FBI agents raid DC home of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska: report

FBI agents on Tuesday reportedly raided the home of Russian aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch linked to President Donald Trump's disgraced former campaign director Paul Manafort.

"The FBI is conducting 'law enforcement activity' at the Washington D.C. home of Oleg Deripaska," tweeted NBC News reporter Tom Winter, citing a FBI spokesperson.

"NBC News is outside the home where a number of federal agents have gathered and are restricting access to the property."

Deripaska and Manafort did business together in the mid-2000s. Manafort has since been convicted in the US of financial crimes related to political work he did in Ukraine before the 2016 election as well as witness tampering. Manafort has also admitted to providing polling data to a Russian with intelligence ties during the 2016 presidential race.

Deripaska is considered to be a close ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin and was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2018.

"Deripaska has said that he does not separate himself from the Russian state," the Department said in a statement. "He has also acknowledged possessing a Russian diplomatic passport, and claims to have represented the Russian government in other countries.

"Deripaska has been investigated for money laundering, and has been accused of threatening the lives of business rivals, illegally wiretapping a government official, and taking part in extortion and racketeering. There are also allegations that Deripaska bribed a government official, ordered the murder of a businessman, and had links to a Russian organized crime group."

With additional reporting from AFP

'Crime of the Century': Trump rages at Biden for rejecting request to withhold White House info

Former President Donald Trump lashed out at his successor on Friday night after the White House refused to exert executive privilege over documents being sought by Congress.

In his statement, Trump also referred to November 3, 2020 – Election Day – as "the insurrection" and a crime.

"Biden has rejected our request to withhold White House information from the House Unselect Committee investigating the January 6th protest, but has not taken a stance on the insurrection that took place on November 3rd, often referred to as the Crime of the Century," Trump said.

Trump is seeking to assert executive privilege to prevent documents relating to January 6 from being handed over to the select committee by the National Archives.

Executive privilege allows a president to keep certain communications confidential. Legal experts are divided on whether it applies to a former president, and Biden declined to assert it on behalf of Trump.

White House Counsel Dana Remus explained the rejection in a letter obtained by NBC News: "These are unique and extraordinary circumstances. Congress is examining an assault on our Constitution and democratic institutions provoked and fanned by those sworn to protect them, and the conduct under investigation extends far beyond typical deliberations concerning the proper discharge of the President's constitutional responsibilities. The constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield, from Congress or the public, information that reflects a clear and apparent effort to subvert the Constitution itself."

The committee investigating the Capitol attack issued a request in August for records related to the attempt by Trump supporters to block the certification by Congress of Biden's November election victory.

Among the records and documents being sought are communications from Trump, members of his family, his top aides, his lawyers and dozens of other former members of his administration.

The former president predicted that Biden's decision would backfire and criticized his son, Hunter.

"This will put the current White House in a terrible position when the inevitable request for information comes concerning the massive corruption by Hunter Biden and the already well-documented crimes committed by the Biden family, the least of which are Hunter's paintings selling for as much as $500,000 a piece," Trump said in his statement.

The House Select Committee warned four former members of the Trump administration meanwhile they could be subject to charges of criminal contempt of Congress if they decline to answer subpoenas from the panel.

"Though the Select Committee welcomes good-faith engagement with witnesses seeking to cooperate with our investigation, we will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral," said Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) in a statement.

With additional reporting from AFP

Arizona Republican has a meltdown after audit liaison tells Congress that Biden was the legitimate winner

An Arizona GOP lawmaker lashed out at Ken Bennett, the liaison for the state Senate's election audit, on Thursday after he stated that President Joe Biden was the legitimate winner of the 2020 election.

During a House Oversight and Reform Committee, Bennett was asked whether former President Donald Trump was correct to claim that Biden had "lost in Arizona based on the forensic audit."

