×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
July 12, 2017

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Wednesday pressed FBI director nominee Christopher Wray during his Senate confirmation hearing about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting in June 2016 with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer. After reading Trump Jr.'s emails from publicist Rob Goldstone offering up compromising information on Hillary Clinton that was "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," Graham asked Wray whether the FBI should be alerted of such offers. The Trump campaign did not notify the FBI.

Wray dodged giving a direct yes-or-no answer, instead saying he thought it "would be wise to let the FBI know." Graham wasn't having it. "You're going to be the director of the FBI, pal, so here's what I want you to tell every politician: If you get a call from somebody suggesting that a foreign government wants to help you by disparaging your opponent, tell us all to call the FBI," Graham said.

Wray reiterated that such exchanges were "the kind of thing the FBI would want to know." "Alright, so I'll take that we should call you and that's a great answer," Graham responded.

Watch it below. Becca Stanek

10:25 p.m. ET

Taoufik Moalla has never tried to fool himself into thinking he's a fantastic singer, but the Montreal man never thought his spirited rendition of C+C Music Factory's 1990 hit "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" would net him a $149 fine.

He was driving to the store on Sept. 27 when the classic '90s jam came on, and he started to sing along. Moalla told CTV he heard a police siren behind him and thought the car wanted to go by, but instead the officer announced over the loudspeaker he needed to pull over. Moalla did as he was told, and four police officers approached his car and checked out the inside. "They asked me if I screamed," he said. "I said, 'No, I was just singing.'"

In Montreal, a person who causes "disorder by screaming" violates "peace and tranquility," CTV reports, and they can be fined up to $1,000. Moalla was written up for screaming in public, and handed a $149 ticket. "I don't know if my voice was very bad and that's why I got the ticket, but I was very shocked," he said. Moalla didn't think he was being that loud, "just if you are happy and you like this song," but he wasn't mad at the officers, because "they were just doing their job." He has contested the ticket, and is waiting now for a court date. In the meantime, Moalla has received zero sympathy from his wife: "She told me, if it was for singing, I'd have given you a ticket for $300." Catherine Garcia

9:04 p.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

This week, Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal lawyer, will meet behind closed doors with the House and Senate intelligence panels as part of their investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, several people familiar with the matter told CNN Monday.

On Tuesday, Cohen will meet privately with members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and on Wednesday, he will speak with Senate Intelligence committee staff investigators, CNN reports. Cohen had originally been slated to have a private interview with the Senate Intelligence committee last month, but it was canceled after he gave his opening statement to the media, saying he never colluded with the Russians to get Trump elected or to "hack anyone or any organization." He is expected to still participate in a public hearing sometime in the future.

Cohen was named in the infamous dossier on Trump compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, which said he traveled to Prague to meet with Russians; Cohen denied the meeting ever took place. Catherine Garcia

8:22 p.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A new Military Times poll finds that nearly one in four U.S. service members say they have witnessed examples of white nationalism in the ranks, and they view this as a greater national security threat than Syria and Iraq.

The poll, released Monday, was conducted a month after white supremacists held a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. When it comes to national security, 30 percent of respondents said white nationalists pose a significant threat, more than Syria (27 percent), Pakistan (25 percent), Afghanistan (22 percent), and Iraq (17 percent).

Close to five percent commented that they thought the Black Lives Matter movement should have been among the options for threats to national security, and some were bothered that the poll even mentioned white supremacists. "White nationalism is not a terrorist organization," one Navy commander wrote while an Air Force staff sergeant asked, "You do realize white nationalists and racists are two totally different types of people?"

This voluntary survey was conducted online between Sept. 7 and 25, with 1,131 active-duty service members responding and a margin of error of about three percent. Of the respondents, 86 percent were male, 14 percent were female, 76 percent identified as white, nine percent as black, eight percent as Hispanic, two percent as Asian, and five percent as other ethnicities. Catherine Garcia

7:27 p.m. ET
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

After more than 140 legislators, staffers, political consultants, and lobbyists signed an open letter saying there is a "pervasive" culture of sexual harassment and mistreatment in the California state Capitol, California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León announced Monday he has hired two outside firms to investigate the allegations.

