‘I Can’t Breathe’ Were Khashoggi’s Final Words – Report

Khashoggi Killers 'Will Be Prosecuted In Saudi Arabia' - Govt
Jamal Khashoggi

Jamal Khashoggi’s final words were “I can’t breathe,” CNN said on Sunday, citing a source who has read the transcript of an audio tape of the final moments before the journalist’s murder.

The source told the US network the transcript made clear the killing was premeditated and suggests several phone calls were made to give briefings on the progress.

CNN said Turkish officials believe those calls were made to top officials in Riyadh.

Khashoggi, a Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, was killed shortly after entering the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

The transcript of the gruesome recording includes descriptions of Khashoggi struggling against his murderers, CNN said, and references sounds of the dissident journalist’s body “being dismembered by a saw.”

The original transcript was prepared by Turkish intelligence services, and CNN said its source read a translation version and was briefed on the probe into the journalist’s death.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Sunday meanwhile rejected demands to extradite suspects connected to the murder of Khashoggi as sought by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan has repeatedly called on Saudi Arabia to hand over suspects in the killing. According to Turkey, a 15-member Saudi team was sent to Istanbul to kill Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia, however, holds that it was a “rogue” operation gone wrong — a claim undercut by the reported transcript.

For his part US President Donald Trump has refrained from blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, even though the CIA report concluded that he ordered the assassination.

The murder has damaged Riyadh’s international reputation and Western countries including the United States, France, and Canada have placed sanctions on nearly 20 Saudi nationals.

AFP

CNN Offices Evacuated After Bomb Threat

 

The roughly 90-minute drama recalled a similar evacuation in October after an explosive device was discovered at CNN’s New York headquarters.

Fire alarm bells rang inside the newsroom to signal an evacuation shortly after 10:30 pm, CNN said on its website, as the network went to pre-taped programming.

An hour later the network was broadcasting from Skype.

“People just tuning in wondering why you’re seeing me on Skype, why there are such technical difficulties, it’s because we have been taken off the air because a bomb threat was called into CNN,” said host Don Lemon.

“We were evacuated and we know as much as you do.”

“Due to a police investigation at Columbus Circle, West 58th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue is closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic,” the New York Police Department tweeted, referring to the address of the news organization’s offices. “Please avoid this area. Update to follow.”

Around midnight, CNN said police had given the all clear for people to go back into the building.

The bureau was previously evacuated in October after a package with an explosive device was discovered.

CNN was targeted amid a wave of pipe bombs sent to opponents of President Donald Trump.

A Florida man named Cesar Sayoc was arrested for allegedly sending them and was indicted on 30 federal counts. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

AFP

CNN Says White House Preparing To Eject Reporter Again

File photo of CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta before the start of a briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC. PHOTO: MANDEL NGAN / AFP

CNN said on Monday it asked for a new emergency hearing to allow its reporter Jim Acosta to remain at the White House, saying officials are threatening to again revoke his press pass.

The statement from the cable news channel came just three days after a federal judge ordered the WhiteHouse to allow Acosta’s return citing a lack of “due process” — without ruling on CNN’s argument that the ejection violated constitutional free press guarantees.

CNN said it received a letter Friday, hours after the judge’s ruling, indicating the White House planned to revoke Acosta’s press pass again after the 14-day temporary restraining order expires.

“The White House is continuing to violate the First and Fifth Amendments of the constitution,” the network said in a statement Sunday.

“These actions threaten all journalists and news organizations. Jim Acosta and CNN will continue to report the news about the White House and the president.”

The White House letter, seeking to address the question of due process, said Acosta “violated basic standards” of news events when he got into a heated exchange with President Donald Trump on November 7.

“You asked a question and the president answered it,” the letter said.

“You then shouted a second question at the president on a new topic, which the president answered at the same time he asked you to yield the floor to a new questioner. At that point, you continued shouting at the president and refused to physically surrender the microphone.”

CNN attorney Theodore Boutros said in a court motion he was asking Judge Timothy Kelly for a new emergency hearing the week of November 26.

On Friday, Trump said that “rules and regulations” were being drafted to govern news conferences, where the president or his representatives often accuse journalists — Acosta in particular — of being overly hostile.

On November 7, the day he was stripped of his pass, Acosta had riled Trump by refusing to give up the microphone at a news conference when he considered that Trump was evading his question.

Trump responded by branding Acosta a “rude, terrible person.”

AFP

White House Promises To ‘Temporarily’ Reinstate CNN Reporter’s Pass

White House Promises To 'Temporarily' Reinstate CNN Reporter's Pass
CNN attorney Ted Boutrous, with CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta (L), speaks outside US District Court in Washington, DC, on November 16, 2018. MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

The White House agreed Friday to allow CNN reporter Jim Acosta back in after a judge ruled that the star journalist was improperly banned following a testy exchange at a press conference with President Donald Trump. 

Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said, “in response to the court, we will temporarily reinstate the reporter’s hard pass.”

But she left open the possibility of seeking to remove Acosta’s access later and said new rules would be imposed “to ensure fair and orderly press conferences.”

Trump said that “rules and regulations” were being drafted to govern such gatherings, where the president or his representatives often accuse journalists — Acosta in particular — of being overly hostile.

“We have to practice decorum. We want total freedom of the press,” Trump told reporters.

In fact, Trump himself frequently speaks harshly to reporters, for example, last week telling another CNN correspondent several times that her question was “stupid.”

He also routinely describes journalists he does not approve of, and the media in general, as “enemies of the people.”

– Free speech rights –

Acosta often aggressively questions the White House on its attitude toward journalists and has been criticized even by some in the media for becoming part of the story he is meant to be covering.

On November 7, the day he was stripped of his pass, Acosta had riled Trump by refusing to give up the microphone at a news conference when he considered that Trump was evading his question.

Trump responded by branding Acosta a “rude, terrible person.”

CNN cast the controversy as a question of free speech, which is protected under the constitution’s first amendment.

In his ruling Friday, Judge Timothy Kelly stressed that he had only found the procedure for expelling Acosta illegal and that free speech did not enter the equation.

“I want to be very clear that I have not determined that the First Amendment was violated,” he said in the Washington courtroom, adding that further hearings would be held on that aspect.

The US Justice Department’s lawyer, James Burnham, argued that Acosta had “disrupted” last week’s news conference and that “there is no First Amendment right to access the White House.”

However, major media outlets took up Acosta’s cause. Tellingly, Trump’s most friendly outlet, Fox News, joined the suit calling for Acosta’s pass to be returned.

“We are gratified with this result and we look forward to a full resolution in the coming days,” CNN said in a statement. “Our sincere thanks to all who have supported not just CNN, but a free, strong and independent American press.”

Shortly after the ruling, Acosta returned to the White House, telling fellow journalists that “this was a test.”

“Journalists need to know that their first amendment rights are sacred,” he said.

– Unity –

The spat over Acosta has prompted an unusually public show of unity between America’s powerful media organizations.

Those backing CNN’s court action included the Associated Press, Bloomberg, First Look Media Works, Gannett, the National Press Club Journalism Institute, NBC News, The New York Times, Politico, Press Freedom Defense Fund, EW Scripps Company, USA Today and The Washington Post.

“Whether the news of the day concerns national security, the economy or the environment, reporters covering the White House must remain free to ask questions,” the media groups said in a joint statement.

After the judge’s ruling, the White House Correspondents’ Association president, Olivier Knox, cheered a decision that “made it clear that the White House cannot arbitrarily revoke a White House press pass.”

“We thank all of the news outlets and individual reporters who stood up in recent days for the vital role a free and independent news media plays in our republic,” he said.

AFP

Judge Orders White House To Restore CNN Journalist’s Access

Jim Acosta

 

A federal judge Friday ordered the White House to reinstate the press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta, whose pass was revoked after a heated exchange with President Donald Trump, the network said.

Judge Timothy Kelly issued a temporary restraining order that requires the White House to restore Acosta’s access until a full hearing is held, according to the network.

CNN and other media groups, including Trump-endorsed Fox News, backed the lawsuit which claimed the revoking of Acosta’s pass violated constitutional guarantees of a free press.

More to follow…

US Media In Court Showdown Over White House Access

CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta leaves US District Court after a hearing in Washington, DC, on November 14, 2018. Media groups including Fox News joined CNN’s legal battle Wednesday to restore Acosta’s White House pass. Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP

 

US President Donald Trump’s effort to revoke a CNN correspondent’s credentials went to court on Wednesday, in a hearing that saw the channel backed by media groups — including arch-rival Fox News — who said the case was a matter of press freedom.

Lawyers for CNN and the White House — which said it had a broad right to restrict access to the president — argued before US District Judge Timothy Kelly, appointed last year by Trump, on the channel’s request for an order reinstating Jim Acosta’s White House pass.

In the emergency hearing CNN’s lawyer Ted Boutrous asked the judge for a temporary order allowing Acosta to get his pass back ahead of a full hearing.

He argued banning Acosta violated the Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of a free press because it was “based on the viewpoint of Mr. Acosta” and not his behavior.

“They don’t like the reporting” of the CNN White House reporter, the lawyer said.

US Justice Department lawyer James Burnham echoed comments filed in a legal brief earlier in the day for the administration, saying that “there is no First Amendment right to access the White House” and that the rationale behind the decision was that Acosta “disrupted” a news conference last week.

