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Alex Salmond resigns from party after sexual misconduct allegations

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Salmond announced Wednesday on Twitter that he was resigning from the Scottish National Party (SNP), which he once led, while he fights to clear his name.He has strenuously denied two claims of sexual harassment, and is taking the country's government to court over its handling of the accusations against him. Salmond set up a crowdfunding page online with a target of £50,000 ($65,000) to meet his legal fees in the case. Supporters had pledged more than £67,000 ($87,000) by 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.However, Salmond faced criticism from some quarters for asking ordinary people to contribute from their own pockets. Scottish Labour lawmaker Rhoda Grant tweeted: "That an independently wealthy man with his celebrity and political power is raising legal fees through crowdfunding for a case ultimately linked to sexual harassment is unbelievable."Scottish Conservative lawmaker Annie Wells said Salmond had "some brass neck" to publicly crowdfund for his legal fees."There is something deeply unsettling about an independently wealthy man asking ordinary people for money so he can take the government of Scotland to court for investigating allegations of sexual assault against staff," she said, in a statement tweeted by her party.The controversy has split the ruling SNP between Salmond loyalists and those who back the government's handling of the allegations, which emerged weeks after the government introduced new procedures for filing sexual harassment complaints.Salmond said his resignation was an effort to remove a potential line of attack against the SNP, and said he planned to reapply for membership after he cleared his name. The Scottish First Minister, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, said in a statement posted to Twitter on Wednesday that she felt "huge sadness" about the situation that had engulfed her friend and mentor of almost 30 years.However, she said while the party hadn't received any complaints, the fact remained that two allegations had been made against Salmond to the government that "could not be ignored or swept under the carpet.""Complaints must be investigated without fear or favour, regardless of the seniority of the person involved," she added.The complaints relate to Salmond's alleged behavior at the first minister's official Bute House residence, according to the Daily Record, but Salmond says that even he hasn't been informed of the details.Last week he announced he was taking the government to court, claiming it had denied him the opportunity to defend himself against the claims, by failing to share the evidence against him. Salmond pointed out that the Scottish government had confirmed that it hadn't received any complaints before January, more than three years after he left office as first minister, and after a political career spanning decades."That is the record of 30 years of public service. So, let me be clear again. I refute these two complaints of harassment and I absolutely reject any suggestion of criminality," he said.He said he believes opposition parties had been pressuring Sturgeon to suspend him from the SNP, as part of efforts to undermine party unity. "I did not come into politics to facilitate opposition attacks on the SNP," he said. "Most of all I am conscious that if the party felt forced into suspending me it would cause substantial internal division." Salmond resigned as first minister and SNP leader after a defeat in the November 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, which he had championed.Sturgeon, who replaced him, has maintained the party's dominance in Scotland but not to the degree seen before the referendum. One of the highest-profile casualties of a swing away from the SNP was Salmond himself, who lost his parliamentary seat in the 2017 election.Salmond has remained a major figure in both Scottish and British politics despite leaving Parliament. He works as a commentator and hosts the Alex Salmond Show on Russian state broadcaster RT.

CNN's James Griffiths and Richard Greene contributed to this report.

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Covid-19: ‘There is no choice between lives and livelihoods,’ OECD chief Gurría says

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Issued on:

As European countries move into their second Covid-19 lockdowns of the year, the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development backs measures seen by many as tough. Ángel Gurría tells FRANCE 24: "If you win the battle against the virus first, you will have less economic consequences." He adds that "there is no choice between lives and livelihoods; it's a false dilemma".

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Mexican economist Ángel Gurría has been Secretary-General of the OECD since 2006 – throughout the global financial crash and subsequent recovery.

With hopes now high for viable vaccines against Covid-19, he's telling world leaders that the solutions to health and economic crises must carry the elements of our solutions to the environmental crisis too: "The single most important inter-generational responsibility is with the planet. That means the recovery, where we are going to make investments that have an impact for the next 30, 40 years, must absolutely have the sustainability of the planet in mind".

On the recently announced Pfizer vaccine, Gurría says: "It is a game changer […] The possibility of a vaccine being close is of enormous consequence. We still have to wait for it to be finalised, approved and distributed in sufficient amounts that it can get everywhere, so we are calculating that we are going to spend most of 2021 still living with the virus. But it changes expectations; the whole mood has improved considerably since the announcement."

