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Chris Jackson / GettyHow would you feel if you found out your brother was planning to exile you to Africa because you were more popular than him?The relationship between Prince Harry and Prince William looked decidedly frosty as they walked separately into an Easter service at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on Sunday. It came after the bombshell revelation that there are plots afoot to send Harry and Meghan overseas for two or three years in 2020, partly to stop the glamorous newlyweds from overshadowing William and Kate.Fresh palace spin Monday sought to suggest that Harry and Meghan “like the idea” (which is fortunate, isn’t it?), but it was hard to avoid the conclusion from observing the brothers on Sunday that an unseasonal chill had descended over the young royals.Amid rumored fears by palace staff that Meghan and Harry could be “bigger than Diana,” the brothers, who were once inseparable, appeared to be doing everything they could to keep out of each other’s way as they shuffled awkwardly into church for an Easter service.Harry was alone (Meghan, expecting her baby any day now, did not attend) but, instead of forming a trio with William and Kate, he chose to tag along with cousin Zara and her husband, Mike Tindall.At the entrance to the church, Harry held back so he did not have to go in with his brother, or sit next to him inside. Their decision to not walk into church together was no mere accident of logistics.The royals know that these big set-piece church arrivals are laden with symbolism and, in previous years, it would have been unimaginable for a solo Harry not to stroll in with William and Kate to provide a clear symbol of unity among the younger generation of the Crown.But such is the distance opening up between the brothers that Harry kept away-he looked tense and preoccupied and clearly avoided making eye contact with William.What is particularly interesting about this falling out is that there no longer appears to be any attempt to hide it. In times gone by, a quintessentially British stiff upper lip would have been deployed and the two princes would have walked into church together with a game smile on their faces. Recriminations would have taken place safely behind palace walls.But for a surly Harry to stare at his shoes in public in the company of his brother is a bizarre new development, and perhaps gives credence to recent reports that Harry is becoming more outspoken in his defiance of the mores of his role. Notably, the palace is clearly not seeking to deny The Sunday Times story.Another ill-advised glug of petrol was poured on the fire by William and Kate when they posted a 93rd birthday greeting to their grandmother on the Kensington Palace account, which appeared to deliberately exclude Meghan.William and Kate’s message on their Kensington Royal Instagram account read: “Wishing a very happy 93rd birthday to Her Majesty The Queen!"However, the picture used was from the 2016 Trooping of the Color event. It showed the Queen, Prince Philip, William, Harry, Kate, George, and Charlotte. There are plenty of pictures from last year that included Meghan that would have worked just as well.The Queen seems unlikely to have spent yesterday checking her grandchildren’s Instagrams for birthday messages. Meghan, on the other hand, tucked quietly away in Frogmore Cottage, could well have been. One can’t help wondering, therefore, who the picture was really meant for.Read more at The Daily Beast.entertainment Entertainment Tonight
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REUTERS/Kamil KrzaczynskiThe Chicago brothers who were questioned by police in the alleged attack on Jussie Smollett have sued two of his attorneys for defamation, insisting the assault was “a hoax entirely conceived and directed by” the Empire actor.Abel and Ola Osundairo filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago on Tuesday morning, alleging Smollett’s attorneys, Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian, knowingly made false statements about their role in the hoax “to distract from Mr. Smollett’s farce and to promote themselves” and their law firm. The suit alleges that Geragos and his firm continued to publicly pedal the narrative that the brothers “led a criminally homophobic, racist and violent attack against Mr. Smollett” even after the investigation had ended. “Mr. Geragos’ statements were made after the close of Mr. Smollett’s criminal case, did not serve any legal function, and were not a requirement of his job as a defense attorney,” the complaint states, adding that the comments have caused “considerable damage to [brother’s] careers, as they have lost talent agent contracts and career opportunities.”Smollett alleged that on Jan. 29, two men beat him up and put a rope around his neck before pouring an unknown chemical on him as he was walking home from a Subway sandwich shop in Chicago around 2 a.m. The actor also alleged the two men shouted homophobic and racist slurs during the incident. The new lawsuit alleges that four days prior to filing a police report, Smollett told the brothers he “needed a favor from them.” “They were to help him stage a social media hoax and pretend to attack him” because he “wanted his employer and the public to notice and appreciate him as a successful Black, openly gay actor,” the lawsuit states.Chicago police immediately launched an investigation into the “possible hate crime,” but could not find video evidence of the described incident. A day after the attack, investigators released surveillance camera photos of the Osundario brothers, describing them as “potential persons of interests.” They were eventually taken into custody by police and questioned on February 15. While being questioned, the brothers told police the actor paid them $3,500 to help stage the attack-and even reimbursed them for the rope. In a surveillance video, the brothers and Smollett appear to be seen buying a red hat and ski masks at a convenience store the day before the alleged assault.