Judge Kelly said he would issue his decision at 3:00 pm (2000 GMT) on Thursday.

CNN’s suit was backed by a broad coalition of media groups including Fox, which is controlled by Trump ally Rupert Murdoch and often draws praise from the president.

Fox said earlier on Wednesday the banning of Acosta raises concerns over press freedom.

“Fox News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential,” the news channel’s president Jay Wallace said in a statement, indicating it would join an amicus brief on supporting CNN.

“Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized,” he said.

“While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the president and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people.”

 ‘Broad discretion’ claimed’ 

Others backing the CNN arguments in court included the Associated Press, Bloomberg, First Look Media Works, Gannett, the National Press Club Journalism Institute, NBC News, The New York Times, Politico, Press Freedom Defense Fund, EW Scripps Company, USA Today and The Washington Post.

“Whether the news of the day concerns national security, the economy, or the environment, reporters covering the White House must remain free to ask questions,” the media groups said in a joint statement ahead of the hearing.

“It is imperative that independent journalists have access to the president and his activities, and that journalists are not barred for arbitrary reasons.”

The White House said in its legal filing it has “broad discretion” to restrict media access to the president, disputing the argument that its actions violate the constitution.

“The President and White House possess the same broad discretion to regulate access to the White House for journalists (and other members of the public) that they possess to select which journalists receive interviews, or which journalists they acknowledge at press conferences,” said the brief.

The filing by US Justice Department lawyers argued that “the president could choose never to hold another press briefing again and cancel all press passes, without implicating due process protections.”

 ‘Grandstanding’ 

The White House brief argued there is no imminent harm to CNN or Acosta because he “remains able to practice his profession and report on the White House” and that CNN “has roughly 50 other employees who retain hard passes and who are more than capable of covering the White House complex on CNN’s behalf.”

Acosta, CNN’s chief White House reporter, had his press pass lifted November 7 after a testy exchange with Trump at a White House news conference.

CNN — part of the WarnerMedia division of AT&T — filed suit on Tuesday.

Trump’s administration initially said Acosta was banned for inappropriately touching a White House female intern as he struggled to hold on to a microphone. The White House cited a video which analysts said had been sped up, giving the appearance that Acosta struck the intern’s arm.

Trump later said other journalists might be barred as well if they were not “respectful.”

Free speech activists have warned the case has important implications, and that public officials should not be able to bar access to journalists if they dislike news coverage.

The White House has dismissed CNN’s complaint as “grandstanding” and vowed to “vigorously defend” against the lawsuit.

AFP

CNN Sues White House Over Barring Of Reporter

US President Donald Trump (R) gets into a heated exchange with CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (C) as NBC correspondent Peter Alexander (L) looks on during a post-election press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 7, 2018.

 

CNN sued Donald Trump’s administration Tuesday, alleging the White House violated journalist Jim Acosta’s rights under the constitution by revoking his press credentials following a heated exchange with the US president.

“The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process,” the news network said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “We have asked this court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process.”

AFP

Trump Slaps Down Journalist For ‘Stupid’ Question

US President Donald Trump (R) gets into a heated exchange with CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (C) as NBC correspondent Peter Alexander (L) looks on during a post-election press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 7, 2018.

 

President Donald Trump instructed journalists Friday to show more respect in the “sacred” White House and moments later angrily refused to answer a reporter’s question because it was “stupid.”

The latest clash between the president and the press corps assigned to cover him followed a meltdown on Wednesday when Trump lashed out at a star CNN reporter as a “terrible person” and had him barred from the White House.

In Friday’s incident, Abby Phillip, also from CNN, asked Trump whether he wanted his new attorney general to hold back an explosive probe into allegations that the president’s 2016 election campaign colluded with Russian agents.

The topic has been one of the main headlines in Washington since Wednesday when Trump abruptly fired Jeff Sessions as attorney general and named Matthew Whitaker, who has strongly criticized the Russia probe, to replace him. Critics have accused Trump of placing an ally who will try to muzzle special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Trump, speaking just before leaving for an international gathering in Paris to commemorate World War I, refused to answer Phillip.

“What a stupid question that is, what a stupid question. But I watch you a lot. You ask a lot of stupid questions,” he said, shaking a finger at the journalist, then walking away.

Moments earlier he’d defended his decision to bar CNN reporter Jim Acosta following their exchange at Wednesday’s press conference, saying that Acosta “is a very unprofessional guy.”

Asked how long Acosta will be denied the credential allowing him to work inside the White House, Trump said he hadn’t decided and seemed to indicate that the extremely unusual sanction could be applied to more journalists.

“It could be others also,” he said.

Trump went on to refer to another reporter, April Ryan, who works for American Urban Radio Networks and CNN, as “a loser” and “very nasty.”

The president said that the bad blood between him and the media was the fault of journalists showing insufficient deference.