On the refusal of Donald Trump, leader of the OECD's biggest single funder, to concede defeat in the US presidential election, Gurría sounds an upbeat note: "I believe that we will have an orderly transition of power in the United States come 20th January 2021. I believe in the institutions in the United States, I believe that the political forces in the United States will eventually align."

Finally, as talks drag on over a new Brexit deal on the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom, Gurría says he still expects a deal to be struck: "I believe that the common interest will lead to a deal […] The impact in Europe is going to be limited to the trade with the UK. The impact in the UK is going to be very serious, not only because of the flows of trade and flows of investment, but also because the overall business mood will be affected. So I am still counting on a deal."

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Prince dies, refused to be buried with queen

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The 83-year-old prince, who was hospitalized in Januarywith a lung infection after being diagnosed with dementia last September, had previously said he did not wish to be buried beside his wife over the refusal to name him king.The French-born prince has been unhappy with his title since being named prince consort — rather than king consort — upon the couple's marriage in 1967."It is no secret that the prince for many years has been unhappy with his role and the title he has been awarded in the Danish monarchy. This discontent has grown more and more in recent years," the palace's communications chief, Lene Balleby, told Danish tabloid BT in August last year. "For the prince, the decision not to be buried beside the queen is the natural consequence of not having been treated equally to his spouse — by not having the title and role he has desired."Prince Henrik (second left) with his family in 2015.Balleby added that the decision had been accepted by the queen.CNN contacted the Danish Royal House for comment on where Prince Henrik will be buried, but did not receive an immediate reply.Queen Margrethe, 77, is still expected to be buried at the Roskilde Cathedral in a sarcophagus created by Danish artist Bjørn Nørgaard.

Family by his side

Queen Margrethe and the couple's two sons, Prince Frederick and Prince Joachim, were with Prince Henrik when he died at the royal residence Fredensborg Palace, on the Danish island of Zealand, a palace statement said.After being hospitalized for a lung infection last month, the prince was discharged Tuesday to spend his "last days" at home, according to Danish media. The prince, who retired from public life last year, was born Henri Marie Jean André de Laborde de Monpezat in a suburb of Bordeaux, France, in 1934.Prince Henrik enjoys a drink with Queen Margrethe at their summer residence in Caix, France, 2006.In his early 30s, Prince Henrik worked in the Asia section of the French Ministry of Affairs at the French embassy in London. It was during this time, in 1965, that he first met then-Princess Margrethe at a dinner party of mutual friends. They were engaged in 1966 and married the following year.In a period of mourning, the Royal Family will not participate in "social or entertaining events" until March 14, the family said in a statement.A previous version of this article misspelled Lene Balleby's family name and left out a word in her second quote. Both errors have been corrected.

CNN's James Masters and Hilary McGann contributed to this report

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Qatari royals’ jewels stolen in Venice

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Written by By Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Lorenzo D'AgostinoNicola Ruotolo, CNNRome

In a plot worthy of a Hollywood heist film, thieves mingled with other visitors to an exhibition in Venice on Wednesday before brazenly making off with gems of "indisputably elevated value," the canal city's police chief said.

The working theory being developed by investigating officers suggests that at least two people entered the Doge's Palace — a popular tourist spot in Venice where a selection of Indian jewelry from the Qatari royal collection was on display to the public.

One suspect acted as lookout while the other grabbed the jewels from a display case, police believe.

A poster indicating the precious display hangs from Venice's Doge's Palace.Credit: Andrea Merola/AP

Venice Police Chief Vito Danilo Gagliardi said that the stolen items were a pair of earrings and a brooch made of diamonds, gold and platinum. The pieces — owned by Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani — were snatched in the bold daytime robbery on the last day of the exhibit.

A preliminary investigation revealed that the pair were able to delay the alarm system for one minute so it wasn't triggered until the thieves were making their escape, Gagliardi said. He described the culprits as "skilled."

"They were certainly well prepared and hit in a targeted way," Gagliardi said.

The police chief suggested the jewels would be difficult to sell on because of their international recognition and might, therefore, be disassembled and sold separately.

