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.
Announcing details of the itinerary on Friday, the UK government disclosed that Trump will attend a black-tie dinner hosted by Prime Minister Theresa May at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of the UK's celebrated wartime leader. He will hold talks with May at her country retreat, and spend a night at the residence of the US ambassador in London. But in a break from custom for a visit by a foreign leader, he will not visit Downing Street.The US ambassador to London, Woody Johnson, rejected suggestions that the itinerary had been designed to avoid protestors. "The President is not avoiding anything," he told journalists. "The President is merely trying to get as impactful a trip as he can get in a 24 hour period."Johnson said the President would use mostly the Marine One helicopter to get around. "This is a short trip. It's absolutely packed with things that he has to do. There's a lot of organization planning that went into it."When a date for the UK trip — billed as a "working visit" rather than a state occasion — was finally confirmed last month, it ended a months-long back-and-forth over when Trump would at last pay a call on America's closest ally.According to the itinerary released by Downing Street, Trump will arrive in the UK early Thursday afternoon from a NATO summit in Brussels that could prove acrimonious, if last month's G7 summit is anything to go by. Later that evening, he will attend the Blenheim Palace dinner with First Lady Melania Trump.The guest list for the dinner includes business leaders from a range of sectors and is intended to celebrate the links between the two nations — set to take on new importance in a post-Brexit world.The Financial Times reported on Friday that a number of guests turned down an invitation to attend. The entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox told the FT: "I understand why the government have to entertain Trump but I certainly don't want to."The event will begin with a military parade featuring the bands of the Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards in the spectacular Great Court. The music will have an American flavor, with the "Liberty Fanfare" and the "National Emblem" chosen alongside "Amazing Grace."The Trumps will spend Thursday night at the US ambassador's residence, Winfield House, by Regent's Park in London. This will be the only time they venture into central London during a stay likely to be dominated by media coverage of mass protests in the capital Friday, as well as in towns and cities across the United Kingdom.London Mayor London Sadiq Khan has given the go-ahead for a giant "Trump Baby" balloon to be flown close to the UK Parliament during the President's visit. Organizers still need approval from the Metropolitan Police and the National Air Traffic Service for the six-meter-high (19 feet) orange balloon to fly.As busloads of anti-Trump protesters head to London on Friday morning, the US President and May will visit a defense site "to witness a demonstration of the UK's cutting-edge military capabilities and integrated UK-US military training," according to a spokeswoman for May.They will then travel to Chequers, the Prime Minister's official country retreat, for bilateral talks on foreign policy, to be followed by a news conference.Trump and the first lady will then go on to Windsor Castle to meet the Queen. While an honor, it is not the state dinner at Buckingham Palace that Trump could have expected when May triumphantly announced a state visit soon after he was inaugurated.On Friday evening, the Trumps will travel to Scotland, where the President owns two golf properties, Trump Turnberry and Trump Aberdeen. It's not yet been confirmed whether the President will play golf while there for the weekend.His next stop will be Helsinki, Finland, for a much-anticipated summit on July 16 with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A major British construction company is going into liquidation after failing to secure a financial lifeline.
Carillion(CIOIF), which employs 43,000 people around the world, said in a statement Monday that rescue talks with stakeholders including the British government had collapsed.
"We have been unable to secure the funding to support our business plan, and it is therefore with the deepest regret that we have arrived at this decision," Carillion Chairman Philip Green said in the statement.
Carillion, which has roughly 19,000 workers in Britain and 10,000 in Canada, has its roots in the construction business. Roughly three-quarters of its sales come from the U.K., where it has hundreds of contracts with the government.
The company also builds infrastructure for high speed rail and power distribution projects, and provides government services such as road maintenance and hospital management.
Global sales hit £5.2 billion ($7.2 billion) in 2016, according to the latest annual figures. Its shares, which had been worth as much as £4.57 ($6.30) in late 2007, slumped to trade as low as £0.12 ($0.17) last week after a series of warnings about its finances.
Green said that the U.K. government would provide funds to keep the company's public services operational, including school lunches and prison management.
David Lidington, the top minister at the U.K. government's Cabinet Office, said in a written statement that his priority was to keep essential public services running.
"All [Carillion] employees should keep coming to work, you will continue to get paid," he said. "Staff that are engaged on public sector contracts still have important work to do."