"I would not characterize it that way," Bennett replied. "I was asked by the Senate to be the liaison to the Maricopa audit, the Maricopa audit found that the results were very similar to what Maricopa County canvassed in the official results."

His comments did not sit well with state Sen. Wendy Rogers, who slammed Bennett on Twitter.

"Ken Bennett does not represent me, my constituents, or the state of Arizona," she wrote on the social media platform. "He is an unelected individual who was caught leaking information about the audit. His assessment that the audit was never about overturning the election is wrong."

"His assessment of the ballot count is wrong. When you have fraudulent ballots, duplicate ballots, and questionable ballots that total significantly MORE than the number of votes needed to win the election, the election was a SHAM and the electors need to be recalled. Ken Bennett is the WRONG messenger of the Arizona audit results and I am sick and tired of RINOs telling me and my constituents that our voices don't matter."

Rogers has previously called for mass arrests of Maricopa County election officials. "I would like to know if we have enough solitary confinement cells in Arizona available for the entire Maricopa Board of Supervisors and the execs at the fraud machine company," she wrote on Twitter earlier this year. "We are going to need a lot."

Ana Navarro blows up on 'repulsive' Stephanie Grisham for cashing in on Trump's abuses after acting as his 'accomplice'

CNN political commentator Ana Navarro on Tuesday blasted former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, who has recently published an explosive tell-all book describing her time in the Trump administration.

"I really can't stand it," Navarro said. "I find all of these, you know, late-developing-conscience people who served in the Trump campaign or the Trump administration repulsive. And look, I know we like the tea she is spilling. I know we like the gossip she is spilling. And it's not often I agree with Trump supporters, but she's got no credibility."

Despite being Trump's chief spokeswoman for a time, Grisham never held a single press briefing in the White House. After stepping down from her position as press secretary in 2020, Grisham became first lady Melania Trump's chief of staff.

"If she is talking about how she lied on Fox interviews, what makes you think she's saying the truth in a CNN interview?" Navarro continued. "So, I think these folks are trying -- people like her who write tell-all books after they left the administration. She left the administration January 6th, okay? Give me a break. By then, all of America knew who he was. She certainly knew who he was."

"He had been promoting the big lie for two months by then and it took till January 6th to resign? I frankly see no redeeming quality in this woman or any of the Trump accomplices who want to clear their name, want to make a buck and exploit their time in the White House as accomplices to the abuses of power of Donald Trump by writing tell-all books and trying to please people like me who want to hear the gossip. I'm never, ever going to buy one of these books."

Watch video below:

10 05 2021 13 35 14 www.youtube.com

Whistleblower revealed Facebook’s biggest fear at Senate hearing: CNN legal analyst

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen revealed what she described as the company's biggest fear during a Senate hearing on Tuesday -- and CNN legal analyst Elie Honig encouraged Congress to look into it.

"The big ticket item here is what we've heard referred to as Section 230," explained Honig. "What Section 230 is is a law passed by Congress back in 1996 that essentially protects social media companies like Facebook from being sued over their content.

The CNN legal analyst noted that Haugen said that the amending of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was Facebook's top concern.

"I encourage reforming Section 230 to exempt decisions about algorithms," Haugen told senators. "Modifying 230 around content -- it is very complicated because user generated content is something companies have less control over. They have 100% control over their algorithms. Facebook should not get a free pass on choices it makes to prioritize growth, virality, and reactiveness over public safety. They should not get a free pass on that."

Honig added that "she didn't say take [Section 230] away, because there would be First Amendment issues there, but she said make Facebook liable for its algorithms. Make them legally responsible for their algorithms. I think that's a really interesting idea and something that Congress needs to look at doing."

Watch video below:

10 05 2021 11 40 43 www.youtube.com

Trump says he doesn’t know if Afghanistan war is over as he rants about terrorists ‘being dropped all over the world’

President Donald Trump said in a recent interview on the Full Measure news program that he doesn't know whether or not the war in Afghanistan has concluded.

