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May 17, 2017
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Before he was fired after just 24 days on the job, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn rejected a military plan seven months in the making to retake Raqqa, Syria, from the Islamic State, a plan that went against the wishes of Turkey — a country whose interests Flynn was being paid $530,000 to represent, McClatchy DC reported Wednesday night.

Flynn was told of the Pentagon's plan to use Syrian Kurdish forces to retake Raqqa by Susan Rice, former President Barack Obama's national security adviser, 10 days before President Trump's election, The Washington Post reported in early February. The U.S. sees the Syrian and Iraqi Kurds as strong military partners, but the Turkish government says they have ties to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which it views as a terrorist organization. A timeline recently passed out to members of Congress said that when Rice asked Trump to sign off on the plan, Flynn said to wait, and Flynn ultimately rejected the campaign, reports McClatchy's Vera Bergengruen. A few days after rejecting the plan, Flynn had a breakfast meeting with the Turkish foreign minister.

Until Flynn registered as a foreign agent in March, soon after he'd been ousted, few people knew that in August, Flynn, then Trump's primary foreign policy adviser, had signed a deal with a firm run by Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin for work that "could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey," as Flynn wrote in his paperwork for the Justice Department's Foreign Agent Registration Unit. His contract ended in November — the same month the Justice Department notified Flynn he was under federal investigation for his undisclosed lobbying, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

On Aug. 9, Flynn signed on to work with Alptekin's firm, and on Aug. 18, he attended Trump's first classified intelligence briefing, McClatchy DC reports. Alptekin said Flynn was not "taking directions from anyone in the government," but Flynn's paperwork showed he met with Turkey's foreign minister and energy minister, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's son-in-law, last September. Trump approved arming the Kurds to attack Raqqa a few weeks after Flynn was fired in February. The White House said in March that Trump did not know Flynn was paid to lobby on Turkey's behalf, but Flynn had notified the transition team on Jan. 4 about his federal investigation, according to the Times report. Read the entire McClatchy DC report here. Catherine Garcia

1:34 p.m. ET
Fox News/Screenshot

At least six people were injured Sunday morning in a shooting at Burnett Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee, local officials say. An NBC News report says one person was killed.

Police were called around 11:15 a.m. with reports of multiple shots fired. The church's Sunday morning service began at 10 a.m.

The shooting victims have been transported to a nearby hospital, and Fox News reports one person has been taken into police custody. The identity and motives of the shooter are so far unknown.

This is a breaking story that will be updated as more details become available. Bonnie Kristian

12:48 p.m. ET
Eric Risberg/The Associated Press

Oakland A's catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first MLB player to join NFL players like Colin Kaepernick by kneeling in protest during the national anthem. Maxwell took a knee before his team's Saturday evening game against the Texas Rangers.

"My decision has been coming for a long time," he explained after the game. "I finally got to the point where I thought the inequality of man is being discussed, and it's being practiced from our president."

"The point of my kneeling is not to disrespect our military; it's not to disrespect our Constitution; it's not to disrespect this country," Maxwell continued. "My hand over my heart symbolizes the fact that I am and I'll forever be an American citizen, and I'm more than grateful to be here. But my kneeling is what is getting the attention because I'm kneeling for the people that don't have a voice."

Maxwell acted in response to President Trump's weekend attacks on Kaepernick and and other athletes who kneel during the anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice. "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now?'" Trump asked a rally crowd Friday. Since Trump's initial comments, pro athletes, coaches, and owners have united in opposition to his remarks. Bonnie Kristian

12:27 p.m. ET

Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens players in London for a game Sunday locked arms and took a knee during the U.S. national anthem in solidarity with athletes like Colin Kaepernick who have come under attack by President Trump this weekend. The teams' coaches and Jaguars owner Shahid Khan joined the gesture of defiance of Trump's critique of Kaepernick's stand against police brutality and racial injustice in America.