Over 270 pieces of Indian Mughal jewelry dated from the 16th to the 20th century were being shown to the public. Credit: Andrea Merola/AP

Putin files re-election bid as Kremlin critic calls for protests

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Putin, who has served as either Prime Minister or President of Russia since 1999, filed papers that pave the way for him to rule until 2024.The former KGB leader, who has dominated Russian politics for two decades, is likely to score a comfortable win — his only serious opponent, Alexey Navalny, was barred from standing against him due to a fraud conviction.Navalny called for a day protests on January 28. Writing on his blog on Wednesday, Navalny urged his supporters to "refuse to call Putin's reassignment an election." "We do not want to wait another six years. We want competitive elections right now," he wrote. The opposition leader's call to action comes just days after Russia's Central Election Commission (CEC) rejected his bid to enter the country's presidential race, citing a previous embezzlement conviction according to state-run media outlet RIA-Novosti.The decision to bar Navalny from the race came as no surprise. The 41-year old's candidacy was unlikely as Russian law prevents convicted criminals from running for public office. Navalny says his prosecution was politically motivated.Navalny has been instrumental in a political awakening of the country's youth, tapping into deep seated frustrations among supporters that have grown up in a sluggish economy and under endemic corruption.Support for the Russian dissident has been mobilized by a robust social media presence, dedicated teams of grassroots campaigners seen across the country, and Navalny Live, a live-streaming companion to his original YouTube channel that has more than 1.6 million subscribers. Those YouTube videos galvanized supporters to join in on the biggest anti-government protests that Russia has seen in years last March. Thousands joined rallies in almost 100 cities across the country; Navalny was arrested and jailed for 15 days. In October, thousands of people attended marches in 26 cities against Putin on the leader's 65th birthday.At his annual press conference earlier this month, Putin said his aim was for Russia to have a "competitive" and "balanced" political system, but it wasn't his responsibility to create political opponents."I want this," Putin said, "and I will strive for a balanced political system and that is impossible without competition in the political field."The election commission will rule on the validity of Putin's registration in the next few days, with an election set for March 2018.

CNN's Pamela Boykoff, Darya Tarasova and Clare Sebastian in Moscow contributed to this report.

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Pilots, civilians given life terms over Turkey’s 2016 coup

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A Turkish court sentenced several military and civilian personnel at an air base to life prison sentences Thursday, proclaiming them guilty of involvement in a failed coup attempt in 2016, the state-run news agency reported.

A total of 475 defendants, including generals and fighter jet pilots at the Akinci air base, on the outskirts of the capital Ankara, were on trial for the past three years, accused of directing the coup and bombing key government buildings, including a section of the parliament building.

The massive trial was one of two main trials against suspected members of a network led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating the failed attempt.

Gulen, who was also named among the defendants, has denied involvement in the coup that resulted in around 220 deaths and injured thousands. About 30 coup-plotters were also killed.

The court convicted four men — civilians accused of being the go-between Gulen’s movement and some military officers — of crimes against the state, attempts to kill the president and murder, and sentenced them to 79 separate life sentences, the Anadolu Agency reported.

At least 21 defendants — pilots and commanders — were also given life sentences, Anadolu reported. Sentences for other defendants were still being read out.

The court ruled for Gulen, an alleged top operative in his movement, and four other defendants still wanted by the Turkish authorities to be tried separately over the charges.

Prosecutors accused the coup-plotters of using Akinci air base as their headquarters. Turkey’s then military chief, Gen. Hulusi Akar, who is the current defense minister, and other commanders were held captive for several hours at the base on the night of the coup.

The prosecutors charged the defendants with attempts against the state and the constitutional order, an attempt to assassinate the president, leading a terrorist organization and murder, among other charges.

The trial, which opened on Aug. 1, 2017, was part of a post-coup crackdown that has imprisoned around 77,000 people and seen another 130,000 fired from their government jobs.

On the opening day, dozens of the defendants were paraded into the courthouse handcuffed, with two paramilitary police officers on each arm, as some protesters threw stones and shouted “Murderers!”

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It claims that the deal is likely to be ‘against the public interest’

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Murdoch-Trump and the Disney-Fox deal

A U.K. regulator is recommending that the government block Rupert Murdoch's planned $16 billion takeover of Sky TV in its current form.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said in a statement Tuesday that the proposed deal by Murdoch's 21st Century Fox(FOX) is likely to be "against the public interest" because it would give the mogul too much control over British media.

"Media plurality goes to the heart of our democratic process. It is very important that no group or individual should have too much control of our news media or too much power to affect the political agenda," said Anne Lambert, chair of the regulator's investigations group.

The CMA's recommendation is provisional. Its final report will be submitted to U.K. Culture Secretary Matt Hancock by May 1. He will then have to decide whether to block Murdoch.

If he does, Disney(DIS) — which is buying most of 21st Century Fox — would end up owning Fox's existing 39% stake in Sky. Disney would then have to decide whether to make its own offer for the remaining 61%.