"Do you think the Afghanistan war is over?" the former president was asked by reporter Sharyl Attkisson.

"I don't know because you have people going all over the world and being dropped all over the world right now, and nobody knows who the hell they are, Sharyl. These aren't interpreters that we took," Trump claimed.

"These were people that rushed into the planes, and they were so interested in trying to make it sound like 'Oh, they're doing a good job.' These people, many of these people are going to be terrorists," he continued. "Okay? They're going to be terrorists. They were very powerful. They were very energetic in getting onto the aircraft."

Trump boasted in July 2021 that he had "started the process" of withdrawing all U.S. forces from Afghanistan. But the twice-impeached former president has been highly critical of his successor Joe Biden for pulling troops out of the country.

Attkisson's full interview with Trump will air Sunday, September 12. Watch a clip below:

Full Measure | Former President Trump discusses Afghanistan www.youtube.com

'This makes me sick': Viral video shows brazen anti-LGBTQ attack in Georgia high school

A high school student in Georgia is facing charges after he was caught on video ripping a Pride flag off another student and throwing it in the trash.

Video shared on social media this week shows a young man with a black shirt at Lowndes High School running up to another student, who appears to be eating his lunch, and tearing the Pride flag off his back as the student falls backward. The young man then scuffles with another student as he tosses the flag in a nearby trash bin.

The video when viral after well-known YouTube make-up guru Jeffree Star commented on it, according to WALB News 10.

"Why are straight guys always so bothered??? The student [with] the pride flag was minding his own business… This makes me sick. And that girl laughing?? Got it. Truly awful," Star wrote on Twitter.

The student is now facing multiple charges, including disorderly conduct, simple battery and disruption of a public facility, according to Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk.

"I feel like me and my friends are unsafe," a student told WALB News 10, "because the majority of us are part of the LGBT community and you would think going to school would be a safe place, but there's people with so much hatred that will hate you and do anything they can to just get at you because you're different and want to express yourself.. and it's really hard."

Lowndes High School assistant principal Rodney Green said in a statement: "We take the well-being and safety of our students seriously. Our staff works hard to provide a safe environment where all of our students feel valued.

"As soon as the Lowndes High School administration was aware, the matter was investigated, they ensured that the victim was not hurt and addressed the other student following the appropriate consequence outlined in the Student Code of Conduct."

She thought the pandemic was 'political' – then she watched in horror as her husband died of COVID

A woman who recently lost her husband to COVID-19 is now hoping to save lives by urging others to get vaccinated.

Christina Lowe, 32, and her husband Mikel were strongly opposed to the COVID-19 vaccine and masks. They had assumed that because they were relatively young and healthy, the virus would not impact them.

"We thought the vaccine was rushed," Lowe told NBC San Diego. "We thought it was more about money and power than about Americans and protecting the people… We honestly thought that COVID was mostly political."

Mikel, who served as a firefighter for 15 years, contracted COVID-19 about two weeks ago and developed pneumonia.

"I went upstairs to check on him and his face was purple and blue," Christina said. "He was struggling to breathe on oxygen."

Mikel died from COVID-19 on August 29. He was 38 years old.

"He was a firefighter, a man of honor and integrity," his sister wrote on a GoFundMe campaign. "Please help my sister in law provide for her sons in this deeply devastating time. We all know this money will not be able to bring him back, but this money will be able to help Christina as she is now a widow that needs to provide for her sons."

Christina said that her views have changed after her devastating experience with the virus and she has now been vaccinated. She told Fox 5 Vegas that she hopes other people honor her husband's legacy by getting vaccinated and wearing masks.

"I understand some of you believe that this political-- and it might be, it could be political, I don't know that it's not," Christina said. "I do know that because of that decision of my husband believing it was political, that was why he did not want to wear a mask, he did not want to get vaccinated. He didn't trust them. It cost him his life."

