Eighteen people, including a child and a pregnant woman, were killed in a powerful explosion that destroyed much of the Hotel Saratoga, a luxury hotel in the historic center of Havana, and left several people injured, Cuban authorities said. The blast, which happened around 11 a.m., kicked up a plume of smoke and ash and shocked passing pedestrians in one of the busiest spots in the Cuban capital. The death toll, initially reported at four, increased as search and rescue efforts continued into the evening. In the afternoon, Cuban leader Miguel Díaz-Canel confirmed the deaths of nine people. By...
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James Comey and Andrew McCabe were hit by extremely rare 'random' IRS audits after Trump called for their prosecution: report
On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that former FBI leaders James Comey and Andrew McCabe — whom former President Donald Trump repeatedly called for to be investigated or imprisoned for not running the agency the way he wanted — were targeted for an extremely rare and invasive type of tax audit that the Internal Revenue Service claims is "random."
"The odds of being selected for that audit in any given year are tiny — out of nearly 153 million individual returns filed for 2017, for example, the I.R.S. targeted about 5,000, or roughly one out of 30,600," reported Michael Schmidt. "One of the few who received a bureaucratic letter with the news that his 2017 return would be under intensive scrutiny was James B. Comey, who had been fired as F.B.I. director that year by President Donald J. Trump. Furious over what he saw as Mr. Comey’s lack of loyalty and his pursuit of the Russia investigation, Mr. Trump had continued to rail against him even after his dismissal, accusing him of treason, calling for his prosecution and publicly complaining about the money Mr. Comey received for a book after his dismissal."
"Among those who were chosen to have their 2019 returns scrutinized was the man who had been Mr. Comey’s deputy at the bureau: Andrew G. McCabe, who served several months as acting F.B.I. director after Mr. Comey’s firing," the report continued. "Mr. McCabe was later dismissed by the Trump Justice Department after its watchdog accused him of misleading internal F.B.I. investigators. Like Mr. Comey, he had come to be perceived as an enemy by Mr. Trump, who assailed him, accused him of treason and raised questions about his finances long after pushing for his dismissal and prosecution, a pattern that continued even after Mr. Trump lost the 2020 election and began trying to overturn the results."
The IRS denies that Trump's former IRS commissioner, Charles Rettig, intervened politically against the two. “Commissioner Rettig is not involved in individual audits or taxpayer cases; those are handled by career civil servants,” said the agency in a statement. “As I.R.S. commissioner, he has never been in contact with the White House — in either administration — on I.R.S. enforcement or individual taxpayer matters. He has been committed to running the I.R.S. in an impartial, unbiased manner from top to bottom.”
Former President Richard Nixon famously used the IRS to target political opponents, one of many abuses of his presidency that ultimately culminated in the Watergate investigation and his resignation.
"It is illegal under federal law for anyone in the executive branch — with a few narrow exceptions — to request that the I.R.S. conduct an audit or an investigation of someone’s taxes," noted the report. "Any I.R.S. employee receiving such a request is required to report it to the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration. Those caught violating the law can be sentenced to up to five years in prison."
According to Global News, a renowned trophy hunter who acted as a tour guide for others to help bring down large game has been found shot dead and left on the side of the road in South Africa.
"Riaan Naude, 55, was the owner and founder of Pro Hunt Africa, a tour group that facilitates paid wildlife hunting trips in the country’s northeastern province of Limpopo," reported Michelle Butterfield. "According to local reports, Naude was found dead next to his truck on June 8 near Kruger National Park. A Limpopo police representative told reporters that Naude was found lying on his back, with blood on his face and head."
According to the report, Naude was shot after his vehicle broke down and he pulled over to the side of the road, and "A nearby cattle herder reportedly heard the gunshot and witnessed a truck speeding away." It is unknown whether the motive was related to his trophy hunting practices.
"A glance at Naude’s Instagram feed shows the hunter and others posing alongside large dead animals, including elephants and giraffes," noted the report. "Naude was charging his clients $350 per day to hunt game, $2,500 for a crocodile and $1,500 for a giraffe, according to Pro Hunt Africa’s price list."
Trophy hunting is a wildly controversial practice. It is legal in many countries, including South Africa, and some governments use it to cull sick or troublesome animals from vulnerable herds and raise tax revenue for conservation and anti-poaching enforcement. However, many trophy hunters go after endangered species, and African governments often sell permits to Western tourists without the consent or buy-in of native locals.
Exclusive: Michael Cohen details cooperation with four separate Trump investigations in new legal filing
Longtime Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen detailed his cooperation with four separate investigations into his former boss in a new legal filing reviewed by Raw Story.
In the 21-page document filed on Wednesday, attorney David Schwartz asks Judge Jesse Furman to discharge Cohen from supervised release.
He argued Cohen "proved to be an invaluable government asset" in four different Trump investigations.
The filing noted a total of twelve meetings with the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, arguing that "Cohen had no obligation to meet with the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, and he received no benefit from doing so.
The document noted three meetings with New York Attorney General Letitia James, claiming Cohen "voluntarily provided the NYAG with several important documents"
The filing also noted seven interviews with the South District of New York U.S. Attorney's Office and "roughly" ten meetings with the office of special counsel Robert Mueller.
Michael Cohen filing
In addition to the investigations, Cohen's lawyer also noted cooperation with Congress.
"Specifically, Mt. Cohen met with the House Oversight Committee on three occasions, the House Intelligence Committee on three occasions, the Senate Intelligence Committee on three occasions, and individual members of Congress for countless hours preparing for hearings," the filing noted.