The CMA proposed steps 21st Century Fox could take to address its concerns, including spinning off Sky News.

The British government asked the regulator in September to examine the Sky takeover because of concerns that the deal would concentrate too much power in the hands of the Murdoch family.

Murdoch already owns three of Britain's biggest newspapers: The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times.

Related: Disney is buying itself a messy TV deal in Europe

21st Century Fox said in a statement Tuesday that it was "disappointed" by the CMA's provisional findings and would continue to engage with the regulator.

Countries expelling Russian diplomats

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Diplomats are being kicked out of more than 20 countries — including 18 European Union states, the United States and Canada — in a coordinated effort that represents a significant diplomatic victory for the UK, which blames Russia in the March 4 poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, England.The UK has already expelled 23 Russian diplomats. Moscow retaliated by sending the same number of UK diplomats back, and by shuttering British cultural institutions in the country. Here's what each country is doing:

European Union nations

Belgium: A Foreign Ministry spokesman told CNN the country would expel one diplomat to show solidarity with the UK.Croatia: Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said Croatia would expel one diplomat.Czech Republic: The Czech Republic will expel three diplomats, Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Foreign Minister Martin Stropnicky announced at a press conference. The Czech Foreign Ministry tweeted that it declared the diplomats "personae non gratae."Denmark: The Foreign Ministry announced two diplomats would be expelled. "We stand shoulder to shoulder with Britain and clearly say no to Russia at a time when Russia is also in threatening and seeking to undermine Western values and the rule-based international order in other areas," Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said. Estonia: TheEstonia Foreign Ministry told CNN one Russian diplomat, a defense attaché, would be expelled. Finland: Finland will expel one diplomat, its Foreign Ministry said. France: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced the expulsion of four diplomats, who must leave the country within a week. He said that the decision followed the European Council's conclusions that the attack "posed a serious threat to our collective security" and that France was acting "in solidarity with our British partners."Germany: The German Foreign Ministry said Monday it would expel four diplomats. "In close coordination within the European Union and with NATO allies, the Federal Government has decided to ask four Russian diplomats to leave Germany within seven days. The request was sent to the Russian Embassy today," the ministry said in a statement.Hungary: The Foreign Ministry said Hungary would expel one diplomat over "what has been discussed at the European Council meeting," adding that the diplomat was "also conducting intelligence activities."Ireland: One Russian diplomat has been expelled, Ireland's minister for foreign affairs and trade, Simon Coveney, said in a statement Tuesday.Italy: The Italian Foreign Ministry said it will expel two diplomats from the Russian Embassy in Rome "as a sign of solidarity with the United Kingdom and in coordination with the European partners and NATO." Latvia: The Foreign Ministry told CNN it would expel one diplomat and one private citizen who runs the office of a Russian company in the capital, Riga. Lithuania: Foreign Affairs Minister Linas Linkevicius said on Twitter the country would expel three diplomats "in solidarity with the UK over #SalisburyAttack." Lithuania would also sanction an additional 21 individuals and ban 23 more from entering the country.Luxembourg: The country's Foreign Ministry said that it was recalling its ambassador to Moscow.Netherlands: Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the expulsion of two diplomats, saying the use of chemical weapons was unacceptable.Poland: Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it would expel four diplomats and said the attack showed how "a similar immediate threat to the territory and citizens of EU and NATO member states can happen anywhere."Romania: Romania's Foreign Ministry said on Twitter that one diplomat would be expelled.Spain: The Foreign Ministry said Spain would expel two diplomats. "From the outset, we have considered the nerve agent attack in Salisbury to be an extremely serious development that represents a significant threat to our collective security and to international law," the ministry said on Twitter.Sweden: The Foreign Ministry told CNN it would expel one diplomat.