Trump 'trying very hard to pretend he actually won' after his big loss in Texas

State Rep. Jake Ellzey pulled off a major upset in the special election runoff in Texas' 6th district on Tuesday when he defeated Susan Wright, a fellow Republican who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump. But in a phone call with Axios on Wednesday, Trump tried to reframe the defeat in Texas as a victory for himself.

"I think this is the only race we've lost together," Trump said, referring to himself and the Club for Growth, which reportedly pushed him to endorse Wright.

But, according to Axios, the former president caught himself "mid-sentence" and quickly tried to change his language.

"This is not a loss, again, I don't want to claim it is a loss, this was a win," Trump said. "The big thing is, we had two very good people running that were both Republicans. That was the win."

The former president endorsed Wright in April. "Susan Wright will be a terrific Congresswoman (TX-06) for the Great State of Texas," he said in a statement. "She is the wife of the late Congressman Ron Wright, who has always been supportive of our America First Policies."

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman commented on the story on Twitter, saying that "Trump [is] trying very hard... to pretend he actually won."

GOP’s Lauren Boebert faces brutal backlash over ‘unbelievably ignorant’ tweet about COVID-19

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert on Wednesday deleted a tweet in which she downplayed the threat posed by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, previously known as B.1.617.

"The easiest way to make the Delta variant go away is to turn off CNN. And vote Republican," the Colorado Republican wrote on the social media platform.

"Lauren Boebert proves once again that stupidity has a champion in Colorado," said Colorado state lawmaker Steven Woodrow in response.

The Delta variant was first detected in India, where it began circulating around April.

It is now present to varying degrees in at least 85 countries, according to the World Health Organization.

In Europe, the Delta variant initially gained a foothold in the United Kingdom, where it quickly outpaced the previous variant of concern Alpha, and now comprises 95 percent of all sequenced cases in England.

Delta is thought to be some 40 to 60 percent more contagious than Alpha, which itself is more contagious than the strain responsible for the first wave of COVID-19.

"We have referred to the Delta variant as being COVID on steroids. It is something that is much more easily spread and we believe it causes much more serious illness," CBS4 Denver Medical Editor Dr. Dave Hnida said. "The problem with this is that it really is a great masquerader."

Health officials identified the first Colorado case of the Delta variant on May 5 in Mesa County, which is part of the congressional district represented by Boebert.

Boebert ended up deleting her tweet about the Delta variant after she starting receiving backlash over her statement.

With additional reporting from AFP

Trump-loving candidate's staffers flee campaign over 'toxic' environment created by his girlfriend: report

Three fundraisers have recently quit the U.S. Senate campaign for Republican Josh Mandel in Ohio and, according to the Columbus Dispatch, at least two of them bailed out because of a toxic work environment.

That toxic environment is being blamed on the campaign's finance director Rachel Wilson, who is also in romantic relationship with Mandel. The two started dating in August of 2020.

Sources told the Columbus Dispatch that finance staff members have cried "on a regular basis" because of Wilson's behavior, which includes cursing out subordinates and demanding 12-hour workdays.

The abusive behavior is apparently not limited to Wilson and her subordinates. Mandel and Wilson also reportedly have had "blow-out arguments" about the campaign.

"They'd go out in the hallway and scream at each other," one source explained.

Mandel is a strident supporter of Donald Trump and has called on Congress to investigate bogus claims of election fraud in the 2020 election.

"I'm confident that the results of the commission's investigation of the 2020 election will prove what we all already know that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election," Mandel told the Washington Examiner last week.

He told local news outlet WKYC Channel 3 earlier this year that the election was "stolen" from Trump.

Josh Mandel announces bid for 2022 U.S. Senate seat in Ohio www.youtube.com

'They have documents to prove more than you know': Michael Cohen says Allen Weisselberg is not needed for a Trump indictment

According to former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, a top executive at the Trump Organization is not a necessary component in the potential legal prosecution of the ex-president.

