Residents of Mosul, Iraq, say ISIS militants have blown up the shrine thought to be the burial place of the prophet Jonah, who appeared in both the Bible and the Koran.
The Guardian reports that on Thursday, everyone inside the Mosque of the Prophet Younis, or Jonah, was asked to leave. The mosque, which was renovated by Saddam Hussein in the 1990s and has long been a destination for religious pilgrims, was then blown up, with the militants saying it was being used for apostasy.
Residents who lived close by the mosque said that several houses were also damaged, and they were worried about their safety. The U.S. State Department believes that ISIS is now "worse than al Qaeda," with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk saying on Wednesday the group is "no longer a terrorist organization. It is a full-blown army." Catherine Garcia
Residents of Manchester are opening their homes to people stranded in the city following the explosion Monday night at the Manchester Arena.
Using the hashtag #RoomForManchester, Twitter users are offering their spare bedrooms and couches for people who attended the Ariana Grande concert and are now unable to get home due to the closure of the Manchester Victoria train station and several streets being blocked off. Others are tweeting that anyone affected by the explosion can use their phones to get in contact with loved ones or stop by their homes for free food and drinks. Word is also spreading that taxi drivers in Manchester are giving free rides to people who were at the concert. Catherine Garcia
A representative for Ariana Grande said she is safe following a suspected terror attack at her concert Monday night in Manchester, England, which left at least 19 people dead and 50 injured.
"Ariana is okay," the singer's rep told NBC News. "We are further investigating what happened." Hip hop artist Bia, who also performed at the concert, tweeted, "Guys, we are okay. Thank you, we love you." The explosion at the Manchester Arena took place right after Grande finished her show, witnesses said. Catherine Garcia
At least 19 people were killed and 50 injured Monday night in a suspected terror attack at an arena in Manchester, England, police said.
Singer Ariana Grande had just finished performing at the Manchester Arena when there was "a loud bang," concertgoer Erin McDougle told The Guardian. "The lights were already on, so we knew it wasn't part of the show." British Transport Police said it appears that an explosion hit the building's foyer at around 10:30 p.m., while the Manchester Arena said it happened "outside the venue in a public space."
This is a breaking news story and has been updated throughout. Catherine Garcia
In March, President Trump approached Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, and Daniel Coats, director of national intelligence, and asked them to publicly deny that there was evidence of collusion between his campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election, current and former officials told The Washington Post.
Both men refused to go along with Trump's request, which they found inappropriate, the officials said; one person close to Coats told the Post, "The problem wasn't so much asking them to issue statements, it was asking them to issue false statements about an ongoing investigation." Trump contacted Rogers and Coats separately, the officials said, after former FBI Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 about an investigation into links between Trump associates and the Russian government. Senior White House officials also reportedly went to top intelligence officials to see if they would contact Comey and urge him to drop the FBI's probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, with one person with knowledge of the request saying they asked, "Can we ask him to shut down the investigation? Are you able to assist in this matter?"
A White House spokesperson told the Post it "does not confirm or deny unsubstantiated claims based on illegal leaks from anonymous individuals. The president will continue to focus on his agenda that he was elected to pursue by the American people." Read the entire report at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) isn't a fan of Michael Flynn, President Trump's scandal-plagued former national security adviser, and told reporters Monday that he would never have let him have such a prominent role in the administration.
"I think it's safe to say that Gen. Flynn and I didn't see eye-to-eye," he said during a press conference in Trenton, New Jersey. "I didn't think that he was someone who would bring benefit to the president or to the administration, and I made that very clear to candidate Trump, and I made it very clear to President-elect Trump." Flynn was fired just a few weeks after the election and 18 days after then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned the White House that Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail due to his communications with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
Flynn was not Christie's "cup of tea," he added, and he never would have let "Gen. Flynn into the White House, let alone give him a job." After dropping out of the Republican race, Christie became a supporter of Trump's, and led the transition team until he was replaced by Vice President Mike Pence following the election. While he was not friendly with Flynn, Christie said the rumors that they battled during intelligence briefings are false. Catherine Garcia
In 1998, Roger Ailes used the titillating scandal of then-President Bill Clinton's affair with a 22-year-old White House intern to build his cable news network, Fox News. Ailes passed away last week, one year after being ousted from Fox News amid sexual harassment allegations. Now, that intern — also known as Monica Lewinsky — has put voice to how it felt watching her life become hysterical cable news fodder.
Writing in The New York Times on Monday, Lewinsky offered an obituary not for Ailes, but for the "culture he purveyed." Ailes' directive to his employees to cover the affair and subsequent trial "ceaselessly" meant that her life became a "nightmare," Lewinsky wrote:
My character, my looks and my life were picked apart mercilessly. Truth and fiction mixed at random in the service of higher ratings. My family and I huddled at home, worried about my going to jail [...] or worse, me taking my own life. Meantime, Mr. Ailes huddled with his employees at Fox News, dictating a lineup of talking heads to best exploit this personal and national tragedy.
For myriad reasons — information gathering, boredom (I couldn't leave my home without being trailed by paparazzi), and a touch of masochism — I watched the news around the clock. On Fox, it seemed, no rumor was too unsubstantiated, no innuendo too vile and no accusation too abhorrent. [Monica Lewinsky, via The New York Times]
Lewinsky is quick to clarify that Fox News was not the only cable network to make ratings out of her personal life, but she points out Fox's almost gleeful coverage of it. "Just days after the story broke," Lewinsky recalls, "Fox asked its viewers to vote on this pressing question: Is Monica Lewinsky an 'average girl' or a 'young tramp looking for thrills'?" She also notes a particular irony in Ailes' career: that "he harnessed a sex scandal to build a cable juggernaut and then was brought down by his own."
"Our world — of cyberbullying and chyrons, trolls and tweets — was forged in 1998," Lewinsky writes, burnished by Ailes' round-the-clock coverage of her dalliance with Clinton. Read her entire op-ed at The New York Times. Kimberly Alters
In a letter released Monday, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) revealed ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn apparently lied to Pentagon investigators about his foreign income and contacts with Russian officials when he was re-applying for his top-secret security clearance last year.
Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said the committee had obtained documents that "appear to indicate" Flynn "lied to investigators" while applying to renew his clearance in February 2016. Flynn claimed income that came from Russian state news site RT in return for his attendance at a Moscow gala actually came from "U.S. companies," Cummings wrote; Flynn received more than $45,000 for attending the event, at which he was seated next to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Flynn also told investigators he had had "insubstantial contact" with foreign government representatives, Cummings wrote.
Cummings sent the letter to House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) after obtaining the Pentagon's own report on Flynn's clearance application, which was compiled in March 2016, and urged Chaffetz to subpoena Flynn. Earlier Monday, Flynn declined to cooperate with a Senate subpoena related to the upper chamber's Russia probe, invoking the Fifth Amendment.