FBI investigators are looking closely at meetings between presidential adviser/son-in-law Jared Kushner and Russian officials as part of their ongoing investigation into Russia’s role in influencing the 2016 elections, NBC News reported Thursday.
The Washington Post also reported on Thursday that Kushner’s meetings in December 2016 with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. and the president of a Russian state-owned bank have become a focus of their probe.
Both NBC and the Post report that Kushner is considered to be in a different category than former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, both of whom are actively considered subjects of investigation.
Both outlets were careful to state that Kushner has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but the Post noted that Kushner “is the only current White House official known to be considered a key person in the probe.”
Kushner offered in March to share information about those meetings with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
As the rain poured down in New York City, right-wing firebrands Milo Yiannopoulos and Pamela Geller led a demonstration against Linda Sarsour’s invitation to speak at a CUNY commencement ceremony in a rally that featured anti-Islam rhetoric and drew fierce counter-protest.
“Linda Sarsour supports this ideology that oppresses women, subjugates women, gender apartheid, honor killings,” said Geller, as she stood on a platform near Times Square. “Islamophobia is a word created by fascists, used by cowards, to manipulate morons.”
“Linda Sarsour is a Sharia-embracing, terrorist-embracing, Jew-hating ticking time-bomb of progressive horror,” said Yiannopoulos, the ex-Breitbart editor who resigned after past remarks about pedophilia caused a scandal.
As the speakers denounced Sarsour, counter-protesters shouted slogans of “no fascism” and “no KKK.” Geller dismissed them as “lily white snowflakes.” Geller also led her backers in the singing of “Am Yisrael Chai,” an anthem affirming Israeli identity.
Sarsour, a Muslim civil rights activist who organized the January Women’s March, will deliver a commencement address next week to graduates of the city university’s public health school.
Her past statements defending Saudi Arabia’s women rights records and Islamic regulations known as Sharia law led to controversy surrounding her appearance at the graduation event.
C. Christine Fair, the Georgetown University professor who caused her local gym to revoke the membership of “alt-right” leader Richard Spencer, took to the op-ed pages of the Washington Post to defend her move.
“Spencer sought to garner sympathy by arguing that … he should be allowed to spread hate and stoke racist, misogynist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and other bigoted forms of violence,” she wrote in a Thursday piece, “all without facing consequences for his actions when off the job, so to speak.”
Fair charged that Spencer’s promotion of white nationalism means he has forgone any right to have a private life.
“Spencer wants us to believe that when he is not publicly exclaiming the superiority of the white, Christian male and asserting that this country belongs to such men, he should be allowed to mingle in polite, ethnically diverse society,” she wrote. “Spencer is wrong.”
Fair wrote her own account of the gym incident on her blog; Spencer countered with his own YouTube address to followers. Fair has faced a barrage of hate mail, some of it falsely identifying her as a Jew. While Fair is not Jewish, she did consider conversion as an adult and has not bothered to correct her anti-Semitic critics online.
(JTA) — The mother of American yeshiva student Ezra Schwartz, who was shot to death by a Palestinian assailant in the West Bank, told a United Nations forum that his murderer should not be rewarded.
Ruth Schwartz said Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority pays a monthly stipend to Mohammed Abed Odeh Harub, who was sentenced by an Israeli court to four life sentences for the November 2015 attack.
Ezra Schwartz, 18, from Sharon, Massachusetts, was on a gap year studying at a yeshiva in Israel. He was killed when Harub opened fire near Alon Shvut in the Etzion bloc on a minivan full of students and teachers who were volunteering to clear a nearby park.
“Ezra’s murder broke our family; we will never be the same without him,” Ruth Schwartz told the special U.N. forum on the glorification of terrorism, Ynet reported. The forum was organized by Israel’s mission to the United Nations and the Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs.
She said the payments, which add up to thousands of dollars a month, have to stop.
“My son’s killer and his family should not be compensated for murdering innocent people. It is just another way to glorify and encourage terrorism. It’s offensive and wrong,” she said.
More advertisers are pulling their commercials from Fox News host Sean Hannity’s program amid calls to boycott him over his promotion of conspiracy theories about the death of a Democratic National Committee staffer.
Seven advertisers have pulled out of “Hannity,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, including Cars.com, Casper mattresses, and Hotels.com. The boycott campaign was launched by liberal-leaning group MediaMatters after Hannity propagated unfounded stories about the unsolved killing of Seth Rich.
Hannity last week seized on a quickly-discredited report –- later retracted by Fox itself –- that Rich was in contact with WikiLeaks before his murder last summer. He and other right-wing pundits speculated that Rich might have been assassinated to protect the interests of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.
Washington, D.C. police have found no evidence to support this theory and believe that Rich was likely killed in a botched robbery attempt.
Advertiser boycotts can quickly move network policy — Bill O’Reilly, the Fox anchor felled by a wave of sexual harassment allegations, was partly done in after brands refused to air their ads with his program.
Hannity himself is taking a previously-unannounced vacation on Thursday and Friday. Before he went off the air, he promised that he would he would stop discussing the story out of respect for Rich’s family.
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