President Trump on Tuesday morning blamed former President Obama for leaks of classified information from the White House and for protests in the wake of a controversial executive order halting immigration from seven predominantly-Muslim countries to the U.S. Trump made the comments in an interview with Fox and Friends, during which he gave no evidence for his claims. “I think he is behind it,” Trump said. “I also think it’s just politics. That’s just the way it is.” He continued, “You never know what’s exactly happening behind the scenes … I think that President Obama’s behind it because his people are certainly behind it.” He added, “Some of the leaks possibly come from that group. You know, some of the leaks—which are really very serious leaks because they’re very bad in terms of national security—but I also understand that’s politics and it will probably continue.”
A Navy SEAL raid on an al Qaeda compound in Yemen in January has yet to yield any significant information, military officials told NBC News. The raid, the first of the Donald Trump presidency, resulted in the death of one SEAL and a number of Yemeni civilians including some children, one of whom was the daughter of a U.S. citizen, officials say. Despite the unusual act of ordering U.S. ground troops into Yemen, a senior official told NBC that little of value had been obtained from the property seized from the al Qaeda compound. This report contradicts White House claims about the nature of the operation. After the father of the slain SEAL refused to meet with Trump, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told press on Monday that "I can tell [the father] that on behalf of the president, his son died a hero and the information that he was able to help obtain through that raid, as I said before, is going to save American lives ... The mission was successful in helping prevent a future attack or attacks on this nation."
The White House has described the raid as primarily an information-gathering operation, despite reports that its primary goal was to capture or kill Qasim al-Raymi, a leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Al-Raymi was apparently not killed or captured, and later seemingly released recordings mocking Trump. Other reports described dysfunction during the raid's planning stages. The operation, which was initially discussed during the Obama administration, was reportedly greenlit just five days into the Trump administration, with what intelligence officials described as insufficient information or support. Al Qaeda fighters reportedly became aware of the operation before the SEALs struck, leading to crossfire that killed one SEAL and injured six others. Speaking to NBC, Pentagon officials reportedly did not dispute claims that at least 25 Yemeni civilians were killed.
A 911 dispatcher may be disciplined in the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice more than two years after the boy's death. A disciplinary hearing was held Friday for Constance Hollinger, who faces up to 10 days suspension without pay. There is no deadline for the decision, and Cleveland police Chief Calvin Williams has not made up his mind in the case. The caller on Nov. 22, 2014 told Hollinger that the suspect was "probably a juvenile" and said the gun he had was "probably fake," according to her disciplinary charges, which were presented in January. Hollinger never relayed that information to the dispatcher, Beth Mandl, who told officers to investigate someone with a gun outside the Cudell Recreation Center. Tamir, who was shot dead by police, had an airsoft pellet gun. Former Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty has said Hollinger's mistakes were "substantial, contributing factors" to the shooting.
Samsung’s acting chief Lee Jae-yong was indicted on Tuesday on charges of bribery and embezzelement surrouding South Korea’s recently impeached president, Park Geun-hye. Samsung is accused of seeking special treatment from the government in exchange for donating to charities run by a close confidant of Park, who was impeached in December. Four other Samsung executives are expected to face similar charges. Lee is also accused of having lied to Parliament when testifying on the matter. Samsung has not commented publicly on the charges.
President Trump’s nominee for U.S. commerce secretary won Senate confirmation on Monday, paving the way for work to begin on renegotiating trade deals with China and Mexico. Billionaire Wilbur Ross was confirmed with a Senate vote of 72-27, with support from 19 Democrats. Ross will now be at the helm of an agency with over 44,000 employees, tasked with some of Trump’s key campaign pledges, including bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. and cutting down on trade deficits. He will also be in charge of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada. Ross, estimated to be worth $2.9 billion, divested a large amount of his holdings to avoid any conflict of interest before he takes over, the New York Times reported.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte apologized on Tuesday to Germany for the beheading of German hostage Jurgen Gustav Kantner, who was killed by Abu Sayyaf militants. Kantner was murdered after a ransom deadline lapsed on Sunday, and the extremists recorded a video of his beheading. He was kidnapped in November while sailing. Duterte said that an offensive against the extremists is currently underway. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called Kantner's beheading an "abominable act." Duterte said on Tuesday that he has requested assistance from China in patrolling the international waters where Kantner was captured.
Philippine Militants ‘Behead’ German Man >
The White House is reviewing whether to cut a series of State Department jobs as part of its new defense budget, Bloomberg reports, including positions that entail monitoring and combating anti-Semitism around the world. The preliminary budget plan, which will reportedly increase defense spending to the tune of $54 billion, would also entail cuts to foreign aide and humanitarian initiatives. Administration officials told Bloomberg that the White House is considering cutting some State Department positions, including envoys who work with Muslim communities or specialize in combatting anti-Semitism or climate change. While administration insiders say some current State employees will be reassigned to new desks, these envoy positions to Muslim and Jewish communities are reportedly being considered for elimination.
A female engineer is speaking out and suing Tesla for allegedly ignoring her complaints of “pervasive harassment” at the Elon Musk-owned company. AJ Vandermeyden, 33, who is still employed by the car manufacturer, claims she was paid a lower salary for the same work as men and that less qualified male counterparts were promoted over her. She also contends that she was retaliated against after she reported her concerns about the environment to HR and management. Vandermeyden, wrote a viral blog post in which she alleged that the company routinely dismissed her complaints and even protected offenders. “Until somebody stands up, nothing is going to change,” Vandermeyden said in a Guardian interview. “I’m an advocate of Tesla. I really do believe they are doing great things. That said, I can’t turn a blind eye if there’s something fundamentally wrong going on.” She added, “It’s shocking in this day and age that this is still a fight we have to have.”
At least one person was killed after a plane crashed into homes in a Riverside, California neighborhood around 5 p.m. local time. The small plane was carrying four passengers when it crashed into a suburban home, less than a mile from the airport from which it had just taken off. The plane reportedly damaged nearby homes as it landed, and the resulting explosion set multiple houses on fire. Emergency responders rescued two people from the house next to where the plane landed. Officials have not confirmed the status of the plane's remaining passengers, or of others in the neighborhood.
Juliet Evancho, the sister of a performer at President Donald Trump's inauguration, must be allowed to use school bathrooms that correspond with her gender, a Pennsylvania judge ruled Monday. Evancho and two other transgender classmates at Pennsylvania's Pine-Richland High School were allowed to use school bathrooms that matched their gender identity until last year, when a classmate's parent reportedly complained to the school. The students were then made to use bathrooms corresponding with the sex listed on their birth certificate. A U.S. District Court judge ruled that the school's bathroom policy infringed on the students' constitutional rights to equal protection. "The Plaintiffs have shown a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the District’s enforcement of Resolution 2 as to their use of common school restrooms does not afford them equal protection of the law as guaranteed to them by the Fourteenth Amendment," Judge Mark Hornak wrote. The ruling follows Trump's decision last week to remove a policy that required schools to allow students to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity. Evancho expressed interest in meeting with Trump to discuss his policies for transgender people.