President Trump on Sunday claimed newly released surveillance documents detailing the FBI’s suspicions of his former campaign adviser, Carter Page, “confirm with little doubt” that the agency “misled the courts” in obtaining a warrant to wiretap him. The documents, released late Saturday by The New York Times and other news organizations revealed that the FBI sought to wiretap Page because they believed he was the “subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government.” While Trump apparently took that finding as proof of what he described as a “Witch Hunt Rigged” and “a Scam” on Twitter, they contradict how the large majority of observers interpret the facts. Even some Republican lawmakers saw the FISA documents as evidence the FBI did nothing wrong in wiretapping Page. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio on Sunday told CNN the documents prove that the FBI had every reason to look into Page. “I don’t believe that them looking into Carter Page means they were spying on the campaign,” he said.
Maria Butina, the Russian woman accused of working as a Kremlin agent on U.S. soil, reportedly received financial backing from Russian billionaire and transportation magnate Konstantin Nikolaev. A source cited by The Washington Post on Sunday said Butina testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in April that Nikolaev provided funding for a gun rights group she represented. Federal prosecutors had also written in court documents that Butina’s emails frequently referred to a billionaire “funder.” Prosecutors stopped short of naming the mysterious billionaire but described him as a “known Russian businessman with deep ties to the Russian Presidential Administration.” Nikolaev, who has major investments in U.S. energy and technology companies, has no known direct links to President Trump but a few indirect ones. He sits on the board of American Ethane, a Houston-based company showcased by Trump at an event in China last year, and his son, Andrey, volunteered in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, according to the Post.
The 28-year-old man accused of taking dozens of people hostage Saturday at a Los Angeles Trader Joe’s and sparking an hours-long gun battle with police allegedly shot his own grandmother just before the ordeal. Police say the rampage began as a family dispute in which the unnamed suspect shot his grandmother at least seven times before wounding another woman and fleeing with her in his grandmother’s vehicle. The grandmother is said to be in critical condition, while the second unnamed victim suffered a minor head wound. The accused gunman’s third victim, identified by ABC News as Melyda Corado, was killed inside the Trader Joe’s where the suspect holed up for hours with dozens of hostages inside. Corado was a store manager and was fatally struck by one of the gunmen’s bullets, police said.
At least 20 people were killed and another 50 injured Sunday when a suicide bomber set off an explosion at the entrance to Kabul’s international airport just as Afghanistan’s exiled vice president was returning. Authorities said a child and several members of the security forces were among the victims of the attack, as were nine members of the security detail of Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum. Crowds and a government delegation had gathered at the airport Sunday to meet Dostum, who has returned to the country facing charges of rape and kidnapping, among other crimes. He was allowed to return following massive protests by his fellow Uzbeks, who demanded his safe return despite the allegations against him.
Still reeling from the soul-crushing losses of the Vietnam War, hundreds of U.S. Marines sprung into action in 1975 to rescue a group of Americans taken hostage by the Khmer Rouge when their merchant ship was ambushed. It began with an SOS alert to the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta and what seemed like a more or less straightforward Marine mission to take down a few dozen “Cambodian irregulars” holding American hostages on the island of Koh Tang. But as Staff Sgt. Fofomaitulagi Tulifua Tuitele and his men soon learned, the seemingly amateur soldiers they were about to take on to free the hostages were not amateur at all, but armed with anti-aircraft guns, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and mortars—and there were no hostages. Author Kevin Maurer reveals for The Daily Beast the panicked planning and tragic intelligence failures that led to the deaths of more than a dozen U.S. servicemen and three Marines presumed KIA during the rescue mission, one of the most controversial in U.S. military history. Sign up for Beast Inside to access the Beast Files and read the first installment on how it all began.
Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine has reportedly been hospitalized after being pistol whipped, kidnapped and robbed in Brooklyn on Sunday morning. According to TMZ, the performer was arriving home from a video shoot at around 4 a.m. when his car was boxed in and three hooded assailants jumped him. They allegedly hit him over the head with a pistol before dragging him into their vehicle and driving him around while they demanded he hand over his money and jewelry. They made off with about $750,000 worth of his jewelry and $20,000 in cash after raiding his house. The incident comes just weeks after another rapper, XXXTentacion, was shot and killed in Florida. XXXTentacion had reportedly warned Tekashi to “be safe” and “never let your guard down” just days before he died.
A 3-year-old boy suffered severe burns to his face and arms after having a caustic substance splashed on him in what authorities say was a targeted attack in the city of Worcester. The boy was reportedly shopping with his family in a retail store when the incident occurred late Saturday. A 39-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident, but police on Sunday said they are seeking three other men they want to speak with. “At this time we are treating this as a deliberate attack on a three-year-old boy.” The motive for the attack is unclear,” West Mercia Police Chief Superintendent Mark Travis said in a statement. “The incident will rightly shock the local community and I would like to reassure local people that we are carrying out a thorough investigation to identify those responsible.”
Singer and songwriter Billy Joel on Sunday explained his decision to wear the Star of David during a performance at Madison Square Garden last year. In an interview with CBS News, Joel said that while he doesn’t usually want to “get up on a soapbox” with political commentary, he felt compelled to speak out in August after violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. “I had to do something that night. The President said, you know, ‘There’s some good people on that side …’ No, Nazis aren't good people. It really enraged me, actually,” he said, referring to President Trump’s apparent defense of some nationalist protesters. “My old man, his family got wiped out. They were slaughtered in Auschwitz. … My family suffered. And I think I actually have a right to do that,” Joel said.
Maria Butina, the Russian woman accused of working as a secret Kremlin agent in the U.S., took part in meetings between a visiting Russian official and two top officials at the U.S. Treasury in 2015, Reuters reports. The meetings raise new questions about the scope of Butina’s alleged efforts to make U.S. policy friendlier toward the Kremlin. Sources familiar with the situation told Reuters the meetings included Stanley Fischer, the Fed vice chairman at the time, and then-Treasury undersecretary for international affairs Nathan Sheets. Butina reportedly accompanied the Russian Central Bank deputy governor at the time, Alexander Torshin, in the meetings, which focused on U.S.-Russian economic relations. Federal prosecutors say Butina conspired with two Americans and a Russian official close to Vladimir Putin to infiltrate a gun rights group widely believed to be the National Rifle Association, though she was not previously known to have been involved in such high-level meetings. The meetings were reportedly arranged by the Washington-based Center for the National Interest, a foreign policy think tank that often espouses pro-Russia views and also hosted one of Donald Trump’s first foreign policy addresses ahead of the 2016 election.
Hundreds of Syrian rescue workers known as the White Helmets have been evacuated from southwest Syria as government forces are advancing in the area. Jordan on Sunday said it had allowed the entry and passage of 800 members of the group and their relatives and had agreed to provide temporary asylum before they are resettled in the West. The Israeli military reportedly carried out the evacuation, saying it had completed “a humanitarian effort to rescue members of a Syrian civil organization and their families...due to an immediate threat to their lives.” Britain, Germany, and Canada had helped to devise the rescue operation amid fears Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces would execute members of the group, which is credited with saving thousands of lives in the country’s long-running civil war but has been vilified by the Syrian government. The aid workers will remain at a “closed” location until they are resettled in Britain, Germany, or Canada, all of which have already agreed to take them in.