- News The Daily Beast
President Donald Trump accused Democrats on Monday of scheming to alter witnesses’ transcripts from the impeachment inquiry, but a lawyer for a key witness said his client’s transcript looks fine. Robert Luskin, who represents Ambassador Gordon Sondland, a key witness and a Trump administration political appointee, said his client’s testimony hadn’t been altered. “No reason to believe that the transcript was altered, and the clarification was released in the form that it was submitted,” Luskin emailed The Daily Beast on Monday morning. Lee Wolosky, a lawyer for ex-Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs Fiona Hill, confirmed his client’s testimony was unaltered. “We have seen nothing to suggest that Dr. Hill’s transcript was altered (beyond routine correction of errata),” he wrote in an email. Thousands of pages of testimony have already been released and neither lawmakers nor witnesses have complained about the contents of the depositions. In addition to accusing Democrats of misdeeds without evidence, Trump said Republicans should release their own versions of the documents as a check. Sondland testified to the inquiry on Oct. 17, but updated his testimony just last week to say he had suspected the Trump administration withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure the country into investigating a company linked to former Vice President Joe Biden. Democrats pointed to Sondland’s admission as evidence of their worst suspicions: that the administration put the president’s political goals over support for a key American partner at war with Russian-backed fighters. Sondland, however, also said in his update that nobody in the Trump administration told him about a quid pro quo scheme, and that he still does not know why Trump temporarily withheld the military aid. Sondland’s reversal has been pilloried on the right, with some Republicans even accusing him of working with Democrats. Trump, who a month ago described the ambassador as “a really good man and great American,” has not lashed out publicly at Sondland but planted what seemed to a kiss of death in comments to reporters last week. “I hardly know the gentleman,” Trump said, when asked about Sondland’s edited testimony. And Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s most staunch congressional allies, suggested in a Fox News interview that Sondland may have conspired with Democrats to add the damaging material to his testimony. “Why did Sunderland change his testimony?” Graham said, inaccurately referring to Sondland. “Was there a connection between Sunderland and Democratic operatives on the committee? Did he talk to Schiff? Did he talk to Schiff’s staffers?”Trump’s anger with the inquiry is percolating as Democrats gear up for the first week of public impeachment hearings. On Wednesday, State Department officials George Kent and Ambassador Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, are set to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. Then on Friday, former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch -who represented the U.S. in Kyiv until a scheme helmed by Rudy Giuliani resulted in her removal from that post-will testify. Transcripts from all three witnesses’ closed-door testimonies have been released. They include damaging allegations about Trump’s relationship with Ukraine. But some of the information that could cause the most trouble for the president is second- or third-hand. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- News CBC
Athletes and a prominent elite running coach from B.C. have joined the chorus of voices supporting an American runner who shocked the sporting world with allegations of abuse with an elite Nike running club.Mary Cain, 23, told her story on the opinion pages of The New York Times this week in a video essay called 'I Was the Fastest Girl in America, Until I Joined Nike.'At 17, Cain was breaking records and competing at the highest level in the world. Her success resulted in an invitation in 2013 to join an elite training group in Oregon sponsored by Nike and coached by former elite world-class marathoner Alberto Salazar.Cain claims after joining the group she was emotionally and physically abused. She said the all-male staff with the team was obsessed with her losing weight in order to get faster. The story has elicited strong reaction within the sport, including here in Canada. "You know it's very upsetting to read all of this stuff," said Natasha Wodak, a Canadian Olympian and the national record holder for the 10,000 metres.Wodak, 37, of Surrey, says she did not face the same abuse about her weight during her career, but is not surprised by Cain's revelations."I've heard comments before - coaches saying to athletes ... at team dinners: 'Are you sure you want to have that brownie or are you sure you want to eat those chicken nuggets," she said.In the Times video, Cain said as the pounds came off, her results worsened.She stopped getting her period, suffered four broken bones and deliberately cut herself as a coping mechanism.She claims she was shamed in front of her peers by team coaches if her weight went above 114 pounds or 52 kilograms.Wodak says she has been fortunate to have supportive coaches and support staff, many of whom have been female. Cain, in the Times piece, said she would like to see more women mentors in the sport.Wodak hopes that Cain's story will empower others who are not getting enough support to also speak out."Mary Cain sharing her experience was, I mean, very brave," she said. "I hope that other young female athletes in women's distance running or any sport that are going through something like that feel that they can they can speak out and they can get help."Brit Townsend, the head track and field coach at SFU for more than 20 years, said she has watched Cain's career since she was a young teenager posting remarkable early results."I think it's difficult because when athletes are so good so young they're also naive," she said. "They have a lot of other people making decisions for them and they are vulnerable."Coaches and team managers, she says, need to be responsible in shaping athletes, and not do harm."How do we manage them so that they can actually reach and realize their potential in a positive, healthy way?" she said.ApologySince the Cain article was published, the athlete has thanked those who have voiced support. Track athlete Cam Levins, from Black Creek on Vancouver Island, trained with Cain in Salazar's program. He apologized over Twitter for not doing more to support Cain in Oregon. The New York Times says Nike has also responded and promised to launch an investigation.In September, Salazar was banned from the sport for four years by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for, among other violations, possessing and trafficking testosterone while training top runners at the Nike Oregon Project.
