July 8, 2019

Four-star Adm. William Moran unexpectedly announced his retirement Sunday, two months after the Senate confirmed him as the U.S. Navy's top uniformed officer and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff starting Aug. 1. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said in a statement that "Moran recently brought to my attention that over the past two years he maintained a professional relationship with an individual who was held accountable and counseled for failing to meet the values and standards of the Naval profession," and "that relationship has caused me to call his judgment into question."

Spencer did not identify the individual, but other officials said Moran had sought public affairs counsel from retired Cmdr. Chris Servello, removed as top spokesman for current Navy Chief of Operations Adm. John Richardson in 2017 after making unwanted sexual advances on female junior officers while dressed as Santa at a 2016 Christmas party. He was allowed to retire last May. "It's hard not to feel disappointment and disbelief," Servello told The Associated Press. "This is terrible news for the Navy, and beyond that, I don't have anything to add."

After a Pentagon inspector general found last October that Richardson had been too slow in removing Servello, Spencer had said he was "completely confident" in Richardson's abilities and found he had done an "outstanding job."

Richardson will now stay on as the Navy's top admiral past his scheduled retirement Sept. 1, until Spencer submits a new candidate for President Trump's approval and nomination. Moran's sudden resignation comes amid churn at the Pentagon, which hasn't had a Senate-confirmed defense secretary since December, AP notes. Acting Secretary Pat Shanahan withdrew from consideration in June, and Trump hasn't formally nominated current acting Secretary Mark Esper, the former Army secretary. There is also no confirmed deputy defense secretary, and other top military positions are about to turn over. Peter Weber

11:15 a.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo apparently isn't ready for the story about his post-interview encounter with NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly to go away.

Kelly, who asked Pompeo on Friday's episode of Morning Edition about Iran and the ousting of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, said the secretary was angered by her line of questioning and "shouted" at her in a private room following the interview. Kelly also said Pompeo challenged her to point out Ukraine on an unmarked map, which she did.

Pompeo didn't deny that the exchange occurred in an official statement released Saturday, but he accused Kelly of lying about the meeting being off the record. Kelly said no request to keep the discussion off the record was made, adding that she wouldn't have agreed to do it anyway. The secretary said Kelly violated the "basic rules of journalism and decency," providing "another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump."

He finished the letter with what appears to be a shot at Kelly's geography skills, though several people pointed out that it's unlikely Kelly would have gotten Ukraine's location wrong, especially as wildly as Pompeo insinuated. Tim O'Donnell

10:59 a.m.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) isn't a fan of the whole impeachment saga, but he's not taking it personally.

Many GOP lawmakers were angered by a comment made by lead impeachment prosecutor Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) during his closing arguments Friday. "CBS News reported last night that a Trump confidant said that key senators were warned, 'Vote against the president and your head will be on a pike.' I don't know if that's true," Schiff said.

But Graham wasn't among the affronted. He said the comment was "over the top," but he's been in Schiff's shoes, so he understand that things can get away from you every once in a while in a tense environment.

Overall, Graham was complimentary of the Democrats arguments, even if the chance that they swayed his opinion is negligible. Tim O'Donnell

10:32 a.m.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have evidence pointing to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' girlfriend Lauren Sanchez as the person who provided her brother, Michael Sanchez, with text messages that he later sold to The National Enquirer for its article about Bezos' extramarital affair with Sanchez, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. There are no reports, however, that Lauren Sanchez was aware of her brother's plans.

The sources said the prosecutors' evidence includes text messages Sanchez sent her brother containing flirtatious messages and photos from Bezos in 2018.

The revelation comes on the heels of speculation that Saudi Arabia may have played a role in the leak, which was enhanced by reports that Bezos' phone was hacked after a WhatsApp conversation with an account belonging to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. The Verge notes that it still seems likely that Michael Sanchez was the primary source behind the Enquirer's story, but it's still possible that Saudi Arabia hacked Bezos' phone for separate reasons. Saudi Arabia denied the allegations. Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Tim O'Donnell

10:14 a.m.

As experts tell people to not to panic about the unfamiliar coronavirus, several governments are taking steps to limit its spread.

A second case of the respiratory virus that originated in Wuhan, China, leaving more than 40 people dead and causing quarantines and transit closures throughout China, has been confirmed in the United States. Officials said Friday that a Chicago woman in her 60s has been diagnosed with the virus, and they're monitoring 63 other possible cases across 22 U.S. states. The Chicago patient, who last week returned home from Wuhan, is reportedly isolated in the hospital, and officials say she's doing well and has had limited contact with others.

The U.S. is reportedly planning to evacuate its citizens and diplomats from Wuhan on Sunday via a chartered plane — any additional seats may be offered to non-U.S. citizens. Elsewhere, Hong Kong, where there's five confirmed cases, on Saturday declared the outbreak "an emergency," scrapping Lunar New Year celebrations, restricting links to the mainland, and keeping schools closed. Australia, Malaysia, and France also reported cases Friday.

More than 1,300 have been infected across the globe, mostly in China. Read more at The Wall Street Journal and Reuters. Tim O'Donnell

8:10 a.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose known for being wary of the press, apparently did not enjoy his latest interview.

Pompeo reportedly berated NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly on Friday after she interviewed him about the ousting of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. During Friday's interview, which aired on NPR's Morning Edition, Pompeo said he has "defended every State Department official on his team," but did not provide Kelly with a specific example of him defending Yovanovitch. Pompeo complained that he was there to talk about Iran, but Kelly assured him she confirmed with his team that she would ask him about Ukraine, as well.

Following the interview, Kelly said she was summoned by a Pompeo aide to a private room where Pompeo "shouted" at her, asking if she thought "Americans care about Ukraine" and challenging her to point to the country on an unmarked map, which the well-traveled, veteran reporter was able to do.

Journalists like CNN's Jake Tapper defended Kelly's line questioning, while Democratic politicians blasted Pompeo's behavior. The State Department didn't have much to say on the matter, though.

At the end of their encounter, Kelly said Pompeo told her "people will hear about this." They sure did - straight from Kelly. Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

January 24, 2020

At least 14 people are dead and hundreds more injured after a magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit eastern Turkey on Friday, Turkish officials tell The Associated Press.

The quake hit at 8:55 p.m. in the Elazig province, where Gov. Cetin Oktay Kaldirim told NTV television that three people had died. Gov. Aydin Barus of the the neighboring Malatya province told state TV that five people had been reported dead there. At least 225 people were injured in Elazig and 90 in Malatya, the Daily Sabah reported.

Several aftershocks followed the initial quake, with the harshest ones hitting magnitudes of 5.4 and 5.1. Some buildings collapsed in Elazig and one caught fire in the town of Sivrice, but it was quickly doused. A four- or five-story building had also collapsed in the town of Maden, and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told NTV television earlier Friday that rescuers were on the scene.

Some people's homes were too damaged to return to, and others were afraid to go back inside in case of later shocks or collapses, so they were "being moved to student dormitories or sports center amid freezing conditions," AP writes. Kathryn Krawczyk

January 24, 2020

After Annabella Sciorra testified that disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein raped her in the early 1990s, Rosie Perez took the stand Friday to back her up.

Perez testified in the ongoing Weinstein rape trial after Sciorra told jurors Thursday that in 1993 or 1994, Weinstein raped her in her New York apartment. Bolstering Sciorra's claim, Perez said Friday that in 1993, Sciorra told her, "I think I was raped," The New York Times reports.

Although Perez testified that Sciorra initially did not name the alleged perpetrator, she said Sciorra later told her it was Weinstein.

"She swore me never to tell anybody," Perez said. "I told her to go to the police, and she said: 'I can't. He will destroy me. He will destroy my career."

Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 80 women, is facing charges of sexual assault and rape. He has pleaded not guilty and denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex acts. Prosecutors allege Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on a woman in 2006 and raped a woman in 2013, but Sciorra testified as a "prior bad acts" witness as prosecutors attempt to establish a pattern of behavior. If convicted, Weinstein faces possible life in prison. Brendan Morrow

See More Speed Reads