White nationalists and Twitter bots fueled the war against Al Franken -- and the Democrats fell for it
February 19, 2018, 7:17 AM ET
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was set Thursday for White House talks with President Joe Biden armed with reminders of UK ambitions on artificial intelligence and Ukraine -- and a reminder also of Biden's British roots.
While intensely proud of his Irish-American heritage, Biden also acknowledges forebears from England -- including a 19th-century sailor who was his great-great-grandfather.
Sunak's spokesman said that the prime minister would present a copy of Christopher Biden's book "Naval Discipline: Subordination Contrasted with Insubordination" -- which the president, visiting Ireland in April, described as the Royal Navy's guide to combatting mutiny.
In the Oval Office, Sunak will also gift to Biden a personalized Barbour jacket made near his northern English constituency, embroidered with the words "Mr President" on a front pocket.
This follows a rich tradition of summit gift-giving by US-UK leaders -- although Downing Street will be hoping that this time plays better than when Barack Obama received Gordon Brown in 2009.
Brown brought an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of a Victorian anti-slave ship. In return, Obama gave a bag of DVDs -- which were encoded to play only on North American machines.
Sunak is staying at Blair House, the presidential guest residence very close to the White House, and will give a joint press conference with Biden -- VIP treatment that few visiting dignitaries get.
Sunak has trimmed British sails to align with US policy winds on today's challenges including China, while touting a post-Brexit leadership role on artificial intelligence.
He plans to host the world's first AI summit in the autumn, vowing to craft a coordinated approach to harness its potential in areas such as medicine while averting doomsday scenarios of sentient computers wiping out humanity.
"Time and time again throughout history we have invented paradigm-shifting new technologies and we have harnessed them for the good of humanity," Sunak said ahead of the White House summit.
"That is what we must do again."
Yet there are already headwinds for Britain's putative role in AI regulation, given that the United States and European Union have already begun their own dialogue on a code of conduct.
On Ukraine, there is likely to be smoother sailing out of the summit with both the US and UK governments moving closer to offering air support to Kyiv to counter Russia's invasion.
Both have said it is too soon to blame Russia for the partial destruction of a Ukrainian dam this week -- but both are clear that Moscow's aggression must be thwarted.
While giving up hope for now on a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States, Sunak headed into Thursday's summit arguing that the invasion proves the need for transatlantic economic alignment.
"Just as interoperability between our militaries has given us a battlefield advantage over our adversaries, greater economic interoperability will give us a crucial edge in the decades ahead," he said.
Sunak is pushing for US relief to UK carmakers, via greater access to critical minerals used in batteries, after Biden's Inflation Reduction Act offered vast subsidies to companies with US operations.
Sunak has also been talking up British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace as a candidate to lead NATO before the Western military alliance holds a summit next month in Lithuania, with the prime ministers of Denmark and Estonia also seen as contenders.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's term in the job is due to end in October.
On Wednesday evening Sunak took in a baseball game between the Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks, and politely declined the chance to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
After the UK and US anthems were played by a military band, Sunak said to Nats manager Dave Martinez: "They should put a (cricket) bat in my hand.
"That's more my thing."
© Agence France-Presse
Donald Trump hurled bribery allegations at an unnamed prosecutor with the Department of Justice in a late-night, all-caps rant.
The former president has reportedly been notified that he's a target of an ongoing criminal investigation into his handling of classified documents, but Trump accused the DOJ prosecutor of offering a judgeship to a lawyer representing one of the witnesses in the case.
"Shocking! One of the top prosecutors at the department of injustice was reportedly so obsessed with 'getting Trump' that he tried to bribe & intimidate a lawyer representing someone being targeted & harassed to falsely accuse & fabricate a story about president Donald J. Trump & a crime that doesn't exist," the ex-president raged in all-caps on Truth Social. "This criminal & salacious act within the DOJ has brought shame & embarrassment to this once great & respected institution. Because of this, there is now extreme turmoil inside the DOJ."
Right-wing reporter John Solomon, whose work played a key role in the Ukraine extortion scheme that got Trump impeached the first time, reported on his Just the News website that the DOJ declined to delay an indictment to investigate claims by the ex-president's lawyers that a senior prosecutor on the case discussed a federal judgeship with the lawyer for a witness.
READ MORE: Trump's team thought they were in the clear in classified docs case — here's why: Kaitlan Collins
The sources directly familiar with the case told Just the News that DOJ declined to delay the planned indictment of Trump to investigate allegations that a senior prosecutor working on the case tried to influence a key witness by discussing a federal judgeship with the witness’ lawyer.
"The lawyer was already in line for consideration by the Biden White House for a judgeship when the prosecutor allegedly raised the nomination while trying to get additional testimony from the lawyer’s client, according to sources familiar with the allegation," Solomon reported.
Deputy attorney general Lisa Monaco notified Trump's legal team the department was rejecting the request for delay, and the sources told Solomon the witness insisted he did not have additional information about the movement of boxes and artifacts at Mar-a-Lago.
"A top overzealous & dishonest DOJ prosecutor offered a witness' lawyer and important 'judgeship' in the Biden administration if his client 'flips' on president Trump, who has done nothing wrong!" Trump raged. "The highly respected lawyer was incensed & disgusted at this corrupt & legal offer. The fake 'case' against me must be immediately dropped, and the inspector general should launch an investigation into this & the many other all too obvious wrongdoings & crimes taking place at the DOJ & FBI!"
Instagram is the main platform used by pedophile networks to promote and sell content showing child sexual abuse, according to a report by Stanford University and the Wall Street Journal.
"Large networks of accounts that appear to be operated by minors are openly advertising self-generated child sexual abuse material for sale," said researchers at the US university's Cyber Policy Center.
"Instagram is currently the most important platform for these networks with features like recommendation algorithms and direct messaging that help connect buyers and sellers."
According to the Journal, a simple search for sexually explicit keywords specificaly referencing children leads to accounts that use these terms to advertise content showing sexual abuse of minors.
The profiles often "claim to be driven by the children themselves and use overtly sexual pseudonyms", the article detailed.
While not specifically saying they sell these images, the accounts do feature menus with options, including in some cases specific sex acts.
Stanford researchers also spotted offers for videos with bestiality and self-harm.
"At a certain price, children are available for in-person 'meetings'," the article continued.
Meta, Instagram's parent company, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AFP.
According to the Journal, the social media giant acknowledged problems within its security services and said it had created a task force to address the issues raised.
Last March, pension and investment funds filed a complaint against Meta for having "turned a blind eye" to human trafficking and child sex abuse images on its platforms.
© Agence France-Presse
For corrections contact email@example.com, for support contact firstname.lastname@example.org.