“When you’re in the White House, this is a very sacred place to me. It’s a very special place. You have to treat the White House with respect. You have to treat the presidency with respect,” he said.

AFP

Another Suspicious Package Addressed To CNN

At left, A bomb disposal technician carries a package out of a U.S. Post Office facility at 52nd Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan, October 26, 2018 in New York City. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

 

A suspicious package addressed to CNN was intercepted Monday at an Atlanta post office, the head of the cable news network said in a statement.

If it is found to contain an explosive device, it would be the 15th mail bomb — and the third to CNN — of a wave addressed to prominent Democrats and critics of US President Donald Trump, allegedly by a Trump supporter in Florida.

“This morning, another suspicious package addressed to CNN was intercepted at an Atlanta post office,” CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker said in a statement.

“There is no imminent danger at CNN Center,” he said in a message to employees that was also posted on Twitter.

Since last Wednesday, all mail to CNN’s US offices has been screened at an off-site location, he said, “so this package would not have come directly to the CNN Center, even if it hadn’t been intercepted first.”

Cesar Sayoc, 56, who was arrested Friday, was due to be arraigned in Florida Monday on charges of mailing 13 pipe bombs and authorities had cautioned that more might be in circulation.

Sayoc was an ardent Trump supporter whom acquaintances said had extremist views and who lived in a van covered in pro-Trump and anti-liberal stickers.

Among those targeted with mail bombs were former president Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic rival for the presidency in the 2016 election.

Others included ex-vice president Joe Biden, Hollywood star Robert De Niro, billionaire donor George Soros, former CIA director John Brennan, former intelligence chief James Clapper, former attorney general Eric Holder, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, and billionaire investor Tom Steyer.

AFP

Court Adjourns Case Against Dele Belgore Till May 31

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned to May 31, 2017 the hearing of a motion seeking to terminate the charge against a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dele Belgore and a former Minister Of National Planning, Professor Abubakar Suleiman.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Mr Belgore alongside Professor Abubakar Suleiman for alleged money laundering.

Both men were accused of conspiring to take possession of the sum of 450 million Naira, which the EFCC claims forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.

The defence council filed the application seeking to terminate the proceedings on the grounds that the prosecution did not file an affidavit to show it had not completed investigation on the matter.

The prosecution, however, argued that if an application is brought after a plea has been taken as to the validity of a charge, it can be considered alongside the substantive matter.

After listening to both counsels, Justice Reliwan Aikawa agreed that the motion could be heard alongside the substantive matter, and therefore adjourned the matter to May 31.

We Will Continue To Make Every Naira Count – Adeosun

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has outlined some steps on how Nigeria’s economy should be taken out of recession.

She was one of the guests on the 2017 special May Day edition of the programme, The Platform; a lecture series organised by the Covenant Christian Center Lagos.

While addressing Nigeria’s financial crisis, Mrs Adeosun blamed the past administration for concentrating only on current expenditure, leaving the agriculture sector and other areas unattended to.

According to her, what the government spent money on, were the wrong things and that’s the result the nation now suffers.

“There is always a lag between action and effect. We are now suffering the effect of what was done two, three years ago.

“Ninety per cent of government expenditure was on what we call recurrent, which involves salaries, travel, training, welfare (food), that’s what we were spending money on and only 10% went on capital.

“Capital includes roads, rail, power, housing, building educational institutions and only 10% of government expenditure was capital.

As a way forward, she however, stated that “For the rest of the economy, agriculture, services, banking, trade, people must pay taxes; there must be more revenue. We can’t all rely on oil.

“We are going to be pushing out quite a few initiatives to improve our revenue. Then on our course, we will continue to be efficient, prudent, continue to make sure that every Naira counts.”

Also speaking at the programme was the former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, who believes that the nation has imbibed a system of eating for today only and letting tomorrow take care of itself.

“The reason why we are talking about massive borrowing today is because we didn’t save yesterday.

“No nation can survive without saving for tomorrow – Never, and that is the crisis we face today,” he asserted.

Mrs Adeosun however, stressed that the past is gone and in moving forward, the plan is to improve oil and non-oil taxes in order to get the balance right.

Workers’ Day: FG Urges Nigerians To Rededicate To National Service

Workers DayThe Federal Government has urged Nigerian workers to re-dedicate themselves to the service of the nation, particularly now that the government is embarking on the implementation of the economic recovery and growth plan.

The Minister of Interior, Lt Gen Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (Rtd), made this known in a statement signed by the director overseeing the office of the permanent secretary, on Friday.

Meanwhile, he congratulated Nigerian workers for their resilience, and hard work, especially to the government of President Muhammad Buhari, even as Monday, May 1, has been declared a public holiday, to commemorate the Workers’ Day celebration.