Trump: If Offered Dirt By Foreign Government On 2020 Rival, ‘I Think I’d Take It’

President Trump, pictured in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on June 12, spoke with ABC News about whether he would accept damaging information about a 2020 rival from another government.

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images


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Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump says he might accept dirt from another country on his potential Democratic rivals if offered, raising new questions and concerns about foreign influence on American elections.

“It’s not an interference, they have information — I think I’d take it,” Trump said. “If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI — if I thought there was something wrong.”

Trump made the comments in an Oval Office interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, after being pressed about the infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 with Russians and Trump officials. Ahead of that meeting, which former special counsel Robert Mueller probed, the Trump campaign was offered damaging information on Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.

EXCLUSIVE: Pres. Trump tells @GStephanopoulos he wouldn’t necessarily alert the FBI if approached by foreign figures with information on his 2020 opponent: “It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it.” https://t.co/yWRxMOaFqW pic.twitter.com/qwLw53s5yc

— ABC News (@ABC) June 12, 2019

In the ABC interview, the president claimed information offered by a foreign government is the equivalent “oppo research” that’s traditional in American political campaigns. However, such information does not typically come from foreign powers that may be seeking to impact the election results and sow discord — as Russia did in 2016. Trump’s own handpicked FBI Director Christopher Wray has said the FBI should be informed of such gestures.

“I’ll tell you what, I’ve seen a lot of things over my life. I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI. In my whole life. You don’t call the FBI. You throw somebody out of your office, you do whatever you do,” Trump said. “Oh, give me a break – life doesn’t work that way.”

Trump also said he might both accept the information and call the FBI. But the president was clear he disagreed with comments Wray has made to Congress that “the FBI would want to know about” any efforts from abroad to interfere or influence in U.S. elections.

“The FBI director is wrong, because frankly it doesn’t happen like that in life,” Trump said. “Now maybe it will start happening, maybe today you’d think differently.”

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6 Suspects Detained In Shooting Of Former Baseball Star David Ortiz

Eddy Vladimir Feliz Garcia, the alleged getaway driver in the shooting of ex-Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, is escorted to court in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

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Roberto Guzman/AP

Authorities in the Dominican Republic say they have detained six suspects, including the alleged gunman, in the shooting of former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz.

Four other suspects are still at large, according to the Dominican Republic’s chief prosecutor, Jean Alain Rodríguez.

The alleged assailants had been paid 400,000 Dominican pesos, or just under $8,000, to kill Ortiz, according to Police Maj. Gen. Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte. He and Rodríguez haven’t offered a motive for the attack on the popular ex-baseball star.

Ortiz was shot in the back at close range on Sunday while sitting at an outdoor bar in Santo Domingo, the Caribbean nation’s capital city.

The alleged gunman was identified as Rolfy Ferreyra, aka Sandy, according to authorities cited by the Associated Press.

Security camera footage outside the bar before the shooting shows two men on a motorcycle talking with other people in two different Hyundai cars. One of the men on the motorcycle has been identified as 25-year-old Eddy Vladimir Feliz Garcia. He is accused of driving the alleged gunman to the scene of the shooting.

According to court documents obtained by the AP, Feliz Garcia botched the getaway by losing control of his motorcycle. He was beaten bloody by enraged fans of Ortiz before they turned him over to the police.

In a statement, Ortiz’s wife, Tiffany, said the former star is slowly recovering from the attack in the intensive care unit at Massachusetts General Hospital where he was flown after the attack.

“Yesterday and this morning, David was able to sit up as well as take some steps,” she said. “His condition is guarded and he will remain in the ICU for the coming days, but he is making good progress towards recovery.”

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From Chuck Berry To Tupac Shakur: Taking Stock Of The 2008 Universal Fire

Chuck Berry in the Chess Records recording studio. The New York Times reports that originals of Berry’s Chess catalog were burned in the 2008 Universal fire.

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Gilles Petard/Redferns

In 2008, fire swept through a Universal Studios Hollywood backlot. The loss was thought to be a few movie sets and film duplicates. But earlier this week, The New York Times published a report revealing that the 2008 fire burned hundreds of thousands of master recordings of genre-spanning, legendary music from the late 1940s to the early ’80s as well as digital formats and hard drives from the late ’80s up through the early 2000s.

