In a statement released Tuesday, WikiLeaks announced that it is offering a crowd-sourced $100,000 reward for the "missing chapters" of President Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal.
A video posted to WikiLeaks' YouTube channel features top Democrats speaking out against the trade deal. According to its opponents, the deal would offer incentives for big businesses, while harming American workers.
"The transparency clock has run out on the TPP. No more secrecy. No more excuses," WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in a statement. "Let's open the TPP once and for all."
WikiLeaks has already published three draft chapters of the TPP about intellectual property rights, the environment, and investment, Politico notes. WikiLeaks hopes users who want to see the TPP's remaining chapters will contribute funding for the $100,000 reward. Meghan DeMaria
Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.), President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, slammed the UN for its "bias" against "our close ally" Israel during her Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, and vowed to take a stand against those biases if confirmed. "I will never abstain when the UN takes any action that comes in direct conflict with U.S. interests and values," Haley said. Last month, the U.S. abstained when the UN voted against Israeli settlements being built on Palestinian land, drawing criticism from President-elect Donald Trump and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
Haley said Wednesday the American people are "fed up" with the UN's "mistreatment of Israel," and promised to take it upon herself to "reform the UN." Becca Stanek
Fox News host Tucker Carlson began his interview Tuesday night with an unusual demand: "Tell me what your real name is." While the man Carlson was talking to claimed to be Dom Tullipso, director of operations for a business called Demand Protest, Carlson said a "law enforcement-level background check" revealed that name "does not exist" — and Carlson wasn't convinced Tullipso's business did either. "So, this is a sham," Carlson said of the business, which claims to organize "paid protest." "Your company isn't real, your website is fake, the claims you have made are lies, this is a hoax."
The man never exactly admitted that the whole business is, in fact, a hoax, but he does give a pretty good display of what Carlson dubs "performance art." At one point, Tullipso (if that's really his name) claims his support for "national treasures such as Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and Peyton Manning." Yes, football-playing, Super Bowl-winning Peyton Manning.
Watch the utterly indescribable interview below. Becca Stanek
Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) recently returned from a "fact finding" trip to Syria, and her spokeswoman will not definitively confirm if Gabbard did or did not meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Foreign Policy reports.
Gabbard is an outspoken dissenter from President Barack Obama on the matter of Syria, opposing U.S. efforts for a regime change by stating that the region will become more unstable and dangerous if Assad is removed from power. Gabbard "felt it was important to meet with a number of individuals and groups including religious leaders, humanitarian workers, refugees, and government and community leaders," said her spokeswoman, Emily Latimer. When asked directly if Gabbard met Assad, Latimer declined to comment "citing security and logistical concerns."
Foreign Policy notes that Gabbard's trip is "exceedingly rare" for a representative. Gabbard is a veteran of the Iraq War and has found receptive audiences in the incoming administration, including earning a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss Syria and the fight against al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Jeva Lange
Tweeting isn't something President-elect Donald Trump likes to do, it's simply something he has to do — or so he says. "Look, I don't like tweeting. I have other things I could be doing," Trump said during an interview on Fox & Friends that aired Wednesday morning. "But I get very dishonest media, very dishonest press. And it's my only way that I can counteract."
And counteract he has. Trump has racked up more than 34,000 tweets since he joined Twitter in March 2009, and he's taken up calling out news outlets, people he dislikes, and businesses considering offshoring jobs. Just this morning, for example, Trump slammed the Today show for being "biased" and having "little credibility."
But Trump claimed this would all come to an end if the media just treated him better. "Now if the press were honest — which it's not — I would absolutely not use Twitter," he said. "I wouldn't have to."
For now though, he indicated, he has no choice but to continue tweeting to his more than 20 million followers, collecting thousands and thousands of "likes" along the way. Becca Stanek
Ignorance can surely, at times, be bliss. Donald Trump appears "unusually subdued" these days, Axios co-founders Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei noted during their interview with the president-elect, and it might just be that the weight of the office is suddenly coming clear.
"A top adviser told us the sober tone reflects a bumpy few days inside Trump Tower — and the realization that he's days away from truly running the nation," Allen and VandeHei write. Trump admitted as much himself:
Trump seemed, dare we say, humbled by recent intelligence briefings on global threats. Dick Cheney's friends used to tell us he was a decidedly darker, changed man once he started reading the daily intel reports after 9/11. Trump seemed moved by what he's now seeing.
"I've had a lot of briefings that are very … I don't want to say 'scary,' because I'll solve the problems," he said. "But … we have some big enemies out there in this country and we have some very big enemies — very big and, in some cases, strong enemies."
He offered a reminder many critics hope he never forgets: "You also realize that you've got to get it right because a mistake would be very, very costly in so many different ways." [Axios]
But lest you begin to miss the "old Trump," don't worry, he's not that much more subdued: As of Wednesday morning, he was still his usual self, taking furious shots at the media on Twitter. Jeva Lange
Over half the population of the world still does not use the internet, a report by the United Nations' International Telecommunication Union has found. Fifty-three percent of the global population is "offline," with four-fifths of that population living in Asia-Pacific and Africa:
— ITU (@ITU) January 17, 2017
"The reasons for being offline or for limited internet use are manifold: Many do not have access because they live in remote or difficult to reach areas and do not have access to digital or other basic infrastructure such as electricity or transport," the authors found. "Some do not see the benefits of being connected, often because of limited awareness, cultural impediments, or limited relevant digital content. Still others are illiterate, and many are too poor to afford even the most basic of internet packages and devices. Existing inequalities in terms of income and education, particularly prominent among women, and other factors exacerbate the problem."
President-elect Donald Trump is now just hours away from being in a position to make America great again. But when pressed on how "greatness" can be "measured and sensed" by The Washington Post, Trump responded with a new vision for America: more military parades.
"Being a great president has to do with a lot of things, but one of them is being a great cheerleader for the country," Trump said. "And we're going to show the people as we build up our military, we're going to display our military.
"That military may come marching down Pennsylvania Avenue. That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we're going to be showing our military," he added. [The Washington Post]
Critics reeled at the announcement. "Not reassuring to see an incoming leader [with] authoritarian tendencies talking about military parades in major cities," tweeted Dartmouth political science professor Brendan Nyhan.
Trump admitted the parades would not be enough. "Being a cheerleader or a salesman for the country is very important, but you still have to produce the results," he said. Jeva Lange