TIME National Security

Obama Warns of Dangers of Inaction on Patriot Act

Barack Obama
Carolyn Kaster—AP President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks to media as he meets with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 29, 2015. 

"Heaven forbid we’ve got a problem where we could have prevented a terrorist attack"

President Obama warned Friday afternoon of dire consequences for national security should the Patriot Act be allowed to expire on Sunday night.

Following a meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Friday, Obama blamed a “handful of senators” for blocking the passage of the compromise USA Freedom Act, which would keep key provisions of the Patriot Act in place but roll back a controversial provision that the National Security Agency has used to collect bulk data on Americans’ phone and internet records.

Without the Patriot Act in place, Obama warned, the nation’s security would be at risk. “I don’t want us to be in a situation where for a certain period of time those authorities go away,” he said Friday in the Oval Office. “And heaven forbid we’ve got a problem where we could have prevented a terrorist attack or apprehended someone who was engaged in dangerous activity but we didn’t do so simply because of inaction in the Senate.”

Congress has been out on recess since Memorial Day and Senators left town before passing a Patriot Act reauthorization. The act expires at midnight on Sunday. Obama is pushing lawmakers to pass the USA Freedom Act, while some Senators have argued for a straight extension of the Patriot Act. Others think reform bills don’t go far enough.

Obama said he’d reached out to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and urged Senators to “take action and take action swiftly.

“This is not an issue where we have to choose between security and civil liberties, this is an issue in which we in fact have struck the right balance and shaped a piece of legislation that everybody can support. So let’s go out and get it done,” he said.

 

TIME

Hastert Paid to Hush Up Sexual Misconduct, Reports Say

Several outlets reporting former House Speaker paid to hush up misconduct of a sexual nature

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert allegedly paid an individual to keep quiet about sexual misconduct, according to multiple media reports.

The Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and Buzzfeed reported, citing anonymous federal officials, that the “prior misconduct” mentioned in the seven page indictment of Hastert was sexual in nature.

The New York Times reports a man told the FBI Hastert had fondled him when Hastert was a history teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School. Hastert was at the school between 1965 and 1981.

Hastert was charged on Thursday for lying to FBI agents about bank transactions he made to allegedly “compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct” against the person identified as “Individual A.”

The Northern Illinois U.S. District Attorney’s office declined to comment on the specific misconduct, noting that the 73-year-old had only been charged for the two crimes mentioned in the indictment. Calls to representatives at Dickstein Shapiro, where Hastert worked before the indictment, were not immediately returned.

Hastert will not be arrested, according to a spokesperson at the U.S. Attorney’s office, but no court date has been set. A judge, however has been assigned to the case— Obama appointee Judge Thomas M. Durkin.

TIME

Everything We Do and Don’t Know About the Hastert Indictment

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday

The announcement that federal prosecutors had charged former House Speaker Dennis Hastert with lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigations about a series of bank transactions shook Washington on Thursday.

Though the Illinois Republican isn’t exactly a stranger to scandal—he was voted Speaker of the House following a scandal surrounding Newt Gingrich’s would-be successor—the announcement and the mystery surrounding it have spurred myriad questions about the Speaker’s future, and most importantly, his past.

Below, we attempt to address the most pressing questions that have been raised amid Hastert’s indictment.

Who is Dennis Hastert?

Dennis Hastert is a former Republican Congressman from Illinois and the longest serving Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives. Hastert was born in Aurora, Ill. and attended Wheaton College and Northern Illinois University. Before heading to Washington, Hastert worked at Yorkville High School in Yorkville, Ill., a small city in Northern Illinois about an hour outside of Chicago. At the high school, Hastert taught history and coached the high school wrestling team. He worked there from 1965 until 1981. In the early 1980s, he launched his political career, first serving in the Illinois state House of Representatives and later replacing Republican Rep. John Grotberg in Washington. Hastert rose to prominence on Capitol Hill and replaced Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1999. TIME magazine called him at the time, “The Speaker Who Never Was.” Hastert is often credited for establishing a rule in the House that limits the minority party’s power by only bringing bills to vote if the majority of the majority party doesn’t support it.

