Trump on Gianforte Body-Slamming Reporter: ‘He’s My Kind of Guy’

At a Montana rally on Thursday night, President Trump praised Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) for body-slamming Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs in 2017. “Greg is smart, and by the way, never wrestle him,” Trump said. “Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of guy.” The crowd cheered, and the president did a body-flipping motion behind the podium. He then described hearing about the incident and said he thought Gianforte was “going to lose the election.” “Then I said, ‘Well, wait a minute. I know Montana pretty well. I think it might help him,’ and it did.” Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault last year after he slammed into Jacobs on the eve of Montana’s special election, breaking the reporter’s glasses and reportedly yelling, “Get the hell out of here.”


Reports: John Kelly, John Bolton Engage in Shouting Match at White House

Chief of Staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton reportedly got into a heated argument in the White House Thursday, sources told Bloomberg and CNN. Bloomberg reported that the “profanity-laced” exchange occurred outside the Oval Office. Two sources told CNN the argument was over the recent increase in border crossings, and that President Trump took Bolton’s side. Aides told Bloomberg that some staffers were worried one of the men “might immediately resign” over the argument, while another source characterized the blowup as a “falling out” in an interview with CNN. The network also reported that aides were concerned about either Kelly or Bolton leaving given their “deep disagreement over the border.” Sources told Bloomberg that Kelly and Bolton are not resigning.


Trump: It ‘Certainly Looks’ Like Khashoggi Is Dead

In an interview with The New York Times Thursday, President Trump acknowledged that Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi is likely dead. “This one has caught the imagination of the world, unfortunately,” he told the newspaper. “It’s not a positive. Not a positive.” “Unless the miracle of all miracles happens, I would acknowledge that he’s dead,” he added. “That’s based on everything—intelligence coming from every side.” Before leaving for a Montana rally Thursday afternoon, Trump also told reporters that it “certainly looks” like Khashoggi is dead. “It certainly looks that way to me. It’s very sad,” he said. Turkish intelligence allegedly indicates that Khashoggi was beheaded and dismembered after entering Istanbul’s Saudi Arabian consulate earlier this month. Saudi Arabia first denied having anything to do with Khashoggi’s disappearance, but officials are reportedly planning on releasing a report blaming his death on an “interrogation gone wrong.” Trump on Thursday added that the consequences for the Saudis “have to be very severe,” if they are deemed to be responsible for Khashoggi’s death. “It’s bad, bad stuff,” he said. “But we’ll see what happens.” Earlier this week, Trump said that the people behind Khashoggi’s alleged slaying could be “rogue killers.”

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Trump Administration Pulls Out of Saudi Festival Over Khashoggi Disappearance

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Thursday that he’s pulling out of the Future Investment Initiative (FII), a conference hosted by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund that was dubbed the Davos of the Desert. That decision comes after major media companies—including Bloomberg, The New York Times, and The Washington Post—said they would not participate in the high-profile event after the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Fox Business reported Thursday that Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon still plans to send executives to the conference, but not senior executives like himself and Dina Powell. In an interview with CNBC, Solomon called the alleged killing of Khashoggi “unacceptable.” Audio recordings described by a Turkish official to the Times reportedly indicate that Khashoggi was beheaded and dismembered by a team of Saudi agents inside the Istanbul consulate.


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By The Beast

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6. WOW

Michigan Woman Says Pharmacist Refused to Give Her Miscarriage Meds

A Michigan woman says a pharmacist refused to fill her prescription for a drug that would complete her miscarriage because he was a “good Catholic male,” the Detroit Free Press reports. Rachel Peterson, 35, said a pharmacist at a Meijer store thought she was lying when she told him why she needed misoprostol, a drug that can also be used to induce an abortion if combined with another medication. “He said that he was a good Catholic male and that he couldn’t in good conscience give me this medication because it’s used for abortions, and he could not prescribe that,” Peterson told the newspaper. “When I divulged to him that the fetus was no longer viable, and that... I needed to progress the situation further, he said, ‘Well, that’s your word and I don’t believe you,’ and he refused to fill it.” 

The pharmacist also allegedly refused to transfer the prescription to another location, forcing Peterson to drive to another Meijer store to pick up her medication. Peterson was prescribed misoprostol because her miscarriage was taking longer than expected, she said. If a woman doesn’t completely miscarry, there is a risk of developing a potentially fatal infection called sepsis. Meijer spokeswoman Christina Fecher told the newspaper the pharmacist had the right to refuse to fill the prescription on religious grounds, but said he is mandated to give the prescription to another pharmacist or another store. Fecher did not say whether the pharmacist was reprimanded for the incident.