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
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."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.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
In a statement, Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said that following the exit from the European Union, British passports would be changed back to their "original" appearance, a blue and gold design from before the UK joined the EU.The blue passports will be issued from October 2019.Lewis said he was "delighted" to announce the decision and called the move symbolic. "Leaving the EU gives us a unique opportunity to restore our national identity and forge a new path for ourselves in the world," he said.Related: Europe says Brexit transition must end in 2020They will have additional security features that include top-of-the-line anti-fraud technology, he added. The new passports will be phased in slowly, with current British passport holders able to continue using their burgundy passports until they expire.After the scheduled Brexit in March 2019, the burgundy passports will continue to be printed, but without the words "European Union."By October 2019, all new British passports will be printed in the blue and gold coloring, which dates back to the original UK passport design from 1921.On Twitter, some said the announcement spoke to a broader divide around Brexit. Gordon McKee, a Scottish Labour party press officer, wrote, "This sums up the unfortunate generational divide on Brexit. I'm not getting a blue passport 'back,' I've never had one. I have though had a passport that allows me visa free travel across Europe all of my life."Comedian Simon Blackwell reacted to the news with a dose of sarcasm. "Why do we need any colour passport? We should just be able to shout, 'British! Less of your nonsense!' and stroll straight through," he wrote.Brexiteers welcomed the decision, including Conservative member of Parliament Michael Fabricant, and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who had called for an end to using the burgundy passport in the run-up to the referendum in 2016.In April, Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell told the Press Association that the burgundy passport subjected the nation to "humiliation.""The humiliation of having a pink European Union passport will now soon be over and the United Kingdom nationals can once again feel pride and self-confidence in their own nationality when travelling, just as the Swiss and Americans can do. National identity matters and there is no better way of demonstrating this today than by bringing back this much-loved national symbol when travelling overseas," Rosindell said.
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!”
Navalny wrote that he was released until a court hearing, but did not provide details on when the hearing would be held. He also thanked demonstrators who had gathered near the detention center where he was being held. Navalny, a longtime critic of President Vladimir Putin, was arrested earlier Sunday during nationwide rallies protesting what the opposition leader calls rigged presidential elections set to take place on March 18. "I've been detained. This doesn't matter. Come to Tverskaya (Street). You are not going there for me, it's for you and your future," Navalny tweeted after his arrest.Within minutes of arriving at Pushkinskaya Square, where hundreds of protesters had gathered, Navalny was wrestled into a patrol van by police, in dramatic footage posted on Youtube.Moscow Police said Navalny was taken to a police station for arraignment on charges of illegally organizing a protest. If found guilty, he faces 30 days in detention and a fine. Coordinating protests in the largest country in the world by land mass is no small task, and the Russian Interior Ministry said events coordinated with local authorities were held in 46 places.Demonstrations have ranged from gatherings of a few dozen in remote areas to about a thousand people in central Moscow–which the Interior Ministry described as an "uncoordinated mass demonstration." Protesters also turned out in arctic areas of the country, where the temperature during winter is around -40 degrees, said CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Moscow.Elsewhere, there were 600 demonstrators in Russia's third-most populous city, Novosibirsk, and 550 protesters in Nizhny Novgorod in western Russia, the ministry said."I am proud of all those who joined us today in any capacity: from Magadan to Sochi. From the FBK office to the headquarters in Kemerovo. From Krasnodar to Yakutsk, where the meeting took place at -40. These are real citizens," Navalny said in a Facebook post."Be real citizens. Go out to the demo in your city."
Police interrupt broadcast
Earlier Navalny said police forced their way into his Moscow office hours before the protests were due to take place. He said police sawed through the door of the office's studio during a YouTube broadcast Sunday morning."In order to take down our broadcast, the police cut out the door to the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) office, and then began to saw the door to the studio right in the middle of broadcast," he said in a Facebook post."Do you know the formal reason? Dmitry Nizovtsev, the host, was accused of planting a bomb (without actually going off air, we must assume), and it was necessary to cut the doors ASAP in order to find this bomb."And then they detained him. Watch it, it's a good example of what the Russian police has become."CNN contacted the Moscow police, but officials there said they "have no information regarding the raids."Eight staff members from Navalny's Moscow offices were detained in the raid and were among 185 people arrested across the country, according to independent monitoring group OVD-Info. They included the head of Navalny's Moscow headquarters, Nikolay Lyaskin, who was grabbed by police on his way out of the office, according to Navalny press secretary Kira Yarmysh.During the raid, police also seized computers and cameras from the office, tweeted the director of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, Roman Rubanov.
Navalny's weapon of choice
Putin controls and dominates Russian State TV, where there has so far been no mention of the demonstrations.Instead, Navalny and his supporters have turned to YouTube to get their message out, with over 50,000 people watching his live feed as of Sunday morning.
Who is Alexei Navalny?
Navalny, Russia's best-known opposition leader, was barred from running in the upcoming elections after a 2017 criminal conviction for embezzlement. Critics say the case against the 41-year-old was politically motivated.In an exclusive interview with CNN at his Moscow headquarters last week, Navalny accused the Putin administration of being "built on corruption" and warned of growing impatience for political change. "Putin has been in power for 18 years now," he said. "People are not ready to wait another six years, then another six, then another."The Kremlin has rejected allegations of widespread, high-level corruption and has condemned Navalny as a dangerous influence whose calls for protests could plunge Russia into chaos.
CNN's Antonia Mortensen, Fred Pleitgen, Carol Jordan and Dakin Andone contributed to this report
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.