What has he been up to since?

Hastert stepped down as Speaker of the House after the 2006 election and in the wake of a lurid scandal surrounding Florida Rep. Mark Foley. Foley was found to have sent sexually suggestive messages to Congressional aides. Hastert was criticized for improperly handling Foley’s actions. Hastert had served on the Advisory of the J. Dennis Hastert Center for Economics, Government and Public Policy at Wheaton College, which was launched in 2007 after Hastert donated his congressional papers to the school. On Friday, the school announced Hastert had resigned from the Board of Directors. Hastert had also joined the Washington lobbying firm Dickstein Shapiro after leaving the House. The firm announced on Thursday the former Congressman had resigned in the wake of the indictment.

What is he accused of doing?

According to the indictment, Hastert is accused of lying to the FBI. Between 2010 and 2012, Hastert allegedly made 15 $50,000 withdrawals from his accounts and various banks and gave the money to an unidentified person, referred to as “Individual A.” The reason Hastert made the payments, according to the indictment, was “to compensate Individual A to remain secret so as to cover up his [Hastert’s] past misconduct.” The withdrawals caught the eye of the banks, which are required by law to report any transaction or series of transactions over $10,000. Hastert reportedly withdrew over $1.7 million dollars over four and a half years, about half of the $3.5 million he was supposedly giving to “Individual A” as a part of their agreement, according to the indictment.

Bank officials questioned Hastert, but after questioning the congressman started withdrawing cash in increments of $10,000 or less. That raised another red flag for federal authorities who started investigating the withdrawals in 2013. A year later, the FBI asked Hastert directly about the transactions and whether he was using the money to “cover up past misconduct” or if he was storing the cash. Hastert reportedly told agents, “Yeah…I kept the cash. That’s what I’m doing.”

Who is “Individual A”?

The indictment does not name “Individual A,” but it does provide some vague details about the person’s connection to Hastert. Individual A has known Hastert for all of his or her life and was born and raised in Yorkville, Ill.—the town where Hastert worked as a teacher and coach between 1965 and 1981. Individual A made contact with Hastert in 2010 a number of times. At the meetings, they are alleged to have discussed the undefined “misconduct” by Hastert. After the 2010 meetings, Hastert began withdrawing and delivering the cash.

What is the misconduct?

This part is unclear. The misconduct is repeatedly referred to as having occurred “against Individual A.” But the indictment does not specify what misconduct Hastert is accused of conducting. The indictment links Hastert and Individual A through the town of Yorkville—where the individual resides and where Hastert was once a teacher. The Los Angeles Times, citing two anonymous sources, reported on Friday afternoon that the misconduct was sexual in nature. Hastert’s lobbying firm declined to comment, while his attorney could not be reached by the newspaper.

Did anyone know?

The Yorkville Community Unit School District reportedly said they had “no knowledge of Mr. Hastert’s alleged misconduct, nor has any individual contacted the District to report any such misconduct.” In an interview with CNN, 2016 Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, a former Congressman and Senator, said the whole ordeal seems “very much out of character” for Hastert. Reporters have unearthed a C-SPAN call during Hastert’s 2014 appearance on “Washington Journal” that could offer clues. In that call, a man identifying himself as “Bruce” calls into the program to speak with Hastert. “Hello Denny,” the caller says. “Remember me from Yorkville?” The caller than laughs and is disconnected.

What happens next?

According to the Wall Street Journal, a judge has not been assigned to the case and there is no date set for Hastert to appear in court. The Associated Press reports each count of the two-count indictment carries a maximum of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

TIME viral

Baltimore’s Top Prosecutor Once Made Her Case to Judge Judy

A young Marilyn J. Mosby worked to resolve a personal legal matter

Before she made national headlines by indicting six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby made an appearance on the small screen for a more personal legal matter.

