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‘Known Russian Agent’: US Places Sanctions On Manafort Associate

One of the people sanctioned by the U.S. government on Thursday for election interference is Konstantin Kilimnik, a Ukrainian-Russian political operative who worked closely for years with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The Treasury Department sanctioned Kilimnik for allegedly interfering in the 2020 election and for working on behalf of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who has lived in exile in Russia since he was deposed in 2014.

Kilimnik worked with Manafort on behalf of Yanukovych and his political party, the Party of Regions. They maintained contact through at least 2018.

In its announcement, the Treasury Department referred to Kilimnik as a “known Russian agent” who implemented “influence operations” on behalf of Russia’s intelligence services. (RELATED: Biden Administration Greenlights Sweeping Sanctions Against Russia)

The Biden administration sanctioned 32 individuals and entities allegedly involved in cyber intrusions and propaganda efforts. It also named the SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service, as the culprit behind the hack of SolarWinds, a federal contractor that services multiple U.S. government agencies.

Kilimnik’s possible ties to Russian intelligence have long been a source of debate. People who have worked with him have said that the thought he could have connections to Russia’s spy services. Others have said he was simply a well-connected political operative.

A report released by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in April 2019 said that Kilimnik had ties to Russian intelligence.  In February, the FBI offered a $250,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Kilimnik, saying only that he was “assessed by the FBI to have ties to Russian intelligence.”

Paul Manafort arrives for a hearing at US District Court on June 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Kilimnik was indicted on June 8, 2018, as part of Mueller’s probe. He was charged with conspiring with Manafort to obstruct the investigation into their unregistered lobbying work in Ukraine.

The Treasury Department leveled another new allegation against Kilimnik in its sanctions announcement, saying that during the 2016 president election, he “provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy.”

In August 2016, Manafort and his longtime associate, Rick Gates, provided Kilimnik with internal Trump campaign polling data. How Kilimnik used the information has remained a mystery.

A month earlier, Manafort sent an email to Kilimnik offering to provide “private briefings” to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Manafort at the time owed Deripaska millions of dollars for a failed business venture in Ukraine.

The Treasury Department also alleges that Kilimnik pushed the narrative that Ukraine, rather than Russia, interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign.

President Donald Trump pardoned Manafort on Dec. 23. Manafort was serving a seven-and-a-half year sentence on money laundering and tax evasion charges related to his Ukraine work.

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Education Commissioner In Florida Asks Schools To Make Mask-Wearing Voluntary

Florida’s education commissioner asked school districts in the state to make mask-wearing voluntary for the 2021-2022 school year, a letter shows.

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran sent the letter to districts Wednesday, urging schools to give families the ability to decide whether their children will wear masks in the classroom.

“Throughout the successful reopening of our schools for in-person instruction, we have consistently provided families with the ability to make educational decisions that are in the best interest of their children,” the letter said.

“Face coverings are a personal decision and certainly families and individuals should maintain their ability to make a decision that is unique to their circumstances.”

A students adjusts her facemask at St. Joseph Catholic School in La Puente, California on November 16, 2020, where pre-kindergarten to Second Grade students in need of special services returned to the classroom today for in-person instruction. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Corcoran also claimed data shows that masks in schools haven’t impacted COVID-19 spread, and the mandatory policies “serve no remaining good at this point in our schools.” 

“The data shows us that districts’ face covering policies do not impact the spread of the virus,” Corcoran wrote.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), believes schools should prioritize mask policies. “Studies of COVID-19 transmission in schools that used consistent implementation of multiple prevention strategies have shown success in limiting transmission in schools,” according to the CDC.

Some Florida schools say that even without Corcoran’s directive, they were considering implementing the same mask-optional policy.

Sarasota County school board chairwoman, Shirley Brown, said that the district was putting the proposal on the agenda to discuss regardless of the commissioner’s letter.

“We have seen it isn’t spreading as much inside the school as it is outside,” Brown said, according to the Herald-Tribune.

(Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

Corcoran and Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have been staunch supporters of giving families the option to decide how their children will be educated during the pandemic, the Herald-Tribune reported. Corcoran said 80% of students in the state are attending school in-person, either full or part-time, according to The Wall Street Journal.

DeSantis previously rebutted the idea of closing schools, calling it the “biggest public health blunder in modern American history” in November. (RELATED: ‘Today’s Flat Earthers’: Florida Governor Mocks Advocates For School Closings, Says Public Schools Will Remain Open)

Florida was one of the earliest states to return students to classrooms after an executive order Corcoran made, the Journal reported. Seven months since reopening, Florida schools have not seen major COVID-19 outbreaks. 

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‘Cheap Shot Artist,’ ‘Punk!’: Dan Bongino And Geraldo Rivera Sling Insults As Heated Debate Goes Off The Rails

Dan Bongino and Geraldo Rivera engaged in a heated debate Wednesday that quickly devolved into insults.

Both men appeared on “Hannity” to address ongoing unrest and violence following the shooting death of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. (RELATED: ‘Don’t You Dare Be A Fraud Right Now!’: Dan Bongino And Geraldo Rivera Trade Barbs Over Rayshard Brooks)

WATCH:

Rivera weighed in first, noting that the consensus was the police officer who ultimately shot and killed Wright had done so when she accidentally drew her service weapon instead of her taser. His suggestion was to train officers so that the taser, rather than a firearm, was on their dominant side in such situations. He argued that would make the taser the default and perhaps lower the incidence of fatal shootings.

“If you had the taser in your dominant hand are more likely to use the nonlethal weapon and you could avoid the 18 accidental police shootings where the cops thought he or she was using a taser,” Rivera said.

“I don’t even know how to respond to that,” Bongino began. “Give me a second here to digest —”

“You’re nothing but a name-caller. A cheap shot artist,” Rivera interrupted.

“There’s a big difference between reporting on a baseball game and playing it, Geraldo. You never worn a badge, period,” Bongino said then, arguing that no matter how often Rivera had reported on police officers, he still didn’t have the insight that came from serving in law enforcement.

“If you put the firearm on the other side, you would probably have to cross draw because you want to fire with your dominant hand,” Bongino went on to explain the problem with switching the taser to the dominant side. “If you were ever a cop, you would know that but you reported on policing. What’s the problem with a cross draw? The problem is when you are tackled and put on the ground, the weapon is more accessible to the bad guy than it is to you. But because you have never done policing, never done control tactics, but you are reporting on it, you wouldn’t know any of that. So maybe a little bit of humble pie. Back off. Stop telling everyone about your great reporting. Deal with facts. Realize you don’t know what you think you know. You just know what you think you reported on. Those are two separate things. I don’t pretend to be a journalist. I’m an opinion maker. Stop pretending to be a cop.”

The two continued to go back and forth, talking over each other as the debate went on. Bongino accused Rivera of inflaming the racial narrative without any evidence to back it up.

“If there was a plague of police officers hunting black men down at night, I don’t understand. If that’s happening, where is the massive body count?” Bongino pressed.

“This man with his baloney. This is baloney,” Rivera shot back.

Bongino once again accused Rivera of throwing race into the argument when it wasn’t warranted, prompting Rivera to respond, “You tell that to the black families that see their sons being killed.”

“You’ve got nothing. All you want to do is see the country burn. You just want to see the country burn,” Bongino pushed back.

“I want to see the country burn?”Rivera asked. “You son of a bitch. I want to see the country burn, you punk? You’re a punk, Dan Bongino.”

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Police Stop Using Tear Gas, Drench Demonstrators In Pepper Spray On Fourth Consecutive Night Of Unrest In Minnesota

Hundreds of protesters gathered for the fourth consecutive night of unrest outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department in Minnesota following the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright. Earlier in the day, Kim Potter, the former police officer who shot Daunte Wright, was charged with second-degree manslaughter.

Both the protesters and law enforcement modified their tactics from previous nights.

