Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper on Thursday defended its decision to publish photos of one of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election rivals entering the mansion of disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein in 2016.
Ehud Barak’s lawyers wrote to the Daily Mail on Wednesday demanding that it retract Tuesday’s story and pay “substantial damages to vindicate his reputation and compensate him”.
Epstein had already been convicted in 2009 as a sex felon and served a 13-month prison term.
He was arrested in New York on July 8 this year on charges of sexually exploiting dozens of underage girls.
The Daily Mail “stands by its recent story concerning Ehud Barak’s relationship with the convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein 100 percent,” the newspaper said in a statement to AFP.
“We note that Mr Barak’s assertion that he was not party to Mr Epstein’s illegal activities is a denial of a claim we have never made.”
The popular newspaper and website ran photos of four young women separately entering Epstein’s New York residence around the same time as Barak himself went in.
Israeli media have also highlighted his past business ties with Epstein.
Barak hinted that Netanyahu and his allies could ultimately be behind the media attention.
The Daily Mail firmly rejected the claim.
“The reason for the latest article is that Mr Barak has now admitted he is the man in the photographs,” the Daily Mail statement said.
It added that it would not be removing the story from its website because “it is absolutely clear that this is a story of the utmost public interest”.
Barak is a former armed forces chief of staff who succeeded Netanyahu as prime minister in 1999 and served as defence minister under him from 2009 to 2013 before retiring from politics.
He formed a new party in June that will compete in September legislative elections Netanyahu called after being unable to form a new government in the wake of inconclusive April polls.
Barak sounded a defiant note in the face of the mounting allegations at a rally late Wednesday.
“I am a feminist,” he said to audience applause.
Trump suffers ‘Impostor Syndrome’ on a level ‘previously unknown to man’: Art of the Deal co-author
On Tuesday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," "Art of the Deal" co-author Tony Schwartz broke down President Donald Trump's mental state — and suggested that the president has a subconscious, pathological fear of being exposed as a fraud.
"Knowing the president as you do, how do you think he is going to handle next couple of days of this public testimony?" asked Cooper. "He obviously watches a lot of this. They often claim he's too busy to watch it, but he clearly does."
"Well, I think that he is in two places right now," said Schwartz. "I'm sorry to say this, because one of them seems fine. Which, for — to me, which is I suspect, he is in — his nervous system is in a very high state of activation, and God save you to be around him right now. Because this is the ultimate humiliation, to have his election called into question."
White House in ‘chaos’ in advance of public impeachment hearings: report
On Tuesday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," chief White House reporter Jim Acosta broke down how President Donald Trump's administration is in a state of turmoil with hours to go before the public impeachment hearings begin in the House.
"It is a picture of chaos as the president heads into this very different phase for him in the impeachment inquiry, very public phase with officials testifying in front of cameras up on Capitol Hill," said Acosta.
"My colleagues and I over here at the White House are hearing from our sources that when Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff, started these legal maneuverings a few days ago, first he would join this lawsuit in federal court that would determine whether or not he should respond to these congressional subpoenas up on Capitol Hill and testify, and then yesterday he decided he's going to pull out of that legal challenge and pose his own legal challenge, file his own lawsuit and then this morning we find out he's scrapping the whole thing altogether and going back to the original legal guidance from the administration that he's immune from testifying under this subpoena that has been issued for his testimony," continued Acosta.
Bill Barr appears to be targeting Trump’s opponents — and senate Dems want an investigation
In May, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) cornered Attorney General Bill Barr during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
Harris, a career prosecutor who served as San Francisco District Attorney and California Attorney General, asked Barr if the White House had ever asked for any specific investigations.
Barr struggled to answer the question.
Senator Harris: Attorney General Barr has the President or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone?Attorney General Barr: Um. I wouldn’t … I wouldn’t. uh—Senator Harris: Yes or No?Attorney General Han: Could you … could you repeat that question?Senator Harris: I will repeat it. Has the President or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? Yes or no please, sir.Attorney General Barr: Urn, the President or anybody…Senator Harris: Seems you would remember something like that and be able to tell us.Attorney General Barr Yeah, but I’m. I’m trying to grapple with the word ‘suggest.’ I mean, there have been discussions of, of matters out there that. uh- – they have not asked me to open an investigation. But…Senator Harris: Perhaps they’ve suggested?Attorney General Barr: I don’t know. I wouldn’t say suggest…Senator Harris: Hinted?Attorney General Barr I don’t know.Senator Harris: Inferred? You don’t know?Attorney General Barr: No.