According to the report, the fire burned original recordings of work by artists like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Billie Holiday, R.E.M., Janet Jackson, Eric B. and Rakim, New Edition, Bobby Brown, Guns N’ Roses, Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Sonic Youth, No Doubt, Nine Inch Nails, Snoop Dogg, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Hole, Beck, Sheryl Crow, Tupac Shakur, Eminem, 50 Cent, The Roots and more.

An aerial view of part of the Universal Studios backlot where a fire broke out on June 1, 2008, and burned out sites on 3 1/2 acres of the 391-acre property.

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Gary Friedman/LA Times via Getty Images

Reporter Jody Rosen has been investigating the loss for The New York Times and in his report, calls this fire “the biggest disaster in the history of the music business.” In taking stock of the fire’s damage, Rosen notes that it wasn’t just original music that burned up.

“There were many, many what are called flat masters — that is the master tape of an album that was put out commercially,” Rosen explains. “There were also, yes, a number of session tapes of various sorts — unreleased material, outtakes, maybe even studio chatter from various recording sessions that were here. There were demos in the vault and there were various types of master recordings.”

In his report, Rosen likens a master recording to that of an original painting and says that more than the monetary value, the damage to our shared cultural heritage is the great tragedy of the situation. For example, Rosen says the hallowed Chicago blues label Chess Records, home of greats like Chuck Berry, lost virtually all of its master recordings.

“Now that we don’t have that master, you know,” Rosen says of Berry’s lost tapes, “subsequent versions will have inferior quality sound because we won’t be able to go back to the true masters.”

Universal Music Group has issued an official response to the report, writing, in part:

Music preservation is of the highest priority for us and we are proud of our track record. While there are constraints preventing us from publicly addressing some of the details of the fire that occurred at NBCUniversal Studios facility more than a decade ago, the incident — while deeply unfortunate — never affected the availability of the commercially released music nor impacted artists’ compensation.

Rosen thinks that UMG likely covered up this momentous loss of this fire for 11 years out of embarrassment.

“It’s not something you wanted to toot your horn about,” Rosen says. “I think they were especially concerned about the reaction of artists. I think a lot of artists would have felt betrayed, upset by the idea that this material that they prized was not properly cared for. It’s not good for even a record company as powerful as Universal Music Group, which is the world’s largest record company and today which owns more than 50% market share. But still, they don’t want famous musicians mad at them and talking about it in the press.”

So far, musicians like Questlove of The Roots and Krist Novoselic of Nirvana have already reacted to the report. Questlove shared the article on Twitter with the precursor: “For everyone asking why Do You Want More & Illdelph Halflife wont get reissue treatment” while Novoselic told a fan he thinks the masters to Nevermind are “gone forever.” R.E.M.’s official Twitter account issued a statement to fans, writing, “We are trying to get good information to find out what happened and the effect on the band’s music, if any. We will detail further as and when.”

As he was researching his article, Rosen went down a rabbit hole of music discovery, he says. He would latch on to music from lesser-known artists, subgenres and labels that was lost in the fire. “That’s the stuff that I really mourn because those things are true endangered species,” he says.

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The Swap: Less Processed Meat, More Plant-Based Foods May Boost Longevity

Processed meats, including hot dogs and bacon, cook in a frying pan. A new study of 80,000 people finds that those who ate the most red meat — especially processed meats such as bacon and hot dogs — had a higher risk of premature death compared with those who cut back.

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A new study published in The BMJ can’t tell you exactly how much red meat is OK to eat to maintain good health or prevent disease.

But it does help sort out a big-picture, and perhaps more important, question: What does a healthy pattern of eating look like?

A diet that includes plenty of nuts, seeds, fish, vegetables and whole grains — and perhaps up to an egg a day — appears to be better than a diet rich in red meat, especially processed meats such as bacon and hot dogs.

Already a large body of evidence links processed red meats to an increased risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.

And this new study, which included about 80,000 men and women, finds that limiting red and processed meats may help reduce the risk of premature death.

“We tracked the eating habits of our participants for several decades,” explains study author Frank Hu, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. This allowed Hu and his colleagues to compare people who increased their red and processed meat intake over time with those who had a relatively stable intake. On average, adults in the U.S. consume about a serving per day.

Overall, those who increased their intake of processed red meat by about 3.5 servings a week had about a 13 percent higher risk of death during the study’s eight-year follow-up period.