Report: Twitter Suspends Bot Network Pushing Pro-Saudi Content After Khashoggi Disappearance

Twitter suspended a network of suspected Twitter bots that pushed pro-Saudi Arabia content in the wake of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance and alleged murder, NBC News reports. The network reportedly presented the company with a spreadsheet featuring “hundreds of accounts that tweeted and retweeted the same pro-Saudi government tweets at the same time.” A Twitter employee told NBC News the company was aware of the influence operation before the network presented the spreadsheet, and said the accounts were “being pulled down for violating rules about spam.” Some of the bot accounts reportedly tweeted the Arabic hashtag “#We_all_trust_Mohammad_Bin_Salman,” referring to Saudi Arabia’s crown prince. The hashtag became a “top worldwide Twitter trend” on Sunday. The bots also reportedly tweeted messages that told readers to “express doubt about news stories reporting that Khashoggi was killed[.]” Khashoggi disappeared after he entered Istanbul's Saudi Arabian consulate earlier this month. Turkish intelligence reportedly indicated Khashoggi was beheaded and dismembered inside the consulate. Saudi Arabia claimed it had nothing to do with Khashoggi’s disappearance.


Astros Fan Claims He Did Nothing Wrong in Sox-Astros Interference Call

The fan who allegedly interfered in a critical play in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros on Wednesday claims he did nothing wrong, according to The Boston Globe. Troy Caldwell, a Houston native, denied crossing into the field’s territory or touching the Red Sox player’s glove when he stuck his hand out to catch a Houston fly ball to right field. “I’m over the line and I put my hand out and the ball hit my hand. I never touched his glove. I don’t understand why it wasn’t a home run,” Caldwell said. The umpire, Joe West, called fan interference—denying the Astros their home run and calling the Astros’ batter out. The newspaper reports replay officials at the game “saw nothing that could change West’s call.” West maintains he made the right call. “When [the Red Sox player] jumped up to reach for the ball, the spectator reached out of the stands and hit [the player] over the playing field and closed his glove,” West told the newspaper. The Red Sox ended up winning the game, 8-6.


Report: Ex-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Used Military Planes for Personal Travel

A watchdog group estimated that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spent over $1 million in taxpayer dollars to fly around the country in “military jets” during his time in office—and occasionally for personal trips, HuffPost reports. American Oversight, a nonpartisan watchdog group, obtained documents that indicate Tillerson used military jets at least 15 times during his 14 months in office. He reportedly flew to Texas, Colorado, Montana, and West Virginia, with five of the trips labeled as “personal travel” in State Department memos. The documents don’t provide a reason for another 10 trips he took on military jets.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert defended Tillerson’s jet use, claiming the secretary of state “must be protected by a security detail” and have communications access at all times. “When utilizing DOD aircraft for personal travel, all Secretaries of State reimburse the government at the rate required by law,” she told HuffPost. Tillerson reportedly could not be reached for comment. Former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke have also reportedly used military aircraft for travel.

10. HMMM

Ex-USA Gymnastics Head Steve Penny Offered Job to FBI Agent Investigating Nassar: Report

Steve Penny, the former president of USA Gymnastics, discussed the possibility of a “top security job” at the United States Olympic Committee with an FBI agent investigating sexual abuse allegations against Dr. Larry Nassar, The New York Times reports. Steve Penny’s lawyer told the newspaper Penny did discuss the job at USOC with Jay Abbott, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s field office in Indianapolis, while the FBI was investigating Nassar. Lawyer Edith Matthai said Penny thought Abbott was not on the case and denied any “conflict of interest.” “Mr. Penny told Mr. Abbott that the head of security of the U.S.O.C. would be retiring and that Mr. Abbott might be interested in that position after he retired from the F.B.I.,” Matthai said in a statement. “There was no promise of a job nor did Mr. Penny have the ability to hire Mr. Abbott for that position.” Penny also reportedly emailed FBI employees to get their recommendations on “the wording of public statements about the investigation” and told one employee the organization “need[ed] some cover.” Penny was arrested Wednesday for allegedly tampering with evidence in the Nassar investigation, specifically having documents removed from a national team training center in Texas.