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.
The videos, posted by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, a far-right and ultra-nationalist political group, depict purported Muslims assaulting people and, in one video, smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary.Trump, who has previously warned that immigration from Muslim-majority nations threatens European and US security, frequently retweets other messages whose political views he finds favorable. But he has seldom shared messages as offensive and explosive as he did on Wednesday, and the retweets were immediately met with outrage in the United Kingdom and resulted in a rare rebuke from the British government toward its American ally.Fransen reacted jubilantly online, touting that the videos had been shared with Trump's nearly 44 million followers. "GOD BLESS YOU TRUMP!" she wrote in all caps. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders defended Trump's retweets, telling reporters that he shared them to start a conversation about border security and immigration."I think his goal is to promote strong borders and strong national security," Sanders told a small group of reporters after appearing on Fox News.Sanders also downplayed questions about whether the videos were authentic, because "the threat is real.""That is what the President is talking about, that is what the President is focused on, is dealing with those real threats, and those are real no matter how you look at it," she said.One of the videos purports to show a young "Muslim migrant" attacking a boy on crutches. The Dutch attorney general's office, which handled the case, said the incident occurred in May and the suspect was born and raised in the Netherlands. A spokesperson would not comment on the suspect's religion, saying it was against their policy to share such information.Sanders said she didn't know how Trump came across the videos, but conservative commentator Ann Coulter, who is one of the 45 accounts Trump follows, had retweeted Tuesday one of the clips shared by Fransen.Fransen was found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment in November 2016 after abusing a Muslim woman wearing a hijab while she was with her four children. She was fined by the court and ordered to pay costs. In a separate development, Fransen was also charged over using "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior" during a speech she made in Belfast in Northern Ireland. She is set to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court on December 14.
Outrage in UK
Trump's retweets were leading several major British news websites Wednesday morning, and officials condemned him on Twitter. A spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Theresa May said Trump was "wrong" to share the videos, adding that "Britain First seeks to divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions.""British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far-right, which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents — decency, tolerance and respect," added the spokesperson, who also said Trump's upcoming 2018 state visit for now remains on.A senior member of May's Conservative government, Communities secretary Sajid Javid also tweeted about the issue, writing: "So POTUS has endorsed the views of a vile, hate-filled racist organisation that hates me and people like me. He is wrong and I refuse to let it go and say nothing."The Muslim Council of Britain slammed Trump in a statement, saying the retweets were "the clearest endorsement yet from the US President of the far-right and their vile anti-Muslim propaganda. The US-based Council on American-Islamic Relations similarly condemned Trump's retweets, saying he is "clearly telling members of his base that they should hate Islam and Muslims."Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK opposition Labour Party, called the retweets "abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to our society." Labour lawmaker David Lammy told the President he was "not welcome in my country and my city."Brendan Cox, the husband of Jo Cox, the British MP who was murdered last year by a man who reportedly shouted "Britain First" as he attacked her, tweeted, "Trump has legitimized the far right in his own country, now he's trying to do it in ours. Spreading hatred has consequences & the President should be ashamed of himself."Asked about Trump's retweets on CNN's "New Day," former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he found them "bizarre and disturbing.""I think it causes friends and allies to question where is he coming from with this. So it has all kinds of ripple effects both in terms of perhaps inciting or encouraging anti-Muslim violence, and as well, causes, I think, our friends and allies to wonder about the judgment of the President of the United States," he said.One person who applauded Trump's Twitter actions: former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, who tweeted, "Thank God for Trump! That's why we love him!"
Trump's call for travel ban
Trump has repeatedly used examples of terrorism and immigration in Europe to bolster his case for a travel ban in the United States against several Muslim-majority nations. The travel ban would not affect travel from the United Kingdom. On September 15, the President reacted on Twitter to a terrorist attack in London, calling the terrorists "sick and demented people," ending the tweet by declaring, "Must be proactive!"He also added to his tweet that he would like to see a stronger travel ban: "The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!"Several versions of Trump's travel ban have been tied up in court battles. The Supreme Court is currently considering whether to allow all of the third version of the ban to go into effect pending appeal. Trump's previous comments about Muslims have been cited in court rulings blocking previous versions of the ban, and it's possible his retweets on Wednesday could be cited in the future.As a candidate, Trump called for a "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the US and often cited Muslim migration to Europe as his justification, tweeting in December 2015 that the UK was "trying hard to disguise their massive Muslim problem."The President has also been critical of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the past for her handling of immigration into Germany. "What's happening in Germany, I always thought Merkel was like this great leader. What she's done in Germany is insane. It is insane. They're having all sorts of attacks," Trump said in an October 2015 interview.
CNN's Tom Lumley, Maegan Vazquez, Ariane de Vogue, Dan Merica, Donie O'Sullivan, Eliza Mackintosh and Vasco Cotovio contributed to this report.