice. Trump to Hannity: You’re ‘Not Really’ a Patriot, You Just Want ‘Great Ratings’Hannity spent large portions of his texts with Manafort discussing (and rehashing) episodes of his own television show. He complained about never-Trumpers, Hillary Clinton, and the special counsel’s investigation. Hannity also repeatedly invited Manafort on TV, saying it would give to defend himself against Mueller’s prosecutors. Hannity told Manafort to connect him with his lawyer to get information on important developments. Manafort repeatedly declined, citing a court gag order restricting him from publicly discussing his case. But the text messages were perhaps the most blatant behind-the-scenes look at how cozy the host was with Manafort, the subject of hours of news coverage on Fox and Hannity’s show in particular.Hannity in one instance declared he was “NOT a fair weather friend,” and told Manafort how unfairly he believed he was being treated. “We are all on the same team,” he said. Manafort also had plenty of compliments for Hannity, saying he was on “fire,” “great” on radio, and declared that “in a fair world, you would get a Pulitzer prize for your incredible reporting.” He said he loved Hannity’s interview with former Trump adviser Roger Stone, and in one instance, Manafort said he watched the show with his three month old grandson, who was apparently mesmerized.“I swear to God. He was totally focused. Your audience is growing demographically,” he said.“You help me keep my hope and sanity,” Manafort said on another occasion. And throughout the investigation and trial, Hannity repeatedly publicly called for the charges against Manafort to be dropped. Hannity even hinted at insider knowledge of attempts to retaliate against those involved in the Russia investigation. When Manafort said he hoped that then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions would appoint a new special counsel to investigate the Russia inquiry, Hannity texted “He has to [do] it [or else] he is gone. Talked to a friend.” While it’s unclear who Hannity was talking about, he often speaks to Trump.After the text messages were revealed on Friday, Hannity appeared to shrug them off, writing on Twitter that his views on the Russia investigation and Manafort “were made clear every day to anyone who listens to my radio show or watches my TV show.” Manafort is currently serving a 7.5-year prison sentence after he was found guilty of financial crimes by a Virginia jury and plead plead guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice and defraud the United States in a separate D.C. case.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

Despite gaffes, Biden holds strong support among blacks in South Carolina

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 17:41

As nearly two dozen Democratic presidential candidates here for a ritual fish fry event that marks the symbolic kickoff of the South Carolina campaign, former Vice President Joe Biden appears to be enjoying considerable early support, especially from the capital’s tight-knit black community. South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn’s “World Famous Fish Fry” gathers African-American party leaders, deep-pocketed Democratic donors, presidential candidates and reporters in a backyard-style cookout full of free food and hokey line dances during the state’s customary Democratic weekend. While the state’s black Democrats are hardly monolithic, interviews with prominent Democratic operatives and Columbia locals reflect what the polls already appear to indicate: Biden, in spite of his recent gaffes, appears to have a clear leg up with black voters here.

The Latest: Refinery fire controlled but still burning

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 17:09

A fire at a refinery complex in Philadelphia is controlled and contained but still burning more than 12 hours after it started. Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy says the blaze at Philadelphia Energy Solutions started in a tank that holds a mix of propane and butane. Murphy says five employees had minor injuries and were treated at the scene.

Missouri won't renew license of St. Louis Planned Parenthood, state's last abortion clinic

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 17:02

Missouri's health department will not renew the license of Planned Parenthood of St. Louis. An injunction will keep the last abortion provider open for now.

How to Mow Your Lawn in Hot Weather and Keep It Green

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 16:05

With the dog days of summer finally here, it's time to re-evaluate how you mow your lawn. While a low-cut, manicured lawn might seem ideal, turf grass actually does better in the summer heat when...

U.S. ramps up returns of asylum seekers to Mexico, adding Cubans

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 15:42

EL PASO, TEXAS/TAOS, N.M. (Reuters) - The United States is more than doubling the number of asylum seekers it returns to Mexico in one city and adding groups like Cubans as it rapidly expands a policy to make migrants wait out claims south of the border, Mexican and U.S. officials said. The policy, known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), is being applied to all Spanish-speaking asylum seekers, other than Mexicans, at three U.S.-Mexico border crossings, said a U.S. government official familiar with the program, who asked not to be named. The Trump administration plans to expand the program, which faces court challenges, across the border to act as a deterrent to frivolous asylum claims during a surge in Central American migrant families.

Pete Buttigieg will miss South Democratic dinner and fish fry after South Bend shooting

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 15:39

The South Bend, Indiana, mayor will instead take part in a march in his city that comes after a white police officer fatally shot a black man Sunday.