New York prosecutors are reportedly considering criminal charges against Allen Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer for the Trump Organization. Legal observers have noted that Donald Trump himself could face repercussions if Weisselberg decides to cooperate with the Manhattan district attorney's investigation of the Trump Organization.

Daniel Goldman, a former assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York who served as the lead counsel for House Democrats in the first Trump impeachment trial, predicted on Twitter that "if Allen Weisselberg does not cooperate with the Manhattan DA's office — and all indications are that he has not and will not — that office will not be able to criminally charge Donald Trump for any of the conduct under investigation."

But Cohen, who spent years working as Trump's "fixer," vehemently disagreed.

"Wrong!" Cohen wrote in response. "They have documents to prove more than you know or should be commenting on. Weisselberg is not the key to a Trump indictment."

Cohen has met with top officials from the Manhattan District Attorney's office several times this year.

Trump ally Roger Stone claims Secret Service tried to escort him to the Capitol on January 6

During an appearance Tuesday on Newsmax, Roger Stone denied having any involvement in the Capitol riot on January 6. Federal authorities are reportedly investigating whether Stone, a longtime confidante of former President Donald Trump, played a role in the incident.

"Let me stay this as categorically as I can," Stone said. "Any claim, assertion, implication or otherwise any accusation that I either knew about or was involved in any of the illegal acts in Washington, D.C. on January 6th is categorically false. There is no evidence to the contrary and an honest investigation will prove that."

He told Newsmax that he never left the grounds of the Willard Hotel, where he was staying.

"I do find it odd that shortly after the president spoke, the Secret Service contacted someone who worked for me by phone and told me that they wanted to escort me to the Capitol. I declined," Stone said.

"The Secret Service does not perform logistical tasks. I find it rather suspicious, to be honest with you," he added.

06 22 2021 14 03 34 www.youtube.com

WATCH: Biden swats down Fox News’ Peter Doocy for calling China’s leader his ‘old friend’

President Joe Biden snapped at Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy on Wednesday during a press conference regarding his summit with Russia's Vladimir Putin.

"You have spoken many times about how you have spent perhaps more time with President Xi than any other world leader," Doocy said. "Is there going to become a time where you might called him, old friend to old friend, and ask him to open up China to the World Health Organization investigators who are trying to get to the bottom of COVID-19?"

"Let's get something straight," Biden shot back. "We know each other well -- we're not old friends. It's just pure business."

Doocy noted that the Group of Seven (G7) leaders had called for a full investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus. "But China basically says they don't want to be interfered with anymore, so what happens now?" the Fox News reporter pressed.

Biden said that China was "trying very hard to project itself as a very responsible and very, very forth coming nation."

"They are finding it hard to talk about how they're helping the world in terms of COVID-19, and vaccines, they're trying very hard," the president continued. "Look, certain things you don't have to explain to the people of the world. They see the results. Is China really actually trying to get to the bottom of this?"


06 16 2021 13 50 18 www.youtube.com

‘She just owned Melania’: Jill Biden sets the internet ablaze with ‘Love’ jacket

Fans of First Lady Jill Biden were ecstatic on Thursday after seeing her wearing a jacket with the word "Love" on the back. The fashion choice was seen as a jab at former First Lady Melania Trump, who once raised eyebrows by visiting the U.S.-Mexico border in a jacket that stated "I Don't Really Care, Do U?"

"Jill Biden knows a jacket with words on the back will automatically draw comparisons to Melania, so it's fascinating that she would want a (not subtle) troll move to define one of her highest profile moments in the administration so far," tweeted Republican commentator Matt Whitlock.

"Hard to see that jacket and not remember former First Lady Melania Trump wearing the jacket that said 'I really don't care do you?' tweeted ABC News reporter Jordyn Phelps.

But other reporters noted that she had worn the jacket before:

Nevertheless, many people were happy to see the positive message:

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Raw Story Investigates and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.