The U.S. State Department released its second-to-last batch of Hillary Clinton emails Friday night, 881 of which concern a controversial political flip-flop on a Colombian trade deal. According to International Business Times, Clinton had opposed the trade deal during her 2008 presidential bid, citing concerns about "the history of violence against trade unionists in Colombia." However, the latest emails show Clinton actually lobbying Democratic members of Congress to support the deal.
"I told [Michigan Congressman Sandy Levin] that at the rate we were going, Columbian [sic] workers were going to end up [with] the same or better rights than workers in Wisconsin and Indiana and, maybe even, Michigan," Clinton wrote in an email to U.S. Trade Representative and former Citigroup representative Michael Froman and her aide and former vice chairman of Goldman Sachs Robert Hormats.
Froman responded by thanking Clinton for her "help and support." Hormats replied that Clinton had done a "terrific job" and "GREAT line on Columbian [sic] workers!!!!!"
Even with Clinton's assurances, there is evidence that violence against workers in Colombia remains a serious problem. "In the four years since the United States and Colombia signed the Labor Action Plan — a precursor to the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement — to address entrenched labor rights violations, Colombian workers have suffered more than 1,933 threats and acts of violence, including 105 assassinations of union activists and 1,337 death threats," a 2015 AFL-CIO report reads. Labor leaders also contacted the State Department at the time Clinton was head, complaining of the abuse of union activists in Colombia, only to be dismissed and see the trade agreement move forward.
Clinton is under review for using a personal email server while serving as secretary of state. Of the 88 classified emails released Friday night, none had been classified at the time they were sent. The State Department will publish the last of the emails on Monday. Jeva Lange
Swedish furniture giant Ikea took the concept of "retail therapy" literally in its new advertising campaign, which renames the company's products with the most popular relationship questions on Google.
A double bed normally called Oppland, for example, is now named "How to have a happy relationship." There's a pair of scissors for those who googled "My son plays too much computer games" — a little cord-cutting, perhaps? — as well as champagne glasses for "When children leave home;" a lantern for "My boyfriend doesn't see me;" and, more ominously, a drill set for "Hard to get teenager out of bed."
The premise, explained the marketing agency behind the campaign, is that Ikea is "designed to solve everyday dilemmas" and — though unlikely to fix your relationship — "might be able to offer you some relief." The product description for each renamed piece cheerily explains it has a new title based on "the relationship problem you just googled. All to make life at home easier for you. Because life evolves every day and everything, yes everything, can get better." Bonnie Kristian
The United States will send an additional 200 troops to Syria, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Saturday while speaking in Manama, Bahrain, bringing the total known number of American soldiers in the war-torn country to 500.
The new forces will head to Raqqa, the Islamic State's de facto capital city, where they will bring "the full weight of U.S. forces around the theater of operations, like the funnel of a giant tornado," Carter said. "By combining our capabilities with those of our local partners, we've been squeezing [ISIS] by applying simultaneous pressure from all sides and across domains, through a series of deliberate actions to continue to build momentum," he continued.
Congress has yet to pass an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) in Syria, a point which has been largely ignored in Washington since a bipartisan push for an AUMF failed last year when American special forces were first sent to Syria. "The Administration's announcement that it will deploy Special Operations Forces into Syria to combat [ISIS] marks a major shift in U.S. policy," said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) at the time, arguing that the Constitution's "War Powers Resolution requires Congress to debate and authorize the escalation of U.S. military involvement in Syria." Bonnie Kristian
President-elect Donald Trump sent out two tweets Saturday morning strongly criticizing any suggestion — specifically from CNN — that his ongoing role as executive producer of The New Celebrity Apprentice will in any way detract from his presidency.
I have NOTHING to do with The Apprentice except for fact that I conceived it with Mark B & have a big stake in it. Will devote ZERO TIME!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2016
Reports by @CNN that I will be working on The Apprentice during my Presidency, even part time, are ridiculous & untrue - FAKE NEWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2016
As executive producer, Trump will be paid for each episode by MGM, the company of series creator Mark Burnett, and not by NBC, which airs the show. Top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway defended Trump's decision to remain a producer on Friday by comparing the role to President Obama's golf hobby. Bonnie Kristian
On Friday, prosecutors played in court an FBI video of the confession of Dylann Roof, the self-described white supremacist who is on trial for murdering nine people at Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June of last year.
"I went to that church in Charleston and I did it," Roof says in the tape, laughing as he confesses. "Did you shoot them?" an officer asks. "Yes," Roof answers, laughing again. He said his motive was "to agitate race relations" and that though he "had to do it" he does not feel "glad" about his actions.
The clip sees Roof estimate he killed five people, and he says he did not speak to the victims before opening fire, though he sat through about 15 minutes of a prayer meeting internally debating whether to go through with his plan. "I was sitting there thinking if I should do it or not," he recalls. "I could have walked out. I don't want to say it was spur of the moment." Bonnie Kristian
A cargo train derailed and exploded in Hitrino, Bulgaria, early Saturday morning after train tanks carrying propane-butane and propylene hit an electricity line. So far, five people have died and 25 more are injured, with some suffering burns on up to 90 percent of their bodies. The death toll is expected to rise.
— Balkan Newsbeat (@BalkanNewsbeat) December 10, 2016
The accident also damaged or demolished about 20 buildings near the crash, and 150 firemen are working to find survivors at the scene. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov promptly traveled to the northeastern village and encouraged Bulgarians to give blood to help the victims. Bonnie Kristian
The Senate approved a short-term measure to fund the federal government until April 28 with a Friday evening vote that avoided a shutdown deadline by less than an hour. The bill passed 63-36 after Senate Democrats from coal-heavy states dropped an objection pertaining to health care for retired miners.
President Obama signed the funding measure early Saturday morning, completing the Senate's major business for 2016. Also early on Saturday, the Senate passed a water bill providing $170 million in aid to Flint, Michigan, which has suffered seriously contaminated tap water for nearly two years.
The close of this year's legislative season marks the end of Sen. Mitch McConnell's first term as Senate majority leader, which McConnell (R-Ky.) referenced before the funding vote. "This Congress, the Senate has passed nearly 300 bills, and nearly 200 of those are now law," he said. "But what really matters isn't the number of bills passed. It's what we can achieve on behalf of the American people. And by that standard, I'm incredibly proud of what we've been able to accomplish for our country." Bonnie Kristian
The Trump transition team forcibly repudiated reports late Friday evening that the CIA has concluded with "high confidence" Russia interfered with the U.S. election to help President-elect Donald Trump win.
"These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction," the Trump camp said in an unsigned statement slamming the CIA. "The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It's now time to move on and 'Make America Great Again.'"
Trump himself likewise rejected suggestions of Russian manipulation earlier this week in his "Person of the Year" interview with Time. "I don't believe it. I don't believe they interfered," he said, postulating that intelligence agents who say otherwise are politically motivated. Bonnie Kristian