Protesters came equipped with wooden barricades, many more umbrellas, and bear mace. (RELATED: Officer Kim Potter Arrested For Second-Degree Manslaughter In Shooting Of Daunte Wright)

National Guard and police did not use any tear gas, likely trying to avoid disturbing the residents who live in nearby apartments.

Instead, National Guard employed far more pepper spray than on previous nights, and continued to utilize pepper balls and rubber bullets as they tried to disperse the crowd.

After law enforcement flanked the crowd around 10:00 p.m., they were able to clear the demonstrators and their barricades within minutes.

Twenty-four people were arrested, according to the Star Tribune.

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Arizona Hires Tommy Lloyd As The New Basketball Coach Of The Wildcats

Tommy Lloyd is the new basketball coach of the Arizona Wildcats.

The program announced Lloyd’s hiring Wednesday night. He was previously an assistant at Gonzaga, where he likely would have been the head coach once Mark Few retired. (RELATED: David Hookstead Is The True King In The North When It Comes To College Football)

Contract details aren’t known at this time.

Arizona needed a new basketball coach after the decision was made to part ways with former head coach Sean Miller.

Now, it’s Lloyd’s show.

Admittedly, I don’t know much about Lloyd at all. I’d be lying if I sat here like I’m some kind of expert. That’s definitely not the case.

However, I know a winning pedigree when I see one, and Lloyd has it in spades. Gonzaga has been one of the most consistent programs in America over the past two decades, and Lloyd learned under Mark Few.

As a fan, you have to be very comfortable with that fact.

Arizona’s basketball program has tons of resources and a rabid fan base. People expect to win. That’s just the way it is, and I’m sure Lloyd understands that fact.

Now, it’s time to see whether or not he can get the job done.

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REPORT: Deshaun Watson Faces A New Lawsuit, Is Accused Of Ejaculating On A Woman’s Hand

Another lawsuit has reportedly been filed against Deshaun Watson.

According to Outkick, another woman represented by attorney Tony Buzbee has filed a lawsuit against the Houston Texans star quarterback, and the allegations are pretty shocking. (RELATED: David Hookstead Is The True King In The North When It Comes To College Football)

The woman has accused Watson of grabbing “her thighs and her butt,” touching her with his penis, groping the woman, telling her to take her pants off and eventually ejaculating on the woman’s hand, according to documents published by Outkick.

Watson currently faces more than 20 lawsuits alleging sexual assault and misconduct. The Houston Police Department is investigating at least one claim.

The hits just keep coming for Deshaun Watson, and as I’ve said before, I see no end in sight. That doesn’t mean he’s guilty, but from a PR standpoint, he’s in a very tough spot.

Watson has already lost several sponsorships, the team has seemingly edited him out of a promo video and Ashley Solis’ press conference got massive coverage.

There was a previous report that Watson was trying to settle all his lawsuits, but that hasn’t happened as of right now.

Keep checking back for the latest updates as we have them. This situation is 100% far from over.

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‘The Worst Possible Outcome’: Lindsey Graham Says Removing Troops From Afghanistan Could Cause Another 9/11

Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said in a Wednesday press conference that President Joe Biden’s plans to remove all troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021 could cause another 9/11.

“I am certain that our military advised against a unilateral withdrawal without conditions being met to protect the American homeland and our way of life from a future attack emanating from Afghanistan,” Graham said. (RELATED: ‘Handing A Propaganda Tool To The Taliban’: Dana Perino Blasts Plan To Set Afghanistan Exit For 9/11)

Graham said he told Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security advisor, he would support the president if he kept a residual force of several thousand soldiers as an insurance policy to prevent another 9/11.

“The result of this decision today by President Biden is to cancel an insurance policy that in my view would prevent another 9/11 because I believe with all my heart and soul after 50-something trips to the region, that a few thousand Americans watching over there would make it hard for Al-Qaida and ISIS to reorganize to hit us over here,” Graham said. “Those eyes and ears will be gone. I don’t trust the Taliban to look out for American interests, but we are finding ourselves in a very precarious situation.”

