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‘Accidental Salahis’ enjoy White House breakfast

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A Georgia couple who showed up at the White House a day early for a tour somehow wound up at an invitation-only breakfast with President Barack Obama and the first lady.

It wasn’t a state dinner, but it left the White House once again explaining how people who were not on an event guest list wound up being ushered into the presidential mansion anyway.

This time, White House officials say they were simply being hospitable.

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The improbable adventure of Harvey and Paula Darden, Obama supporters from Hogansville, Ga., took place on Veterans Day, two weeks before Virginia socialites Tareq and Michaele Salahi infamously crashed the Obamas’ state dinner for the prime minister of India.

The Dardens mistakenly showed up a day early for a tour scheduled through their congressman.

The White House and Secret Service both said the Dardens went through the appropriate security screenings and were allowed into the breakfast as a courtesy because there were no public tours the day they arrived.

That explanation was news to Harvey Darden, 67, a retired pharmacist, who said he and his wife thought they were starting their tour and weren’t told about the change — until they were ushered into the East Room, offered a buffet spread and told they’d be meeting the president.

“The further we got into the White House, the more surprised we were,” Darden told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “My wife looked at me and I looked at her, and I said, ‘You know, I don’t know if we’re in the right place.'”

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They approached a White House aide with their concern that they had veered off course but were told to “just go with the flow,” Darden said.

“I felt kind of funny because I was the only man in the room that wasn’t dressed in a coat and tie,” he added. “I was just a plain tourist.”

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said agents performed the same screening procedures on the Dardens that were used for other breakfast guests: They checked the Dardens’ names and did a criminal background check — steps that were not taken for the Salahis at the Nov. 24 state dinner.

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Because the Dardens were able to pass Secret Service vetting, they were allowed to attend the breakfast for veterans as a “nice gesture,” White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said. He added that it’s not unusual for White House staff to take people who are cleared in for tours to other events if there is space, including Marine One arrivals, East Room events and Rose Garden ceremonies.

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Dana Rohrabacher pointedly did not deny a key allegation about his dealings with Assange: Ex-US Attorney

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In response to the report that he had offered WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a pardon from President Donald Trump in return for denying Russia's involvement in the hack of DNC emails, former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) put out a statement.

"At no time did I offer Julian Assange anything from the President because I had not spoken with the President about this issue at all," read Rohrabacher's statement. "However, when speaking with Julian Assange, I told him that if he could provide me information and evidence about who actually gave him the DNC emails, I would then call on President Trump to pardon him."

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Trump plans to put far-right ambassador in charge of national intelligence office: report

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On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump intends to tap Richard Grenell as acting Director of National Intelligence.

Grenell, who currently serves as the U.S. Ambassador to Germany and would be the first openly gay man to serve in Trump's cabinet, is a hard-right partisan and a loyalist to the president — a sharp contrast from Dan Coats, who was ousted from ODNI last year over disagreements with Trump.

In his current role, he caused an uproar in Germany after he threatened to use his office to help far-right political parties win elections in Europe — a flagrant departure from the apolitical conduct U.S. ambassadors are generally expected to follow abroad.

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Montreal ends electric scooter experiment, citing ‘disorder’

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Montreal on Wednesday called a halt to its electric scooter scheme, saying that riders broke rules and almost always parked illegally.

The Canadian city launched a pilot project in June with 680 scooters and electric bikes, but authorities judged that the test period had been a "failure."

Eric Alan Caldwell, head of city transport, lambasted "an 80 percent delinquency rate" in complying with traffic and safety regulations.

"Only 20 percent of scooters were parked" in dedicated spaces, the city said in a press release, adding that the scooters created "disorder" and problems for pedestrians.

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