- News The Canadian Press
ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey on Monday deported citizens of the United States and Denmark who fought for the Islamic State and made plans to expel other foreign nationals as the government began a new push to send back captured foreign fighters to their home countries, a Turkish official said.The move comes just over a week after the Turkish interior minister said Turkey was not a "hotel" for IS fighters and criticized Western nations for their reluctance to take back citizens who had joined the ranks of the extremist militant group as it sought to establish a "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria.Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said last week that about 1,200 foreign IS fighters were in Turkish prisons and 287 members, including women and children, were recaptured during Turkey's offensive in Syria.Several European countries, including Britain, have stripped IS fighters of their nationalities to prevent their return.A U.S. and a Danish national were deported from Turkey on Monday, while a German national was scheduled to be deported later in the day, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Interior Ministry spokesman Ismail Catakli as saying. Seven other German nationals were scheduled to leave the country on Thursday, he said.Two Irish nationals, two German nationals and 11 French nationals who were captured in Syria were also to be transferred to their home countries soon, Catakli said.The U.S. did not immediately comment on Ankara's announcement.Turkey's Sabah newspaper, which is close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government, reported that the U.S. citizen who had been deported was stuck in a heavily militarized no man's land between the Greece and Turkey borders.Greek police said in a statement that Turkish authorities had first tried to deport a United States citizen of Arab origin on Oct. 11 on grounds that he had exceeded his legal stay in Turkey. The man, however, stated that he did not wish to enter Greece and returned to Turkey, accompanied by Turkish police.On Monday, he returned to the same border station on his own and asked to enter Greece, police said. Greek authorities refused him entry, sending him back to Turkey.Stavros Tziamalides, an official from the border village of Kastanies, said the border gate was shut on the Greek side and there was a greater presence of Greek police and border guards from the Frontex European border agency.In Denmark, Justice Minister Nick Hakkerup told Danish broadcaster TV2 that any Danish citizens who fought for IS and are repatriated to the country "must be punished as severely as possible."Germany said it will not refuse entry to its own citizens, but added that as far as German officials know, the citizen being deported Monday was not involved with IS.In Bosnia, government officials announced on Monday that citizens who had fought with IS could return to the country, while a Dutch court ruled on the same day that the country must attempt to bring home children whose mothers travelled to Syria to join Islamic extremist groups. The decision came in response to a case filed by lawyers on behalf of 23 women and their 56 children who are housed in camps in northern Syria.In Denmark, the weekly newspaper Weekendavisen said the name of the Danish citizen being deported was Ahmad Salem el-Haj, who faces terror charges in Denmark.While Turkey has quietly deported IS sympathizers for years, it raised the issue more forcefully after Western nations refused to back its invasion of northeastern Syria and its offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters, whom Ankara considers terrorists linked to Kurdish insurgents fighting inside Turkey. Many countries have voiced concerns that the Turkish incursion would lead to a resurgence of IS.Turkey has been accused of enabling the influx of thousands of foreign IS sympathizers into Syria over the years. At the height of the extremist group's power, the Turkish border crossings were the main route for those hoping to join IS in Syria. Turkey has denied the accusations and later stepped up security at its borders, including by profiling possible IS fighters at airports and building a wall along parts of its porous border.Turkey was hit by a wave of IS attacks in 2015 and 2016, including one by a gunman who opened fire at an Istanbul nightclub during New Year's celebrations in the early hours of 2017 and killed 39 people.In Bosnia, Security Minister Dragan Mektic said Monday that about 260 Bosnian citizens remained in the camps in Syria, including approximately 100 men and 160 women and children. He says only confirmed Bosnian citizens would be taken in. Bosnia has introduced prison terms of up to 10 years for its citizens who fight in conflicts abroad or recruit others.A court in The Hague, Netherlands, on Monday ordered the government to make attempts to repatriate women and children whose mothers travelled to Syria to join Islamic extremist groups."The children are not responsible for the actions of their parents, however serious they are," the court said, adding that while Dutch officials must use "all possible means" to repatriate them, the state also "cannot be ordered to take serious security risks."In Berlin, German foreign ministry spokesman Christofer Burger said Turkey told Germany about its plan to deport German citizens. He said they include three men, five women and two children.So far, Burger said, German authorities cannot confirm that the 10 were involved with IS and, in the case of the person being deported Monday, they know of no link to IS. There are indications that two of the women were in Syria, but neither of the children is believed to have been in Syria.__Associated Press reporters Geir Moulson in Berlin, Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Costas Kantouris in Thessaloniki, Greece, contributed to this report.Suzan Fraser, The Associated Press