“Mr. Smollett used his clout as a wealthy actor to influence [the brothers], who were in a subordinate relationship to him and were aspiring to ‘make it’ in Hollywood,” the lawsuit claims.Police released the Osundairo brothers without charges “as there was verification and in-depth corroboration that the ‘attack’ was a hoax entirely conceived and directed by Mr. Smollett,” the lawsuit states. Chicago police charged Smollett in February with one felony count of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a fake police report. Less than a month later, a Cook County grand jury increased the charges to over a dozen felony counts after police alleged Smollett staged the hate crime. But in shocking move, Cook County prosecutors dropped all charges against Smollett on March 26. Amid outrage over the charges being dropped, Glandian suggested in a March 28 Today show interview that the brothers “may have been wearing ‘whiteface’ while attacking Mr. Smollett-again stating Plaintiffs battered Mr. Smollett and adding the implication that this battery was a hate crime,” the lawsuit states.The documents also claim that Glandian alleged in an April 6 Reasonable Doubt podcast episode that Abimbola Osundairo and Smollett “engaged, at least briefly, in homosexual acts together”-a claim both brothers vehemently deny.“We have sat back and watched lie after lie being fabricated about us in the media only so one big lie can continue to have life,” the brothers said in a Tuesday statement obtained by The Daily Beast.“We will no longer sit back and allow these lies to continue.”The brothers, who are both trainers, “have suffered significant emotional distress and feel unsafe and alienated in their local Chicago community,” according to the lawsuit, which adds that these two “very famous attorneys” have “falsely and publicly stated [the brothers] have committed a gruesome hate crime, lied under oath, and intentionally misled CPD.”“We want to end these malicious attacks and ensure that those responsible for continuing to destroy the reputation of the Chicago Police Department and Abel and Ola Osundairo are held accountable,” Osundairos’ attorney, Gloria Schmidt, said in a Tuesday press conference announcing the lawsuit. “My city, my police department and my clients deserve to have their reputations restored,” she added. “The Chicagoan brothers told the truth. They could have remained silent, but they told the truth to the police, and with their right hands in the air, they told the truth to the grand jury.”The Geragos & Geragos Law Firm called the lawsuit a “comical legal document” in a statement to The Daily Beast Tuesday.“At first we thought this comical legal document was a parody. Instead this so-called lawsuit by the brothers is more of their lawyer driven nonsense, and a desperate attempt for them to stay relevant and further profit from an attack they admit they perpetrated,” the statement said. “While we know this ridiculous lawsuit will soon be dismissed because it lacks any legal footing, we look forward to exposing the fraud the Osundairo brothers and their attorneys have committed on the public.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereNews CBC
At least two 2020 U.S. Democratic presidential candidates are explicitly calling for it. A third candidate says it shouldn't be taken off the table. And two liberal Democratic lawmakers chairing powerful House committees want it, despite warnings against it from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.Yet, as the impeachment drumbeat builds after U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report that detailed questionable conduct by Donald Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign, the notion also carries great risk for Democrats now grappling with whether the political process could hurt their election odds.Impeachment, which would formally censure the president, is a step that could precede Trump's possible - but unlikely - removal from the Oval Office.In a tweet on Monday, Trump wrote: "There were no crimes by me (No Collusion, No Obstruction), so you can't impeach." Asked later by reporters whether he was concerned about the ramped-up impeachment talk, he responded, "Not even a little bit."The question of whether or not to invoke impeachment proceedings presents a quandary for Democrats: Exercise their constitutional responsibilities of government oversight or risk angering swing voters wary of political overreach?Released last Thursday, Mueller's 448-page redacted report into Russian interference in the 2016 election laid out at least 11 episodes of possible obstruction.Even so, it found insufficient evidence to charge Trump or his campaign aides with criminally conspiring with Moscow to help Trump win, despite a litany of Russian outreach efforts and examples of the Trump campaign welcoming the help. Nor did the report result in charges of obstruction, due in part to the special counsel adhering to a Justice Department policy that says a sitting president can't be indicted.Harris, Warren call for impeachmentBut that doesn't stop Congress from acting on impeachment, the special counsel suggests. Indeed, experts on the political process say Mueller's report makes for a case for lawmakers initiating impeachment proceedings against the U.S. president for obstruction of justice. On page 220 of the report, the Special Counsel's Office writes: "The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the president's corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law."That, as