Non-EU countries

Albania: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs told CNN it would expel two Russian diplomats. In a statement, the ministry called each diplomat a "persona non grata" and said the pair's activities were "not compliant to their diplomatic status."Australia: The government released a statement saying that it would expel two Russian diplomats "for actions inconsistent with their status, pursuant to the Vienna Conventions." The two diplomats must leave Australia within seven days, according to the statement.Canada: Ottawa said it was expelling four Russian diplomats alleged to be intelligence officers "or individuals who have used their diplomatic status to undermine Canada's security or interfere in our democracy." Additionally it was refusing three applications by Moscow for additional diplomatic staff. "The nerve agent attack represents a clear threat to the rules-based international order and to the rules that were established by the international community to ensure chemical weapons would never again destroy human lives," Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said. Macedonia: The Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it would be expelling one Russian diplomat in response to the Skripal case. Moldova: The Foreign Ministry told CNN on Tuesday that it would expel three Russian diplomats and that they must leave the country within seven days. Montenegro: The Balkan state will expel one Russian diplomat, the government said in a tweet Wednesday. Norway: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs told CNN it would expel one Russian diplomat in response to the attack. "The use of a nerve agent in Salisbury is a very serious matter," Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said in a statement. "Such an incident must have consequences." Ukraine:President Petro Poroshenko said Ukraine, which has experienced years of hostility from Russia, including the annexation of Crimea, would expel 13 diplomats. "Russia has again reconfirmed its disdainful attitude to the sovereignty of independent states and the value of human life," Poroshenko said. United States: The White House said it was expelling 60 Russian diplomats identified as intelligence agents and also announced the closure of the Russian Consulate in Seattle. It represents the most forceful action that President Donald Trump has taken against Russia to date. Of those being expelled, 48 of the alleged intelligence agents work at the Russian Embassy in Washington and 12 are posted at the United Nations in New York, senior administration officials said.

CNN's Sheena McKenzie, Sebastian Shukla, Zahra Ullah, Carol Jordan and Nada Bashir contributed to this report.

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Supersonic, nuclear, with lasers

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(CNN) — From blended wing airliners powered by nuclear fusion to a new generation of spacecraft designed to carry tourists to the moon, it's hard not to be mesmerized by Oscar Viñals' boldly ambitious aircraft designs.

The Barcelona-based designer's futuristic concepts resemble something from a science fiction film. But the designer isn't affiliated with NASA or any other aerospace research organization.

He doesn't even hold a degree in aerospace engineering. However, his daring visions of the future have captured the imaginations of flying enthusiasts the world over.

"Technology often comes in radical waves of disruption, rather than through progressive change," he tells CNN Travel.

Futuristic concepts

None of Viñals' concepts are likely to become a reality anytime soon.

For them to come to fruition, the technologies that would make them possible would need to move beyond the purely conceptual stage.

Yet he remains adamant about the feasibility of his designs — from a theoretical point of view at least.

"I don't intend my designs to be just beautiful or eye-catching," says the designer, who's spent most of his professional career as a freelance graphic designer for competitive motor racing teams.

"Every one of them is backed by in-depth research and the expectation that one day they can serve as the basis of a real project.

"Clean aircraft, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, portable nuclear fusion, active flux control systems.

"Many of these things are now in laboratories, at concept stage, and I think much of this will eventually become a reality."

Self-taught designer

Viñals' ambitious, speculative designs seem well suited to the times, when nascent, disruptive technologies are starting to redefine what we can expect from the aviation industry in decades to come.

His lack of formal aerospace engineering background hasn't proved to be an obstacle either, as he's immersed himself in an intensive self-study program.

Viñals has also invested considerable sums of money in state-of-the-art tools, such as professional-grade aircraft design software.

The Magnavem concept aircraft is powered by a compact fusion reactor.

Courtesy Oscar Viñals

The result is an eclectic mix that fits Viñals' vision of a future where different technologies evolve in parallel, each covering a specific market niche.

"For shorter journeys we will use electric and hybrid aircraft of different sizes, while for longer distances we may have hypersonic aircraft that go suborbital — an option for the most affluent or adventurous passengers — or supersonic aircraft able to carry a few hundred people," he tells CNN Travel.

"The latter could be powered by new propulsion technologies such as compact fusion reactors or ramjet systems.

"Finally, giant aircraft with up to three floors powered by hybrid engines could be like the ocean liners of yesteryear, carrying hundreds of passengers at any one time."

Limitless possibilities

A common thread throughout Viñals' portfolio, besides the dazzling nature of the designs, is a focus on environmentally-friendly technologies.

Take the AWWA Sky Whale, an aircraft design with self-repairing wings that can carry 755 passengers, for example — or the AWWA-QG Progress Eagle, a triple-decker aircraft with zero carbon emissions.

Take a first look at the AWWA-QG Progress Eagle, a concept aircraft that would generate its own electricity and be 75% quieter than current airliners.

He's enthusiastic about the prospects for nuclear fusion as a zero-emissions source of energy with virtually limitless possibilities.

"Yes, it's still years away, but far from being in the realm of fantasy, even big names in the industry are investing in this," he says.