A young Marilyn James made her case before none other than Judge Judy Sheindlin, the fiery host of the popular TV courtroom show, a spokesman for her office confirmed to the Baltimore Sun. The 20-year-old appeared before the judge to seek damages after discovering her neighbor trashed her college apartment while she was away on summer break.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Mosby attended Tuskegee University between 1998 and 2002, before heading to Boston College Law School.

The future prosecutor upstaged her neighbor in the courtroom, presenting receipts, photos and checks to aid her case. The defendant, on the other hand, offered little more than a shrug.

In the end, the young Mosby told the viewing audience there was “finally some justice served” when Judge Judy ruled in her favor and awarded her $1,731.90.

TIME Sports

U.S. Soccer Will Vote Against Sepp Blatter in FIFA Ballot

Sepp Blatter's sole rival is Jordan's Prince Ali Bin Hussein

The United States will not favor another term for FIFA President Sepp Blatter during Friday’s election, the president of U.S. Soccer acknowledged Thursday, instead casting a ballot for the embattled incumbent’s sole rival after seven top executives were arrested this week on corruption charges.

Sunil Gulati told the New York Times in an interview that the U.S. delegate would vote for Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Hussein, who is not expected to succeed in the vote involving 209 member nations. Gulati said he made the decision to vote against Blatter months ago, but this week’s arrests confirmed his decision.

“Would I like to see the United States host a World Cup in the future?” he asked. “The answer is, of course, yes. But for me, and for U.S. soccer, better governance and more integrity at Concacaf and FIFA are far more important than hosting any international soccer tournament.”

[New York Times]

Read next: Meet the Prince Who Wants to Save Soccer

TIME technology

Steve Wozniak Is Getting a Wax Figure at Madame Tussauds

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, speaks onstage during the National Geographic Channel's 'American Genius' panel at the 2015 Winter Television Critics Association press tour at the Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa on Jan. 7, 2015 in Pasadena, California.
Frederick M. Brown—Getty Images Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, speaks onstage during the National Geographic Channel's 'American Genius' panel at the 2015 Winter Television Critics Association press tour at the Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa on Jan. 7, 2015 in Pasadena, California.

And it'll be right next to Steve Jobs'

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is getting immortalized in wax. Madame Tussauds in San Francisco announced this week the inventor will be the next techie to get the wax treatment, joining the likes of Apple’s Steve Jobs and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

In a statement, Wozniak said he is “incredibly excited” to be added to the San Francisco location and equally thrilled that he’ll be placed next to his former partner.

“I remember visiting the London Museum as a kid,” Wozniak said. “I can’t wait to see my figure next to Jobs—it’ll be just like old times.”

According to Madame Tussauds, now the fun part begins. Wozniak will have to sit for 2 to 3 hours and have 250 measurements taken to ensure his figure’s accuracy. It takes about three to four months to complete the process, after which Wozniak will appear at his sculpture’s release for a side-by-side comparison.

TIME Environment

California Drought Leads City to Cancel Fireworks

The football field where Cupertino residents typically gather to watch the display requires 100,000 gallons of water to prevent damage

California’s drought is putting a damper on one town’s Fourth of July festivities. The city of Cupertino in central California announced this week that its annual fireworks display had been canceled because the field where it’s held requires too much water.

According to the city, it takes 100,000 gallons of water to keep the Cupertino High School football field in good condition after the fireworks display.

In an effort to conserve water, the school’s district denied the city’s request to use the field for the 2015 festivities. Because the city couldn’t find an alternate site, officials had to cancel the fireworks.

The city’s spokesman told NBC News Bay Area that though people are upset about the cancellation, they generally understand.

“People are very disappointed,” Rick Kitson told NBC. “Who doesn’t love fireworks? But overall, I think they get it.”

The state of California is currently experiencing one of its most severe droughts. Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of an emergency in January and in April he issued an executive order calling for a 25% reduction in urban water usage.

TIME White House

President Obama Weighs In on Chicago Bulls Firing Coach

Obama says he's sad to see the Bulls head coach go

President Obama is sad to see Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau go, he said Thursday, responding to an off-the-cuff question about basketball during a brief Twitter Q&A.