The law office of Amy Oppenheimer will conduct an external investigation into the accusations, while the consulting firm CPS HR Consulting will review the Senate's policies on harassment and discrimination, the Los Angeles Times reports. "There's always more employers can do to protect their employees," de León said in a statement. "Everyone deserves a workplace free of fear, harassment, and sexual misbehavior and I applaud the courage of women working in and around the Capitol who are coming forward and making their voices heard."

It's not enough for some of the women who signed the letter. "To find the truth and rebuild trust, we need a truly independent investigation, not a secretly hand-picked self-investigation," Adama Iwu, government affairs director for Visa and the leader of the campaign, told the Times. "We need full transparency. How was this firm selected? Who will they report their findings to? What exactly are they investigating? Is the Assembly involved?" The signers are launching a nonprofit called We Said Enough, which will advocate for victims of harassment and abuse. Catherine Garcia

6:40 p.m. ET
Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

With government troops closing in, Islamic State militants entered the Syrian town of Qaryatayn in late September, knowing exactly who they wanted to kill, one former resident said Monday.

Syrian forces, who drove the militants out of the city over the weekend, said over the last three weeks ISIS killed more than 70 civilians, shooting and beheading them and throwing their bodies into ditches. The former resident told The Associated Press of the 50 militants who took control of the town last month, 35 were originally from Qaryatayn, and they came "with a hit list," targeting victims they claimed collaborated with the government.

A senior Syrian official called the massacre "shocking," and said it would take time to identify all of the dead. The former resident told AP one of his relatives had to walk for miles to find cell phone reception, and called him to say his uncle, two cousins, and another family member had been killed. Catherine Garcia

4:56 p.m. ET

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressed the media Monday regarding the deadly ambush on Army soldiers in Niger. Four U.S. service members were killed in the Oct. 4 attack, when Dunford said American forces were ambushed by nearly 50 local militants who were likely affiliated with the Islamic State. Five Nigerien soldiers also died in the battle.

Critics noted information about America's presence in Niger had been scarce, prompting Dunford to acknowledge that "we owe you more information." He confirmed that there are roughly 800 U.S. soldiers stationed in Niger — the highest contingent in a single African country — who are working "as part of an international effort, led by 4,000 French troops, to defeat terrorists in West Africa." The U.S. military has maintained a presence in Niger "off and on" for nearly 20 years, Dunford added.

Among those killed was Army Sgt. La David Johnson, and President Trump's condolence call to Johnson's widow has been a source of controversy over the last week. Watch a portion of Dunford's press conference below. Kimberly Alters

3:11 p.m. ET

The Tennessean's sports columnist, Joe Rexrode, was one of 139 passengers aboard Delta flight 1474 when it lost one of its engines en route to Cleveland from Atlanta on Sunday. In a gripping account of the episode, Rexrode recalls being paralyzed by what to write to his wife and kids in the face of what he believed was certain death (the plane ultimately made an emergency landing in Knoxville, Tennessee).

"[T]he engine on the right side of the plane blew, creating a loud, awful screeching noise and a worse, burning smell in the cabin," Rexrode writes. "The plane wobbled and dipped, not like a typical instance of turbulence. The flight attendants looked as stunned as everyone else — my eyes went directly to them after the jolt — and quickly wheeled the drink cart back to the front of the plane and gathered near the cockpit. They started looking through an emergency manual. I'm no expert, but I'm thinking that's not a great sign."

Rexrode goes on:

It felt like the plane was going down, and below us were mountains. And then it got worse. Another loud, awful noise, followed by silence and the feeling that we had no more engine propulsion in the air. It's the most quiet I've ever heard a plane. At that moment, I thought the other engine was gone. The only sound among 139 people was a couple of them whimpering and a couple of young children babbling.

That's the first time in my life I've been certain I was going to die. [The Tennessean]

Read Rexrode's full account — including what he morbidly decided would have been the subject line in a last email to his wife — at The Tennessean. Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads