U.S. News

Two more Weinstein accusers go public with sex assault claims

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — A former actress accused Harvey Weinstein Friday of unzipping his pants and forcing himself on her, as a separate alleged victim publicly repeated rape allegations she had made in a newspaper interview.

Heather Kerr, who appeared on 1980s US sitcom “The Facts of Life,” claims Weinstein attacked her during a private meeting when she was an aspiring actress in her 20s.

“He asked me if I was good. I started to tell him about my training and my acting experience and he said, ‘No. I need to know if you’re good,’” Kerr, who is now 56 and lives in Washington state, said at a news conference.

“He said that if he was going to introduce me around town to directors and producers, he needed to know if I was any good. He kept repeating that word.”

Kerr described 65-year-old Weinstein’s “sly, sleazy smile” as she offered to provide a reel of her acting work, recalling how she started to get a sick feeling in her stomach.

“The next thing I knew, he unzipped his fly and pulled out his penis,” she said, adding that Weinstein forced her hand onto his genitals.

“I was frozen with fear, trying to remain calm, trying not to freak out, because, after all, there was nobody else in the office,” she said during an emotional statement, consoled by her attorney Gloria Allred as she broke down.

‘Greatest regret’

Kerr described how she pulled her hand away “as casually as possible,” but said Weinstein told her that “this is how things work in Hollywood,” and that all actresses who’d made it did it this way.

The veteran producer, who resigned from the board of The Weinstein Company this week, having already been sacked as its co-chairman, has so far denied all allegations of forcing himself on his accusers.

An Italian model and actress who says Weinstein raped her after dragging her into the bathroom of her hotel suite in Beverly Hills in 2013 also spoke out about the attack Friday, through her lawyer Dave Ring.

The incident occurred at the Mr. C Beverly Hills hotel after she attended the 8th annual Los Angeles, Italia Film, Fashion and Art Fest in February 2013, according to the attorney.

“He bullied his way into her room. She has told me that obviously her greatest regret is opening that door. She had no idea what was coming,” Ring told a news conference in downtown LA.

The actress, who is exercising her right to anonymity, first spoke of the

attack to the LA Times on Thursday, saying Weinstein had turned up at her hotel “without warning.”

“Once inside, he asked me questions about myself, but soon became very aggressive and demanding and kept asking to see me naked,” the Times quoted her as saying.

“He grabbed me by the hair and forced me to do something I did not want to do. He then dragged me to the bathroom and forcibly raped me.”

‘Extremely scared’

Ring told reporters the incident “had a humongous, huge impact” on the mother-of-three, who is now 38.

“In a sense, she’s relieved to have come forward now, to be able to share what happened with the LAPD, but she’s also extremely scared, and rightfully so. She’s a mom. She has young children.”

He didn’t elaborate on the details given in the newspaper interview, however, saying he did not want to jeopardize the investigation.

Los Angeles police have confirmed they are looking into the case — the sixth rape allegation against Weinstein — adding to criminal investigations already underway in New York and London.

The latest case deepens the producer’s potential legal woes as it falls within the 10-year statute of limitations for the crime, while previous accusations have dated back to a decade or more ago.

Weinstein has become a Hollywood pariah since allegations about his sexual misconduct first emerged last week and he was kicked out of Hollywood’s motion picture academy.

The Television Academy’s governors voted late Thursday to begin “disciplinary proceedings” that could see Weinstein ousted from that organization as well, leaving him with no voting rights for either the Oscars or the Emmys, while the Producer’s Guild is considering following suit.

Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, who has worked closely with Weinstein for most of his career, admitted in an interview published Thursday he had known for decades about some of Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct.


Bannon brings message of Republican revolt to California

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former White House adviser Steve Bannon wants to oust Republican senators he feels are disloyal to US President Donald Trump. But in California on Friday, he’s in a state that Trump lost by over 4 million votes and where Republicans have become largely irrelevant in state politics.

There wasn’t even a Republican on the ballot in last November’s US Senate runoff — it was two Democrats. And in Orange County, where Bannon is speaking, several Republican House members are trying to hold onto their seats in districts carried by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential contest.

Bannon is delivering a keynote speech at a state Republican convention at a hotel in Anaheim, just days after leveling a blistering attack on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republicans at an Arizona fundraiser.

A small group of protesters gathered outside the hotel, chanting and waving signs — one displaying a Nazi swastika. The protesters were kept behind steel barricades on a plaza across an entrance road at the hotel, largely out of view of people entering for the event. No arrests were reported.

Bannon has called for an “open revolt” against establishment Republicans, and is promoting a field of primary challengers to take on incumbent Republicans in Congress. But in California, the GOP has been fading for years.

The state has become a kind of Republican mausoleum: GOP supporters can relive the glory days by visiting the stately presidential libraries of Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, but today Democrats control every statewide office and rule both chambers of the Legislature by commanding margins.

With the GOP relegated to the bleachers in Sacramento, Bannon’s message is likely to receive a warm response from the conservative activists who tend to dominate at the GOP conclave.

“Steve Bannon is a natural fit for a party that is hungry for a revolution, and the party in California is definitely hungry for a revolution,” former Orange County Republican leader Scott Baugh said.

Not all Republicans are glad to see Bannon. In a series of tweets last week, former state Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes said he was shocked by the decision to have the conservative firebrand headline the event.

“It’s a huge step backward and demonstrates that the party remains tone deaf,” Mayes tweeted.

California Republicans have bickered for years over what direction to turn — toward the political center or to the right.

Most of the state’s governors in the 20th century were Republicans, and state voters helped elevate a string of GOP presidential candidates to the White House. But the party’s fortunes started to erode in the late 1990s after a series of measures targeting immigrants, which alienated growing segments of the state’s population.

In 2007, then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger warned party members that the GOP was “dying at the box office” and needed to move to the political center and embrace issues like climate change to appeal to a broader range of voters. In 2011, a state Republican Party committee blocked an attempt by moderates to push the state GOP platform toward the center on immigration, abortion, guns and gay rights.

The decline continued. Republicans are now a minor party in many California congressional districts, outnumbered by Democrats and independents. Statewide, Democrats count 3.7 million more voters than the GOP.

Congressman Darrell Issa is among four Republican House members whose districts fall partly or completely within Orange County, once a Republican stronghold in Southern California but increasingly Democratic. All four are seen as targets as Democrats seek to regain a House majority.

Republicans retain about a 4-point registration edge in the county, but nearly 1-in-4 voters is aligned with no party, and those independents tend to vote like Democrats.

Political scientist Jack Pitney, who teaches at Claremont McKenna College, said he doubted the speech would color the 2018 congressional contests, which remain far off for most voters.

More broadly, he said Bannon’s politics would hurt the GOP, including among affluent, well-educated voters who play an important part in county elections.

“Inviting him was a moral and political blunder,” Pitney said in an email.

3 arrested after shooting at Florida white nationalist speech (White Idiots)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A man who fired a shot at anti-Nazi protesters following a speech at the University of Florida by a white nationalist has been charged with attempted murder, police in Gainesville said Friday. Two men who allegedly urged him to shoot face the same charge.

A Gainesville Police Department report released on Friday said that Tyler Tenbrink, 28; William Fears, 30; and his brother, 28-year-old Colton Fears, all from Texas, were arrested on attempted homicide charges following an appearance on campus by white nationalist Richard Spencer.

Hours before the shooting, all three men had spoken with the media in support of Spencer’s speech and white nationalism.

The three were in a vehicle Thursday immediately after Spencer’s speech and began making Nazi salutes and shouting Hitler chants at a group of people holding anti-Nazi signs near a bus stop, Gainesville Police Officer Ben Tobias said.

One person in the group of about six people struck the back window of the men’s vehicle with a baton, police said.

Tenbrink, a convicted felon, showed a handgun after exiting the car while the Fears brothers encouraged him to shoot, police said.

“Colton Fears and William Fears were also yelling, ‘Kill them’ and ‘Shoot them,’” the police report stated.

Tenbrink fired a single shot, police said, missing the group and striking a nearby building. He is also being charged as a felon in possession of a firearm, police said.

The men fled the scene and headed north on Highway 75, police said.

Just before 9 p.m. an off-duty Alachua County Sheriff’s deputy who had worked the Spencer event earlier saw the men’s vehicle. A group of officers called in stopped the vehicle and took the men into custody.

Tenbrink admitted that he was the shooter, according to the police report.

Police say two of the three have connections to “extremist groups.”

Leader of American-Israeli group tweets anti-Semitic image of Soros



WASHINGTON (JTA) — The chairman of the board of the Israeli American Council tweeted and then deleted an anti-Semitic image of George Soros as a multi-tentacled monster.

“Yesterday, the origins of an old anti-Semitic cartoon that has some similarity to the image I used, was brought to my attention and I removed the Soros tweet,” Adam Milstein said in an email to JTA. “I’ll try to be more careful in the future.”

On Thursday, pro-Palestinian activists had pointed out the use of the picture — a head shot of Soros atop a multi-tentacled creature strangling the globe. It referred to the recent decision by Soros, a Jewish hedge fund billionaire, to donate much of his fortune to Open Society, the institution he founded several decades ago to promote democracy.

Soros, who in recent years has backed groups critical of Israeli government policy, has become a bugbear for the pro-Israel right. In his deleted tweet, Milstein said the $18 billion that Soros’ gift would be “used for civil unrest, dividing Americans and suppressing free speech.” An attached link, to a Wall Street Journal story on the Soros gift, did not provide examples to back up Milstein’s allegations.

Anti-Semites also regularly attack Soros, who they see as part of a Jewish conspiracy to manipulate foreign markets and governments. The image Milstein shared has been appearing on dozens of anti-Semitic and pro-Russian websites since at least 2015.

The image of Jews as tentacled creatures controlling the globe is a classic anti-Semitic trope, and has appeared in Nazi literature and in the postwar era in cartoons published in the then-Soviet Union and the Arab world.

Milstein told JTA he was focused on the IAC conference taking place next month in Washington, DC.

“I didn’t personally select that image,” he said of the tweet. Milstein regularly writes about anti-Semitism on the right and the left.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair last month removed a similar cartoon of Soros following complaints that it was anti-Semitic.

In a follow-up tweet, Milstein thanked two of the anti-Israel activists who highlighted his original tweet.

“My Thanks to 2 fierce anti-Israel activists who advised me an image I used is similar to this old #Antisemitic cartoon,” said Milstein, tagging Max Blumenthal and Ali Abunimah. “I deleted my tweet.”

Draft GOP bill (White Freemasons) seeks more constraints on Iran’s nuke program

WASHINGTON (AP) — US sanctions against Iran automatically would kick in if Tehran violates new constraints, according to a draft Republican bill sought by President Donald Trump as he tries to unravel the landmark 2015 international accord to prevent Iran from assembling an arsenal of atomic weapons.

The draft bill, crafted by GOP Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Tom Cotton of Arkansas with input from the Trump administration, wouldn’t necessarily violate the Iran nuclear deal if passed into law. But the measure, obtained by The Associated Press, could still end up derailing the agreement by holding Iran to a series of requirements not previously agreed to when the deal was forged by the US and other world powers two years ago.

Among the expanded criteria Iran would be punished for breaching, according to the legislation: flight testing, manufacture or deployment of warhead-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles, including any attempts to convert space-launched vehicles into ICBMs; and “any work to clandestinely acquire nuclear material, or equipment intended to produce nuclear material, from outside of Iran.”

The legislation aims to meet Trump’s demands that Congress act quickly to toughen the existing law that governs US participation in the Iran nuclear deal. Trump also is insisting that other countries party to the accord repair a series of deficiencies and he threatened last week to pull the US out of the agreement if the changes aren’t made.

Trump alone cannot actually terminate the accord, which lifted sanctions that had choked Iran’s economy in exchange for Tehran rolling back its nuclear program. But withdrawing the US would render the deal virtually meaningless.

Trump, along with many Republicans, has long been hostile to the nuclear agreement that was agreed to during former President Barack Obama’s second term and endorsed by the UN Security Council. France, Germany and the United Kingdom are parties to the accord. But Trump late last week refused to certify that Iran is complying with the accord and blamed Tehran for malign and destructive behavior that’s destabilized the Middle East.

Critics of unilaterally legislating new terms outside of the so-called “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” have argued such an approach may isolate the US and force key European allies to side with Iran in defense of the deal.

While the bill has yet to circulate among many lawmakers, Senate Democrats said they are opposed to any measures that may rewrite or nullify the criteria for Iran to receive US sanctions relief under the terms of the 2015 pact. Republicans hold a narrow majority in the Senate and Democrats may be able to use the filibuster to block the measure from being brought to a vote.

“I think there always is the potential to work on policy that cracks down on Iran’s nefarious behavior in the region,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. “But my impression is there’s not a lot of Democratic support, if any, to rewrite terms of the deal.”

The draft proposal reflects the deep misgivings among many Republicans over what they consider to be fatal flaws in the nuclear deal. Chief among them are key restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program that will begin to expire in year 10 of the accord, heightening concerns Iran may be able to build an atomic bomb even before the end of the pact.

The measure, which has not yet been introduced in Congress, spells out in technical detail how the United States would freeze at one year Iran’s “breakout timeline” for being able to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. The draft bill would effectively make permanent provisions in the nuclear deal with Iran that relate to uranium enrichment and stockpiles and the operation of specific centrifuges.

Iran also would be in violation of the seven-nation nuclear accord if it failed to give the International Atomic Energy Agency “sufficient access to any site, including military sites,” requested by the UN watchdog, according to the legislation.

Despite Trump’s objections, the IAEA has said Iran’s is honoring its commitments and US military leaders echo that assessment, saying the deal is in the nation’s national security interest.

European Union foreign ministers backed the Iran nuclear agreement in a statement earlier this week, saying the accord is working and is a key part of non-proliferation efforts.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said Trump’s refusal to certify Iran’s compliance is raising unnecessary risks at a time when tensions over North Korea’s nuclear arsenal haven’t subsided.

“By stepping back from a diplomatic deal that the US made with the global community that is clearly working, the president is publicly undercutting diplomatic negotiations and he’s setting us on a road where military options become increasingly more likely,” Kaine said.

To remedy the so-called “sunset” provisions and ensure Iran never gets within a year of obtaining atomic weapons, the legislation effectively disposes of them altogether. For example, Tehran would be indefinitely barred from operating more than 5,060 uranium-producing centrifuges — the number it is now restricted to using under the agreement.

Iran also would be prohibited until further notice from producing uranium enriched above 3.67 percent and couldn’t stockpile any more than 300 kilograms of the materials. Uranium enriched at that level is sufficient for civilian power plant use but too low for nuclear weapons.

The bill requires a semi-annual report on Iran’s compliance. The reporting would be expanded significantly to include additional examples of objectionable Iranian behavior that could be used to further build the case Tehran is not complying with the deal. Congress would be told, for example, if Iran’s “violations of internationally recognized human rights” have increased or decreased, and any military use by Iran of commercial aircraft, parts or services licensed by the United States.

Poll: Two thirds of Americans favor keeping Iran nuke deal

A large majority of Americans do not believe the United States should pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal meant to limit Iran’s nuclear program, according to a CNN poll published Friday.

The survey — whose publication comes after US President Donald Trump announced earlier this month he would not recertify the nuclear accord and would be open to scrapping it if Congress does not sufficiently address the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile activity and support for subversive actors in the region — revealed major partisan disagreement on whether the US should remain committed to the agreement.

While 67 percent of Americans overall said the US should not withdraw from the nuclear deal, with 27% in favor of leaving the accord, 80% percent of Democrats said the US should remain in the agreement, with only 13% supporting abandoning the deal.

Among Republicans, meanwhile, opinion was evenly split on whether the US should stay in the nuclear pact, with 48% of Republicans saying the US should remain in the agreement and 47% saying the US should leave.

“As you may know, the United States and five other countries entered an agreement with Iran aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons,” said the question posed to 1,010 respondents by SSRS, a research company. “Do you think the US should or should not withdraw from that agreement?” The margin of error was 3.5 percentage points.

The feelings of Independents on whether the US should stay in the deal mirrored that of the general population, with 67% saying the US should remain in the agreement and 27% saying it should leave.

While 69% said Iran poses a serious threat to the US, only three out of every 10 respondents said the Islamic Republic is a “very serious” threat to America, which was down from 49% in September 2015, shortly after the deal was reached.

Republicans and Democrats were also split on their feelings toward the threat level Iran constitutes towards the US, with 45% of Republicans saying Iran is a very serious threat, as opposed to only 26% of Democrats.

While Republican lawmakers have largely expressed support for Trump’s stance towards the nuclear deal and are working on legislation to further limit Iran’s nuclear program, namely by cracking down on its ballistic missile development, Democratic politicians have by and large spoken out in favor of keeping the deal reached under former Democratic president Barack Obama, including many who criticized the accord after it was finalized.

Iran has strongly spoke out against the US president’s decision, with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei saying on Wednesday his country would continue to adhere to the accord and calling Trump’s criticism of the deal “rants and whoppers.”With the notable exception of Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed support for Trump’s decision and called for altering the deal or abandoning it, American allies in Europe have voiced their continued support for the agreement.

The attitudes in the poll represent a marked shift from public skepticism of the deal when Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, presented it to the public two years ago. Support in those days scored as low as in the 20s.

SSRS over eight years has asked respondents to rate four countries — Iran, Russia, Cuba and North Korea — as threats to the United States. The perception of Iran as a threat has diminished in recent years: The high of 49 percent who viewed the country as a “very serious” threat was in September 2015, when the Obama administration was rolling out the deal.

The most serious threat perceived in the current poll is North Korea, which 62 percent of respondents rated a “very serious” threat. The Trump administration and the North Korean government have exchanged threats of a nuclear attack in recent months.

Marc Faber Resigns After Saying ‘Thank God White People Populated America’

By Chris Menahan

Famed Swiss investor Marc Faber was booted off the board of Sprott on Tuesday for saying America is better off because it was settled by whites and not blacks.

“The recent comments by Dr. Faber are deeply disappointing and are completely contradictory with the views of Sprott and its employees,” said Peter Grosskopf, CEO of Sprott. “We pride ourselves on being a diverse organization and comments of this sort will not be tolerated. We are committed to providing an inclusive workplace for all of our employees and we extend the same respect to our clients and investors.”

From The Daily Caller:

Faber made a series of racially charged remarks in his 15-page newsletter The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report for October. Faber defended Confederate statues, arguing against taking them down because the men they honored were only trying to defend slavery. Faber also said that it was good that white people, instead of black people, settled in America.

“And thank God white people populated America and not the blacks. Otherwise, the US would look like Zimbabwe, which it might look like one day anyway, but at least America enjoyed 200 years in the economic and political sun under a white majority. I am not a racist, but the reality — no matter how politically incorrect — needs to be spelled out as well. (And let’s not forget that the African tribal heads were more than happy to sell their own slaves to white, black and Arab slave dealers.),” Faber wrote in the newsletter.

Faber defended his comments, saying that he was only stating facts on the matter. “If stating some historical facts makes me a racist, then I suppose that I am a racist. For years, Japanese were condemned because they denied the Nanking massacre,” Faber said.

Faber is also being banned from television, as Business Insider reports:

“We do not intend to book him in the future,” a CNBC representative told Business Insider on Tuesday.

“Faber does not appear on the network often and will not be on in the future,” a representative for Fox Business Network said.

A person familiar with the situation at Bloomberg TV gave a similar statement, noting that the network had not booked Faber since June 2016. “He hasn’t appeared on Bloomberg TV since last summer, and there are no plans to book Mr. Faber,” the person said.

In an email to Business Insider, Faber said the networks’ decision wasn’t consequential to him. “Not sure this is a huge loss,” Faber said.

Paul Krugman reacted to the news with glee, saying Faber came out as a “pro-slavery (!) white supremacist.”

But maybe something deeper. Consider Marc Faber, who warned incessantly about hyperinflation back in 2009-10 http://www.businessinsider.com/marc-faber-hyperinflation-2010-9  4/

And now comes out as a pro-slavery (!) white supremacist http://www.businessinsider.com/marc-faber-investment-letter-white-people-blacks-confederate-statues-2017-10  5/

Photo published for Marc Faber, author of influential 'Gloom, Doom, and Boom,' report, says 'thank God white people...

Marc Faber, author of influential ‘Gloom, Doom, and Boom,’ report, says ‘thank God white people…

“Otherwise, the US would look like Zimbabwe… but at least America enjoyed 200 years in the economic and political sun under a white majority,” Faber wrote…


Krugman did not explain how pointing out the fact African tribal leaders sold slaves to Americans and others makes one “pro-slavery.”

This article originally appeared on Information Liberation.

Neil Gorsuch (White Freemason) Is Reportedly Alienating His Colleagues in the Supreme Court Left and Right

Long after his presidency is over and Trump has finally shuffled off this mortal coil, Neil Gorsuch will likely still be sitting on the Supreme Court, much to the delight of American conservatives. Gorsuch’s fellow Supreme Court justices do not appear to share their glee. Multiple reports indicate that almost from the moment he was confirmed, the dyed-in-the-wool constructionist has rubbed members of the court the wrong way—and not just the liberals on the bench.

Last month, Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker cataloged all of the judicial norms and practices the Trump appointee has violated during his brief tenure. He has dominated oral arguments where new associates are expected to defer to their seniors, penned condescending dissents challenging the wisdom of a court whose justices claim more than 140 years of experience between them, and barely concealed his contempt for Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, a landmark decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

Gorsuch has also broken SCOTUS’ unwritten rule that no justice embarrass the high court with any kind of overt political advocacy. In less than a year of service, he has delivered speeches at the conservative Fund for American Studies (at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, no less), as well as at the University of Louisville, where he was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (McConnell was instrumental in blocking the appointment of Merrick Garland, whom Gorsuch ultimately supplanted.)

“There is nothing unlawful about Gorsuch’s speeches, though it’s hard to say just what the ethical rules are for Supreme Court Justices,” Toobin writes. “They are exempt from the code that governs the conduct of other federal judges, so the Court has traditionally relied on informal self-policing.”

John Roberts, who was appointed by George W. Bush in 2005, has reportedly taken exception with Antonin Scalia’s successor. According to CNN, a “rivalry” has emerged between the two conservatives, with the chief justice refusing to join Gorsuch’s dissent in a case overturning an Arkansas law that prohibited same-sex partners from being listed on a child’s birth certificate. (Roberts previously dissented in Obergefell.) And while he’s been fairly consistent throughout his judicial career, the piece notes, “Roberts may be more open to negotiating with liberals if Gorsuch continues to bolster the hard right.”

Gorsuch’s relationships with Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan appear markedly more contentious. During oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford, a case that could determine the future of partisan gerrymandering in U.S. congressional districts, Ginsburg appeared to bristle at the associate justice’s originalist line of questioning, asking him curtly, “Where did one person/one vote come from?”—a reference to Chief Justice Earl Warren’s ruling in 1964’s Reynolds v. Sims.

Earlier this week, NPR’s Nina Totenberg, who has covered the court for decades, told the Supreme Court podcast First Mondays that Kagan has “really taken him on” in conference. “It’s [been] a pretty tough battle,” she said, “and it’s going to get tougher.”

“Why is Totenberg’s reporting here so extraordinary?” asks Mark Joseph Stern of Slate. “Because it’s astonishing that any reporter would hear details from conference, let alone score some genuinely juicy scuttlebutt…If rumors leak about a justice’s behavior in conference—and they basically never do—it is almost certainly a justice who leaked them. And when justices leak—which again, happens very rarely—they do so on purpose.”

Gorsuch is an illegitimate justice occupying a stolen Supreme Court seat. If he leaves behind a legacy of corporate plunder and institutional rot, he will have honored the man who nominated him.

H/T Slate

Jacob Sugarman is a managing editor at AlterNet.

Trump Advisers Are Said to Lean Toward Taylor or Powell (White Freemasons) for Fed

President Donald Trump’s closest advisers are steering him toward choosing either Stanford economist John Taylor or Federal Reserve Board Governor Jerome Powell to be the next Fed chief, according to several people familiar with the process.

Trump has not yet made up his mind, the people said, though he has publicly promised to announce a decision before his Nov. 3 departure for Asia. Besides Taylor and Powell, his shortlist of five candidates also includes the current Fed Chair Janet Yellen, former Fed governor Kevin Warsh and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.

On Thursday, Trump conducted his final interview with the Fed chair contenders, sitting down with Yellen at the White House for half an hour. Yellen, whose term as central bank chief ends on Feb. 3, came across as polished during their meeting.

A portrait of deliberations on the next Fed chairman emerged from seven people familiar with the process who shared information on condition of anonymity. The president’s own preferences aren’t yet clear.

John Taylor

Photographer: Sam Hodgson/Bloomberg

An announcement from Trump is unlikely to come this week, according to two White House officials. He hasn’t yet had time to step back and assess all the information about each candidate, one person familiar with the process said.

Interviews With Pence

Vice President Mike Pence and his aides and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are lining up behind appointing either Taylor or Powell, according to two people familiar with the process.

Jerome Powell

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

All the candidates performed well in their meetings with the president over the past several weeks, according to two people. Cohn never officially interviewed with Trump because the president already knows his top economic adviser quite well and doesn’t think it is necessary, they said.

The interview with Yellen was attended by Mnuchin, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, White House Personnel Director Johnny DeStefano and special assistant to the president Andrew Olmem.

Pence wasn’t present for Yellen’s interview, though he did sit in on Taylor’s session with the president. He also met separately with Powell and Warsh at Trump’s request, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Yellen fared well during her interview with Trump and is respected by the president and other administration officials including Mnuchin. Even so, she has no constituency among Trump advisers in favor of her reappointment, and she also faces questions from some Republicans in Congress about her stewardship of the Fed.

Congressional Republicans

On Thursday, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo said Yellen had been too slow to raise rates, though he declined to weigh in on whether she should get another term as chair. The nomination would require confirmation by the Senate.

Representative Warren Davidson, an Ohio Republican and member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, is circulating a letter for colleagues on the House Financial Services Committee to sign against Yellen’s re-appointment.

Warsh and Powell were interviewed at the White House last month. Some conservatives have concerns about Powell, a member of the Fed board of governors who was appointed by former President Barack Obama.

Warsh, meanwhile, lacks support from Mnuchin, according to two other people familiar with the process, though they would not say why. His tenure on the Fed board has been criticized by a diverse group of economists ranging from Scott Sumner to Nobel laureate Paul Krugman.

Taylor impressed Trump after an hour-long meeting at the White House last week, several people familiar with the matter said.

Trump has always been partial to hiring people with whom he has a good relationship. However, Trump told the Wall Street Journal in July that he would “like to see rates stay low,” and Taylor is the namesake of a well-known monetary policy rule that would generally call for higher interest rates.

Alabama executes man who killed police officer

ATMORE, Ala. — The Latest on the execution of an Alabama inmate (all times local):

9:45 p.m.

An Alabama inmate who challenged the state’s execution drug method has been put to death for killing police officer in 1997.

Torrey Twane McNabb was pronounced dead at 9:38 p.m. Thursday.

McNabb used his last statement to tell his mother and sister that he was unafraid and he cursed at the state, saying “I hate you.”

As the procedure began, he raised his middle fingers before becoming still.

McNabb was convicted of killing Montgomery police officer Anderson Gordon, shooting him five times as he sat in his patrol car after arriving at a traffic accident McNabb caused while fleeing a bail bondsman.


8:30 p.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court says Alabama can execute a man convicted of killing a police officer two decades ago.

Justices on Thursday evening denied a request for a stay from 40-year-old Torrey Twane McNabb. The court had delayed the execution for more than two hours to consider the request.

McNabb is scheduled to be executed Thursday evening.

His attorney’s unsuccessfully sought to halt the execution since McNabb is one of several inmates in an ongoing lawsuit challenging the humaneness of the state’s lethal injection procedure.

McNabb was convicted of killing Montgomery police officer Anderson Gordon in 1997. Prosecutors say McNabb shot Gordon five times as the officer sat in his patrol car after responding to a traffic accident McNabb caused while fleeing a bail bondsmen.


6:10 p.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily delayed an Alabama execution in order to consider the inmate’s request to halt the lethal injection.

Justices on Thursday issued a temporary stay that blocked the execution of 40-year-old Torrey Twane McNabb.

The reprieve came down minutes before McNabb was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 6 p.m. CDT. The justices could decide later tonight whether to let the execution proceed.

McNabb is one of several inmates in an ongoing lawsuit challenging the humaneness of the state’s lethal injection procedure.

McNabb was convicted of killing Montgomery police officer Anderson Gordon in 1997. Prosecutors say McNabb shot Gordon five times as the officer sat in his patrol car after responding to a traffic accident McNabb caused while fleeing a bail bondsmen.


5:55 p.m.

An attorney is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the execution of an Alabama inmate who killed a police officer 20 years ago.

The last-minute appeal was filed Thursday evening shortly after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the request.

Torrey Twane McNabb is scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. CDT. A federal judge has not yet ruled on a separate request to stop the execution.

McNabb’s attorney is seeking to stop the execution since McNabb is part of a pending lawsuit challenging the humanness of the state’s lethal injection procedure.

McNabb was convicted in the 1997 shooting death of Montgomery police Officer Anderson Gordon.


5:30 p.m.

An appellate court has refused to halt the execution of an Alabama inmate.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday denied a request for a stay filed by Torrey Twane McNabb.

McNabb is scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. CDT. A federal judge has not yet ruled on a separate request to stop the execution.

McNabb’s attorney is seeking to stop the execution since McNabb is part of a pending lawsuit challenging the humanness of the state’s lethal injection procedure.

McNabb was convicted in the 1997 shooting death of Montgomery police Officer Anderson Gordon.


5 p.m.

Attorneys for an Alabama inmate have filed new motions seeking to halt his execution scheduled for Thursday evening.

An attorney for Torrey Twane McNabb said Thursday that renewed motions for a stay were filed with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Circuit and the federal court in Montgomery, Ala.

The flurry of last-minute filings came after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a stay issued by a federal judge. McNabb is scheduled to be executed Thursday evening unless a court intervenes.

McNabb was convicted in the 1997 shooting death of Montgomery police Officer Anderson Gordon. Prosecutors say McNabb shot Gordon multiple times after he arrived at a traffic accident that McNabb caused while fleeing a bail bondsmen.


4:25 p.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court says Alabama can execute an inmate convicted of killing a police officer, overruling an appellate court in a case exploring whether the state’s drug protocol amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

Justices on Thursday evening vacated a stay issued by a lower court judge that been blocking the execution of 40-year-old Torrey Twane McNabb.

McNabb is scheduled to be executed Thursday at 6 p.m. CDT. Two justices said they would keep the execution on hold.

McNabb was convicted in the 1997 shooting death of Montgomery police Officer Anderson Gordon. Prosecutors say McNabb shot Gordon multiple times after he arrived at a traffic accident that McNabb caused while fleeing a bail bondsmen.


3:14 a.m.

Alabama is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to let it execute an inmate convicted of killing a police officer two decades ago.

The attorney general’s office plans to ask justices to lift a stay blocking Thursday’s scheduled execution of 40-year-old Torrey Twane McNabb.

McNabb was convicted in the 1997 shooting death of Montgomery police Officer Anderson Gordon. Prosecutors say McNabb shot Gordon multiple times after he arrived at a traffic accident that McNabb caused while fleeing a bail bondsmen.

A federal judge stayed the execution after an appellate court ordered more proceedings in an inmate lawsuit claiming the state uses an unreliable sedative at the start of lethal injections.

The attorney general’s office argues the high court has allowed four executions with the drug.