former federal prosecutor Mark Osler saw it, amounts to "a soft invitation to impeachment."The very idea likely raises anxieties among Democratic leaders like Pelosi. Last month, the House Speaker told the Washington Post, "I don't think we should go down that path because it divides the country. He's just not worth it."Some Democrats beg to differ. On Monday night, Sen. Kamala Harris, who is running to be president in 2020, told a CNN Town Hall, "I believe Congress should take the steps towards impeachment." Days earlier, Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted on Friday afternoon that the "severity" of Trump's actions demands that Congress exercise its constitutional duties of oversight."That means the House should initiate the impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States," she tweeted. The same day, 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Julian Castro told CNN he considers it "perfectly reasonable" to call for impeachment proceedings after what Mueller found. And Democratic House members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar are now backing calls for an impeachment inquiry. There appears to be enough damning content in Mueller's treatise to warrant those first steps, said Michael Gerhardt, a scholar on federal impeachment with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He believes the special counsel last week suggested an impeachment process to Congress for Trump-related obstruction, based on nearly a dozen episodes outlined by Mueller, including an attempt to engineer the firing of the special counsel, an attempt to limit Mueller's investigative scope to only future election meddling and the successful firing of former FBI director James Comey."If anything has been strengthened, it's the case to initiate an inquiry or a hearing," Gerhardt said. That process would be a call for additional fact-finding and investigation. Historic precedent already supports obstruction of justice as grounds for impeachment going back to the Nixon administration. With a majority in the House, Democrats have the power to impeach the president. But Trump is likely to remain safe from being convicted in the Republican-controlled Senate, the next step that would actually lead to his removal from office. Unless Democrats have the popular sentiment to back them up on impeachment, the effort itself might look like an undemocratic move to try to eject the president.Those considerations will be weighing on the party in the year before an election, said Ross Garber, a leading Washington, D.C., impeachment lawyer who has represented four U.S. governors in impeachment proceedings.Clinton impeachment serves as warning"It's Congress's responsibility to now evaluate whether that's a direction that it really wants to go in," he said. "The challenging thing is it does potentially have a political boomerang effect in terms of motivating the president's base."Older members of Congress lived through President Bill Clinton's impeachment on perjury and obstruction charges in 1998. Voters reacted against the Republicans, who were seen as overreaching, and Republicans lost big in the next election."After the Clinton impeachment effort, he was actually more popular," Garber said. What's more, ousting Trump would require a two-thirds majority to convict him in the Senate, meaning at least 20 Republicans would have to side with every Democratic senator to convict. That's a slim prospect.Recent polling suggests Americans aren't clamouring for impeachment, with the president maintaining steady favourability numbers around 40 per cent despite the report's release. A Monmouth University poll last week showing most Americans (54 per cent) want Congress to move on after Mueller's report.On the one hand, Garber said, some people might view impeachment of Trump as "a core constitutional responsibility that shouldn't be governed by the polls."Political historian Allan Lichtman, author of The Case for Impeachment, took an unwavering view. "It is absolutely their constitutional duty to have an impeachment inquiry," he said. "It is not their constitutional duty to look into a crystal ball and try to figure what the Senate might or might not do after a trial."Recalling Clinton's impeachment, Democratic House oversight committee chairman Elijah Cummings told MSNBC on Friday what Trump was found to have done was "at least 100 times worse."In a tweet, he said he had been fielding queries about impeachment, "and we may very well come to that very soon."House majority leader Steny Hoyer dismissed impeachment as "not worthwhile." He said Friday that he prefers ousting Trump from the White House in the 2020 election.That would appear to be a safer political route, said Robert Deitz, a former general counsel for the National Security Agency."What concerns me is [Republicans] are going to say Democrats are so fixated on Trump they've lost their minds," he said of the political calculations. "It's a tough call."But Deitz said that Congress has oversight responsibilities, too."And one is likely to conclude that if you don't nip Trump-esque behaviour in the bud, that's going to become the new normal."The election is 19 months away, but it would let voters decide at the ballot box whether the president is fit to serve, said Garber, the impeachment lawyer."Both the impeachment process and elections are ways to define standards," he said. "Those are both referenda on the president's conduct, and the extent to which it's acceptable, both to members of Congress and the American people."
The New York Times reported on Saturday that the newspaper's investigation of a Boeing plant "reveals a culture that often valued production speed over quality." CNBC's "Squawk Box" discusses the report.