“We estimated that when people replaced red and processed meat with nuts, seeds, fish [and other alternatives sources of protein, vegetables and whole grains] — they experienced more than a 10 percent reduction in their risk of mortality” during the follow-up period, Hu explains.

I asked Tom Sherman, a professor at Georgetown University who teaches nutrition to medical students, to take a look at the study. “At first, I thought, ‘oh no, another paper showing that eating red meat is bad,’ ” Sherman wrote via email. “But in fact, this one is pretty interesting” because it looks at changes in behavior.

“Changes in behavior are fairly illuminating, and diagnostic,” Sherman says. He says changes can signal that a person is starting to pay attention to one’s diet — or starting to actively disregard it. And these changes “have consistently positive or negative impacts, respectively, on their risk for chronic disease: obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cancer,” he says.

This is an observational study, so it can’t prove cause and effect between diet and death. But it can establish an association. Sherman says one drawback of all observational nutrition studies is that it’s hard to disentangle the independent effect of changes in meat consumption from other lifestyle factors such as body weight, exercise, alcohol consumption, etc. But these new findings are consistent with a larger body of evidence.

Hu notes that in this new study, as well as in previous research, the risks associated with red meat consumption are higher — and most pronounced — with processed red meats.

“Processed meats typically contain high amounts of sodium and preservatives,” Hu says. In addition, high-heat cooking methods, such as grilling, can produce carcinogens. And recent research has linked high red meat consumption — especially processed meats — with less diversity and abundance of healthy bacteria in the gut. “This may contribute to an increased risk,” Hu says.

Sherman adds, “I always brace myself before sharing the data on red and processed meat consumption and mortality, CVD [cardiovascular disease] or cancer risks with my students because it sounds so unbelievably scary.”

“Unfortunately,” he says, “it appears to be accurate.”

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Spain’s Soccer League Fined For Using App To Spy On Fans In Fight To Curb Piracy

La Liga, Spain’s premier soccer league, was fined 250,000 euros on Tuesday for failing to adequately notify Android app users it was recording what was going on near the phone. The app was developed to combat piracy, according to the league.

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SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Spain’s premier soccer league, La Liga, was hit with a 250,000 euro fine — about $280,000 — on Tuesday for using its mobile phone app to spy on millions fans as part of a ploy to catch venues showing unlicensed broadcasts of professional matches.

The country’s data protection agency said the league’s app, which was marketed as a tool to track game scores, schedules, player rankings and other news, was also systematically accessing the phone’s microphone and geolocation data to listen in on people’s surroundings during matches. When it detected users were in bars the app would record audio — much like Shazam — to determine if a game was being illegally shown at the venue.

The league only used the technology on Android phones. According to El Diario the app has been downloaded more than 10 million times.

The Spanish newspaper reported, the agency found La Liga did not adequately notify users about the surveillance components of the app and therefore violated the basic principle of transparency under Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation.

La Liga countered by saying it did offer two opportunities at the time of installation to block the spy-like functions. But the watchdog said the soccer league should alert users every time the microphone is remotely activated, including adding an icon to the screen when the phone is recording.

Some other apps try to use the same features to gather information, if they’re not blocked by users.

The surreptitious functionality was met with outrage from fans when it was first discovered a couple of weeks after the EU’s data protection regulations went into effect a year ago. The rules require app makers to expressly convey to users what they are doing with the data they’re gathering. At the time, El Pais reported it became a trending topic on social media and it sent Android reviews of the app plummeting.

The soccer league responded by telling fans the snooping elements of the app were designed to combat piracy. “These fraudulent activities represent an estimated loss of 150 million euros annually for Spanish football, which translates into direct damage for clubs, operators and fans, among others,” La Liga said.

In a statement on Wednesday, La Liga said it “disagrees deeply” with the data protection agency’s decision and accused it of not making “the necessary effort to understand how the technology works.”

La Liga plans to challenge the resolution, insisting it has followed all existing regulations. League officials sought to clarify that the software protects individual users’ rights because it doesn’t record, store or listen to conversations.

“All this technology was implemented to achieve a legitimate goal,” La Liga said, adding that it has a responsibility to use all technological advances at its disposal to “fight against piracy.”

La Liga also said it will not be applying the data protection agency’s recommendations. It called the app “experimental,” because the league was already planning to turn off those functions at the end of the season, which falls on June 30.

Dani Matias contributed to this story.

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