On Monday, Anthony Comello, the man accused of fatally shooting Gambino crime family boss Francesco Cali in Staten Island, appeared in court for an extradition hearing in Toms River, NJ. And while his motivations for the killing are unclear, the whole saga became even stranger after he showed his hands.
According to images, the 24-year-old Comello had scrawled a number of right-wing iconography on his hand, including “MAGA forever,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s slogan, and the letter Q, an apparent reference to the QAnon conspiracy theory:
lol the guy who murdered the Gambino mob boss repped QAnon in court pic.twitter.com/MtYE6vRJGA
— egg boy (@lib_crusher) March 18, 2019
According to NJ.com, Comello’s lead counsel Robert Gottlieb says he did not see anything written on his client’s hand.
The QAnon conspiracy theory, named after an anonymous message board poster styling himself “Q” after the Energy Department clearance level and purporting to be an inside government source, holds that Trump is working together with special counsel Robert Mueller to uncover a world-spanning murder and sex trafficking ring run by high-ranking Democrats and opponents of the president, and that martial law is imminent to round up and arrest all of the co-conspirators. And that’s just the beginning of the narrative — believers in the conspiracy have claimed that Kim Jong Un was planted by the CIA, that Democrats ordered MS-13 to murder party staffer Seth Rich, and that the California wildfires were triggered by government lasers.
Despite the patently ridiculous and self-contradictory tangled logic of the conspiracy theory, it has found its way into the national spotlight. ABC sitcom star Roseanne Barr, who was fired after racist outbursts on Twitter, promoted it. And a S.W.A.T. officer from Broward County, Florida sported a QAnon patch on his uniform while posing with Vice President Mike Pence — after which he was demoted to another department.
Trump aides desperately try to downplay ‘order’ to US companies to leave China
Donald Trump's top aides on Sunday downplayed the idea of US companies being forced to abandon China any time soon, as an edict from the president ordering businesses to start looking for alternatives has been met with skepticism.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economics advisor Larry Kudlow took to the airwaves from France, where Trump is participating in the G7 summit, to smooth out tensions in the business community prompted by Trump's Friday tweet.
Trump said he has "no plan now" to bring US companies in line, and his aides quickly reinforced the message.
Trump sparks confusion at G7 before doubling down on China tariffs
President Donald Trump doubled down Sunday on his hard line against China after sowing confusion with statements that he might be willing to soften a trade war G7 partners fear threatens the world economy.
At the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, Trump announced a major trade deal with Japan and promised more of the same with Britain, once Brexit is done.
But the positives were overshadowed by a mix-up over his apparent expression of regret for the latest escalation in the US-China dispute.
"I have second thoughts about everything," he conceded to reporters when asked if he regretted his decision on Friday to ramp up tariffs on all Chinese imports, worth some $550 billion, in retaliation for Beijing's earlier hike of levies on US goods.
Persecuted Christians eye long-sought freedom in Sudan
Sudan's Christians suffered decades of persecution under the regime of Islamist general Omar al-Bashir. Now they hope his downfall will give the religious freedom they have long prayed for.
Deep within the maze of dusty alleys that honeycomb Omdurman, Khartoum's sprawling twin city, Yousef Zamgila's church is not visible from the street.
It is hidden in the courtyard of a friend's home and consists of a few iron benches, a pulpit and crosses hastily painted on pillars holding a corrugated roof.
"The previous centre got destroyed because we didn't have the right papers. They always refused... So we use the land of our neighbours," says the Lutheran reverend.