Trump says he called off Iran strikes at last minute

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 15:36

President Donald Trump said Friday the United States was "cocked & loaded" to strike Iran but pulled back at the last minute because it would not have been a "proportionate" response to Tehran shooting down an American drone. The downing of the drone -- which Iran insists violated its airspace, a claim Washington denies -- has seen tensions between the countries spike after a series of attacks on tankers the US has blamed on Tehran. Under pressure to respond to the high-stakes incident near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, Trump said the US was prepared to hit "3 different sites" Thursday night but that he scrapped the strikes "10 minutes" before they were to have been launched.

California governor proposes a $21 billion wildfire fund

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 15:31

California Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed helping utilities create a fund of up to $21 billion to compensate future victims of wildfires sparked by the companies' equipment or employees, an aide said on Friday. The proposal by the Democratic governor follows the bankruptcy filing earlier this year of San Francisco-based utility PG&E Corp, which anticipates $30 billion in liabilities from wildfires that have been blamed on its equipment, including the state's deadliest blaze which killed more than 80 people last year. The state's other two large utilities, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, have seen their credit ratings downgraded over wildfire concerns.

Prosecutors won't drop charges against Navy SEAL despite trial twist

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 15:27

Military prosecutors said on Friday they will not drop premeditated murder charges against a U.S. Navy SEAL charged with stabbing to death a teenaged Islamic State militant in Iraq in 2017, despite testimony from another SEAL who claimed to have killed the prisoner. Navy SEAL medic Corey Scott told the court on Thursday that he held his thumb over the victim's breathing tube until he died, saying he did so to save the young militant from being tortured by Iraqi forces. Scott said the young man's original injuries - a leg wound and collapsed lung - were not life threatening but that he was breathing through the tube when Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher stabbed him in the neck.

Spain's top court convicts 5 men in gang rape case

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 15:13

Spain's Supreme Court on Friday overruled two lower courts and sentenced five men to 15 years in prison for raping an 18-year-old woman. The case had triggered an outcry because the lower courts last year convicted the men of the lesser crime of sexual abuse and handed down nine-year sentences. Women's rights advocates had expressed anger about what they saw as the lower court's leniency and the confirmation of that sentence by a second court.

Jessa Duggar had an unexpected home birth on her couch

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 15:12

Jessa (Duggar) and Ben Seewald revealed on TLC's "Counting On" that the birth of their baby girl Ivy Jane didn't go exactly according to plan.

Chevy Claims Its New Silverado 3500 Accelerates Quicker Than the Ram 3500—and Ram Fires Back

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 15:00

Chevy may be down 90 lb-ft of torque from the 1000 lb-ft Ram 3500, but they still claim they can outrun the Ram, trailering or not, so the truck wars go on.

Missouri Officials Won't Renew Planned Parenthood's License to Perform Abortions

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 14:51

The St. Louis facility is the state's only abortion provider

Following drone attack, the US prepared a strike against Iran but then withdrew plans, reports say

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 14:08

The Pentagon has called Iran's downing of a drone over international waters a "dangerous and escalatory attack," suggesting a retaliatory strike was coming.

Cocaine haul from ship grows, arrests now stand at 6

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 13:23

Federal authorities say they've seized more than 35,000 pounds, or 15,876 kilograms, of cocaine from a ship at a Philadelphia port.

Judge orders special prosecutor to examine Smollett probe

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 13:22

A judge decided to appoint a special prosecutor Friday to investigate the decision by Cook County prosecutors to dismiss all charges against actor Jussie Smollett, who was accused of lying to the police by claiming he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in downtown Chicago in January. In a ruling that leaves open the possibility that Smollett could be charged again, Cook County Judge Michael Toomin suggested that the county's state's attorney, Kim Foxx, mishandled the Smollett case by appointing a top aide to oversee it after she recused herself. Foxx had been in contact with a relative of the actor and had been approached by former first lady Michelle Obama's one-time chief of staff on behalf of Smollett's family, and she explained at the time that she was recusing herself to avoid "even the perception of a conflict" of interest.