Chat participant Akshar Patel was anxious to get the president’s thoughts on the breaking news regarding his hometown team, and being an avid Chicago Bulls fan, Obama naturally weighed in.

Obama’s Twitter chat had largely focused on the event’s main topic, climate change, until two participants tossed out questions on basketball, one of the President’s favorite subjects. Before the question on the Bulls, Nathen Vieira asked the President if the Cleveland Cavaliers’ JR Smith can outshoot the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry and lead the team to the championship. This was the President’s response:

Sadly, though, the president neglected to answer some equally pressing questions including:

POTUS, the people need answers.

 

TIME White House

Artist Behind ‘Hope’ Poster Is Disappointed in Obama

NY: 2014 National Arts Award
Clint Spaulding/Patrick McMullan—Sipa USA/AP Shepard Fairey attends the 2014 National Arts Award held at Cipriani 42nd St, New York City on October 20, 2014.

Shepard Fairey is critical of the President

Correction appended May 29, 2015

Shepard Fairey, the artist behind the iconic “Hope” portrait that became the unofficial symbol of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign for the White House, thinks the President fell short of America’s expectations.

“Obama has had a really tough time, but there have been a lot of things that he’s compromised on that I never would have expected,” Fairey said in an interview with Esquire. “I mean, drones and domestic spying are the last things I would have thought [he’d support].”

Fairey, a street artist and executive producer of MTV web series Rebel Music, told the magazine he thinks the president could have been braver throughout his eight years in office. But Fairey was also highly critical of lax rules on campaign contributions, which he said can lead those who write the biggest checks to believe they hold power over politicians.

“I’m not giving him a pass for not being more courageous, but I do think the entire system needs an overhaul and taking money out of politics would be a really good first step,” he said.

This isn’t the first time the artist has called out Obama for not living up to his campaign message of hope. In 2012, Fairey told the Guardian, “Obama hasn’t done as well as I hoped, but I created the poster with the understanding that people in office can only achieve so much.”

In 2013, he applauded a remixed version of his iconic poster that called out the President and National Security Agency in the wake of revelations that the agency collected data on Americans’ phone and web history in bulk.

“I have never been an unconditional Obama supporter or cheerleader,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “So I’m pleased to see people subvert my Obama images as a way to critique him and demonstrate the wide gap between some of his promises and actions.”

Correction: The original version of this story misidentified Shepard Fairey’s role in the web series Rebel Music. He is executive producer.

TIME Immigration

White House Hits Back at Appeals Court After Immigration Ruling

"Today, two judges of the Fifth Circuit chose to misinterpret the facts and the law"

The Obama Administration said it is weighing its options in the wake of an appeals court ruling that kept a block on the president’s executive action on immigration.

On Tuesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to lift an injunction of the president’s action to grant millions of undocumented immigrants temporary reprieve from deportation.

Texas and twenty-five other states are suing the Obama administration over the president’s immigration plan, and a federal judge in Texas blocked the action temporarily in February.

The appeals court on Tuesday rejected the federal government’s argument that the temporary hold is a threat to national security, but the White House accused judges of choosing to incorrectly apply the law. “Today, two judges of the Fifth Circuit chose to misinterpret the facts and the law in denying the government’s request for a stay,” spokesperson Brandi Hoffine said.

“The President’s actions were designed to bring greater accountability to our broken immigration system, grow the economy, and keep our communities safe. They are squarely within the bounds of his authority and they are the right thing to do for the country.”

The lone dissenter on the three-judge panel, Judge Higgison, defended the president’s action, saying that deportation deferrals have existed “for half a century” and that it wasn’t the judicial branch’s place to intervene.

The Department of Justice is evaluating the ruling and considering the appropriate next steps. It’s not immediately clear whether it will appeal. Though the appeals court decided not to remove the temporary block on the immigration plan, the Fifth Circuit Court has yet to rule on whether or not 26 states were right in their initial suit against the President’s order.

The order, it said in a statement, “is consistent with laws passed by Congress and decisions of the Supreme Court, as well as five decades of precedent by presidents of both parties who have used their authority to set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws.”

 

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