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti also issued a statement endorsing the athletes' right to protest on the field. "We respect [our players'] demonstration and support them 100 percent," he said. "All voices need to be heard. That's democracy in its highest form."

Meanwhile, Mike Tomlin, coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, announced Sunday that his team would not "participate in the anthem" in the afternoon game against the Chicago Bears. The Steelers have decided to stay in the locker room during the anthem, Tomlin said, so players aren't "forced to choose sides."

Rex Ryan, former coach of the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets, expressed dismay at Trump's comments while speaking on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown. "I supported Donald Trump," Ryan said. "But I'm reading these comments and it's appalling to me, and I'm sure it's appalling to almost any citizen in our country. It should be."

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who donated to Trump's inaugural festivities, said he was "deeply disappointed" in the president's statements. Bonnie Kristian

11:28 a.m. ET

During an appearance on ABC's This Week Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin addressed President Trump's weekend attacks on pro athletes like Colin Kaepernick who kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice.

Mnuchin argued free speech is not at issue because the NFL is a private organization which can set its own rules, eluding the question of how criticism from Trump, a government official, affects that equation. "This isn't about Democrats. It's not about Republicans. It's not about race; it's not about free speech. They can do free speech on their own time," Mnuchin said. "This is about respect for the military and first responders and the country."

The treasury secretary maintained Trump simply wants the NFL to require all athletes to stand during the national anthem, a specification Trump did not make when he tweeted that kneeling protests "should not be allowed."

"The NFL has all different types of rules. You can't have stickers on your helmet; you have to have your jersey tucked in," Mnuchin said. "I think what the president is saying is that the owners should have a rule that players should have to stand in respect for the national anthem." Bonnie Kristian

10:29 a.m. ET

Germans head to the polls Sunday in a vote anticipated to give Chancellor Angela Merkel her fourth term in office. Her center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is predicted to take about 34 percent of Bundestag seats with which it will form a coalition government with Merkel again at the head.

"There are a lot of problems in other countries, think Donald Trump or Brexit," one Berlin voter told NBC News. "With Merkel there is a sense that there is no great problem that she couldn't overcome, and that she's a politician you can trust."

The growth of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party — which campaigned on a populist, anti-immigration message and could well become the Bundestag's third-largest party out of six represented — has raised alarm among many Germans concerned about extremism. Turnout is expected to be high. Bonnie Kristian

10:21 a.m. ET
Hector Retamal/Getty Images

The National Weather Service of San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Friday reported an "extremely dangerous situation" due to a potential dam failure threatening a region with 70,000 residents already grappling with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Maria. But the damaged dam continued to hold as of Sunday morning, and evacuees began to return to their homes.

While the dam on Lake Guajataca remains compromised and a flash flood warning is in effect through Sunday afternoon, this is welcome respite for Puerto Ricans facing "apocalyptic" post-hurricane conditions. Aid is beginning to arrive to the island territory, where most Puerto Ricans remain without power and 95 percent of cell phone service sites are down.

Currently a Category 2 storm, Maria is expected to dissipate over the Atlantic Ocean later this week. Bonnie Kristian

8:13 a.m. ET

President Trump again referred to Kim Jong Un as "Little Rocket Man" in a tweet Saturday night, the third iteration of the president's favorite new insult in his war of words with the North Korean leader:

On Thursday and Friday, Kim and Trump labeled each other a "mentally deranged U.S. dotard" and "madman," respectively. Trump previously used "Rocket Man" during his United Nations speech Tuesday and at an Alabama campaign rally Friday.

The Saturday tweet came several hours after a group of U.S. bombers and fighter escorts flew well north of the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, staying over international waters but making a clear show of force toward Pyongyang. The Pentagon characterized the flight as a demonstration "that the president has many military options to defeat any threat."

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said Saturday Trump's insults make a North Korean strike on the U.S. mainland "more inevitable," calling Trump "President Evil." Bonnie Kristian

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