“There are no great outcomes but this is the worst possible outcome, to pull up and leave and hope that things will turn out well,” Graham said. “That did not happen in Iraq and that did not happen here.”

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REPORT: A Woman In India Is Suing Prince Harry After She Was Tricked Into Thinking He Wanted To Marry Her

An Indian woman reportedly filed suit against Prince Harry after she allegedly fell for a catfish scheme in which she believed the Duke of Sussex was going to marry her.

Palwinder Kaur claimed Prince Harry had contacted her via social media, according to a report published Tuesday by the Independent.

After Kaur failed to marry Prince Harry, she reportedly filed an appeal with the Haryana High Court. The woman allegedly demanded police arrest the prince so the two could get married “without any further delay,” the outlet reported. (RELATED: Brad Pitt Gets $100K Lawsuit Dismissed After Woman Claimed He Took Money From Her, Discussed Marriage)

Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan dismissed Kaur’s plea calling her claims “nothing but just a daydreamer’s fantasy about marrying Prince Harry,” according to the Independent. The court claimed the person actually pretending to be Prince Harry was running a catfishing scheme out of an internet café in the northern Punjab state, the outlet reported.

This isn’t the first time a random person has thought that a celebrity was actually talking to them on the internet. Some woman in Texas attempted to sue Brad Pitt for $100,000 after she claimed he discussed marriage with her and owed her money.

I’ll never understand how these people can be so gullible. Prince Harry has made major headlines in the last year between stepping away from the royal family and the tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey. You’d be absolutely mad to think he would be speaking to you over social media.

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‘Sh*tshow’: Dancers Twerk In Unison To Celebrate New Battleship For Australian Navy

A group of Australian politicians and military officers sat speechless Saturday as seven scantily clad dancers twerked to celebrate the commissioning of a $2 billion Navy ship in Woolloomooloo, Sydney, The Guardian reported.

The women, who sported black booty shorts, red crop tops and berets, twerked in a choreographed routine in front of senior officers of the Royal Australian Navy, including Vice Admiral Michael Noonan and General David Hurley, The Guardian reported. General Angus Campbell, who is the Australian Army’s Chief of Defense Force, also attended HMAS Supply (A195) commissioning. (RELATED: Does Cardi B’s ‘Twerk’ Video Really Empower Women? I Think Not [VIDEO])

“A question worth pondering: what would Horatio Nelson think of this shitshow?” an anonymous government attendee at the commissioning told ABC.

“We’ve got the CDF, we’ve got members of Parliament there, and the Governor-General’s there, I don’t think it’s appropriate to be twerking,” former soldier and Liberal MP Phillip Thompson told ABC. “Standards in the ADF, and definitely when commissioning a ship, should be a little bit higher than that.”

It’s not clear if the Navy paid for the dancers, according to The Guardian.

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‘Get The F**k Out Of Here!’: Protesters Pelt CNN Crew With Bottle, Chase Them Away From Brooklyn Center Police District

Protestors at the Brooklyn Center Police District in Minnesota chased away a CNN camera crew as the state braces for the fourth night of violent protests in the wake of the death of Daunte Wright.

A CNN camera crew member is seen on video getting hit in the face with a water bottle, visibly stunned and stumbling to the ground.

“Do we have a medic? Do we have a medic?” a bystander asked after the man was hit. The stunned CNN crew member responded saying, “I’m fine. It’s all good people. No worries. All good.”

Moments later, a large group of protestors followed CNN reporter Miguel Marquez and his crew member, telling them to “get the f*** out of here.”

The CNN crew member who was hit minutes before told the large group of protestors following him and Marquez, “We’re leaving. We don’t want any trouble.”

Their car was then hit with multiple water bottles and eggs as they drove off, video shows. (RELATED: Officer Who Shot And Killed Daunte Wright Was 26-Year-Veteran, Was Involved In Another Fatal Police Shooting In 2019)

Protests at Brooklyn Center started Sunday night after 20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot and killed by officer Kim Potter. The 26-year veteran of the force was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter and has resigned from the police force.