"Lockheed Martin, for example, has been working on a portable nuclear fusion reactor for quite a few years."

In fact, Viñals' aircraft are not only emissions-free, but would also make a positive contribution towards keeping our skies clean.

Some of his concepts would be fitted with a device to capture and withdraw carbon from the atmosphere and he's even envisioned a laser-fitted aircraft that would be able to pulverize all sorts of man-made debris from space (MKS-1B LSJC Space Debris Cleaner).

Of course, only time will tell how much of this will one day become a reality.

Viñals has been approached by firms and investors active in the field of aerospace innovation with a view to tapping into his creativity and insights and opening up a way for him to make aircraft design a full-time occupation.

But in the meantime, it's clear that he intends to continue envisioning a perhaps not-so-distant future.

Miquel Ros is an aviation blogger and consultant. An economist by background, he's worked for Flightglobal and Bloomberg. He currently covers the airline industry through Allplane.tv.

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Trump’s 2017, in 17 tweets

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When it's been suggested he set his phone aside and more meticulously manage his message, Trump reacts angrily. And, on occasion, philosophically. "My use of social media is not Presidential," he wrote on July 1, "it's MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL." As Trump's presidency has leapt from controversy to scandal to achievement and, inevitably, back home to grievance — it's been a path few can reliably predict, but one we can trace via his telltale Twitter feed. Here are 17 tweets that (begin to) tell the story of the White House in 2017.

1. "If something happens blame him …"

Tweeting on Super Bowl Sunday, Trump lashed out at a federal judge who put a nationwide hold on his first travel ban. That executive order would have barred citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for 90 days and suspended the entire US refugee program for 120 days, with Syrian refugees locked out indefinitely. But it set off mass protests and was soon tied up in the courts. The Supreme Court has allowed a third iteration of the ban to go into effect pending appeal.

2. "… enemy of the American people…"

Trump vilified the press throughout the campaign and carried on, undeterred, into the White House. Still, this tweet marked a jarring escalation between his administration and those who cover it.

3. "… Obama had my 'wires tapped'…"

Trump's view of himself as the persecuted enemy of the "deep state" is on early display here, as he alleges that former President Barack Obama ordered a wiretap of his campaign headquarters. The White House never produced any evidence to back the claim and both James Comey, before his firing, and Trump's own Justice Department have said they're not aware any exists.

4. "We must fight them …"

Relations are cuddlier today, with Republicans in the House and Senate delivering a tax bill to Trump before the holidays, but the failed effort to repeal Obamacare exposed rifts in the party — and set off a series of Twitter tantrums. Trump has repeatedly excoriated GOP lawmakers, in public, over their opposition to his agenda.

5. "James Comey better hope …"

Days after firing the former FBI director, Trump suggested there might be recordings of their White House discussions. The claim prompted Comey to speak up and share details of those conversations, including one in which he alleges Trump asked him to lay off former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.On June 22, Trump tweeted that he "did not make, and do not have, any such recordings."

6. "… the single greatest witch hunt …"

On Wednesday night, May 17, the Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee a federal investigation into Russia, the 2016 campaign and any potential collusion between Moscow and the Trump team. That evening, the White House released a statement from the President.It read: "As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know — there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country."Then morning came — and with it, the tweets.

7. "…from a face-lift."

Trump has directed many of his nastiest Twitter attacks at high-profile women. In particular, those who might speak ill of him on television. On a Thursday morning in late June, he set his sights on "Morning Joe" co-anchor Mika Brzezinski, who along with co-host Joe Scarborough had abandoned their once chummy relationship with Trump as the 2016 campaign ramped up. "I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore)," he tweeted. "Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came…to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!"

8. "… our beleaguered A.G …"

By all accounts, Trump is still knotted up in anger over Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all things Russia — a move that helped pave the way for the appointment of a special counsel. A day before this tweet, Trump griped that it was "very sad" how Republicans were doing "very little to protect their President." Trump's view of loyalty, and the resentment he feels when it's not delivered in full, has propelled a number of his most damaging missteps.

9. "After consultation with my Generals and military experts …"

He continued: "…Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you."In a flurry of morning tweets, Trump in late July announced plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals serving "in any capacity" in the US armed forces. Federal judges have since blocked subsequent action and the Pentagon plans on enlisting transgender recruits in 2018. But the ad hoc declaration stirred up a mostly dormant culture war surrounding LGBT service at a time when top military officials seemed content with opening up the ranks.

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