9/11 first responder pleads for victims fund from his hospice bed

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 13:19

Luis Alvarez, who testified with Jon Stewart, asked Congress to ‘do the right thing’ in what he expects to be his last interviewAn emergency first responder who was diagnosed with cancer following his work at Ground Zero in New York has spoken from his hospice bed just days after he testified alongside Jon Stewart about funding for those who fell ill from their work after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.Retired New York police department detective Luis Alvarez used what he expects to be his final interview to make a final impassioned plea to Congress to renew the 9/11 victims fund and deal with an “epidemic” of Ground Zero-related illnesses.Alvarez said on Thursday that after nearly 70 rounds of chemotherapy, doctors had told him there was nothing more they could do. He was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2016 that has spread to his liver.“It’s an epidemic. There’s going to be more and more first responders getting sick. And our government has to take care of them. It’s just a matter of decency, a matter of doing the right thing. We did the right thing when we went down there. Now it’s the government’s turn to do the right thing by us,” Alvarez, 53, told Fox News.> UPDATE: 9/11 first responder Luis Alvarez does an interview with @FoxNews as his liver is failing after breathing in toxic dust after the Twin Towers fell> > — Nikki Schwab (@NikkiSchwab) June 20, 2019Alvarez said going through cancer has been stressful for his whole family. “We need to ease the stress on the first responders,” he added. “And let them know that they’re not alone. That the government is here to back them up, to give them the support they need, the financial support that they’re going to need when they get sick. It’s just a matter of time. You know, most of us that were down there – it’s just a matter of time before we get sick.”It came just nine days after he received a standing ovation in Washington DC, where Stewart and other first responders addressed the House judiciary committee, to speak out against plans to cut 9/11 compensation by up to 70%.“You made me come down here the day before my 69th round of chemo, and I’m going to make sure that you never forget to take care of the 9/11 responders,” he said at the hearing. But the following day his health took a downturn and doctors concluded that his liver had shut down.Speaking with his son David by his side from a hospice in Long Island, near New York City, Alavarez said to Fox News host Shepard Smith on Thursday: “We need this bill passed, Shep. It’s got to be passed quickly and efficiently so we never have to come down to Washington again and lobby.”He said he was comfortable and “at peace” surrounded by his family and that he had “no regrets whatsoever”.He insisted that he was just doing what any fire, police or emergency worker would have done when he spent three months at the site of the 9/11 attacks, searching for remains and clearing up in a smoldering, toxic pile after terrorists flew hijacked passenger jets into the World Trade Center. He added: “I’m nobody special. I did what all the other guys did. And now we’re paying the price for it.”He said he is leaving his sons David, 29, Tyler, 19, and Ben, 14, “without a father”.While he said he was “lucky” to have had the heathcare that he has, there are people in his position who do not.He said it was time for the government to act: “We just want the money to be there for our families so that God forbid they do get sick, they’re covered.”He said they were told the air was safe – which it was not – but even if they had known it was unsafe they would have gone in regardless, “because that’s what we do”.He said the problem is a US-wide issue among first responders who travelled to New York after the 9/11 attacks to help and warned others to be vigilant.“I just want them to know, hey if you were down at Ground Zero … get yourself checked out. Because you could be sick from ground zero,” he added.

Take A Cruise In This Olive Green 1977 Toyota FJ40

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 13:16

Take the top off, while you’re at it.  This 1977 Toyota FJ40 runs and drives like new, despite having 100,044 original miles on the dash. For sale by Vintage Cruisers, this 'Jeep' is the perfect vehicle to go anywhere and do anything regardless of the season. It’s a 4x4 dream and dates all the way back to 1960, when it was first introduced.This Toyota utility vehicle was in production from 1960 to 1983, and all the way up to 2001 in Brazil! Importation to the United States started in 1963 and, within just two years, the FJ40 Land Cruiser became the best-selling Toyota in America. Cosmetically, the FJ ultimately remained the same until it ceased production in 1983. However, it did see a gradual progression of trim tweaks and functional improvements throughout the years. It went from a bare-bones rock climber to a relatively modern SUV that was 30 years ahead of its time.This 1977 Toyota FJ40 is a beautifully restored two-door hardtop convertible body in a unique Olive Green exterior paint. That’s right, this bad boy is ready for its next owner and for some new summertime adventures. From Arizona, this Land Cruiser contains a rust-free steel body with a fresh paint job and new interior Marine-grade upholstery. The undercarriage has been completely stripped and PPG undercoated for a rust-proof finish. The cabin also features upgraded waterproof floors, full factory bucket seats with headrests, a padded dashboard, and new A/C and heater unit.It’s powered by a big 4.2-liter 2F motor mated to a four-speed manual transmission with three-speed transfer case gears. This FJ40 includes updated turn signals, power disc brakes, and a roll bar. It also has HD suspension, shackles, and urethane bushings. The front bumper sports a custom rectangular front bezel that certainly sets it apart. It matches the new factory white wagon wheels wrapped in 33-inch BFGoodrich tires.The disc brakes, 2F motor, and drive trans have been recently serviced. This Toyota FJ40 contains all new belts, hoses, and fluids. It’s ready for daily use and then some. Read more.. Take The Whole Family Off-Road In This Custom Toyota FJ45 Troopy Restomod FJ45 Pickup Is The Model That Made Toyota

Former top U.S. diplomat deplores policy toward Iran 'untethered to any coherent strategy'

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 13:05

President Trump seriously miscalculated when he scrapped the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal, embarking on a policy “untethered to any coherent strategy,” according to a scathing assessment by William Burns, the former U.S. diplomat who negotiated the nuclear agreement. Burns said the move was certain to embolden hard-liners in Tehran and contribute to military tensions in a way that will backfire against the U.S. — which was already happening this week, as news broke that Iran had shot down an American military drone.