Ex-admiral turns down US national security adviser job: reports

Robert Harward. (U.S. Marines/Handout via Reuters)
Updated 17 February 2017
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Ex-admiral turns down US national security adviser job: reports

WASHINGTON: A former navy admiral reportedly tapped by President Donald Trump to be his national security adviser has declined the post, US media said on Thursday.
Robert Harward’s rejection leaves President Donald Trump without a replacement for retired general Michael Flynn, who resigned over a scandal involving his links with the Russian ambassador in Washington.
Officially Harward said he had turned down the job because of family and financial commitments.
However several US media outlets, including CNN and Politico, reported late Thursday that Harward was unhappy because he had no guarantees that the National Security Council — and not Trump’s political advisers — would be in charge of policy,
In a statement read on CNN, Harward said he had turned down the job because he “could not make that commitment.”
“This job requires 24 hours a day, seven days a week focus and commitment to do it right. I currently could not make that commitment,” the statement read.
He added that since retiring he’s had a chance “to address financial and family issues that would have been challenging in this position.”
An unnamed Harward friend told CNN he refused the job because of the chaos at the White House, while the Washington Post said it was in part because he would not be able to choose his own staff.
Harward, 60, spent much of his career in the Navy SEALs, the tough special warfare units, and commanded SEAL Team 3, which specializes in operations in the Middle East.
During his career Harward also worked closely with retired Marine Corps General James Mattis, the current defense secretary.
He led Special Warfare task groups in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq beginning in 2002. A year later, he was in the White House of President George W. Bush as part of the National Security Council, and in 2005 moved to the new National Counterterrorism Center.
After a tour in Afghanistan, from 2011 to his retirement in 2013 he was deputy commander of US Central Command — in charge of US military operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
After retiring Harward became a representative of defense contractor Lockheed Martin in the United Arab Emirates and made appearances as a military expert for the ABC television network.
The shaven-head tough guy, who spent his teenage years in Iran in the 1970s and speaks Farsi, was widely seen as a steadying presence after the volatile Flynn.
Flynn resigned after being implicated in several telephone conversations with the Russian ambassador in Washington before Trump took office.
Harward’s rejection caps a riotous day for the 70-year-old US president, who earlier Thursday lambasted his critics in the media and in politics in a wide-ranging one hour, 16-minute-long press conference.


Bill Cosby convicted of drugging and molesting a woman

Updated 26 April 2018
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Bill Cosby convicted of drugging and molesting a woman

NORRISTOWN-PENNSILVANIA: Bill Cosby was convicted Thursday of drugging and molesting a woman in the first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era,
completing the spectacular late-life downfall of a comedian who broke racial barriers in Hollywood on his way to TV superstardom as America’s Dad.
Cosby, 80, could end up spending his final years in prison after a jury concluded he sexually violated Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. He claimed the encounter was consensual.
Cosby stared straight ahead as the verdict was read, but moments later lashed out loudly at District Attorney Kevin Steele and called him an “a--hole” after the prosecutor asked that Cosby be immediately jailed because he might flee. Cosby denied he has an airplane and shouted, “I’m sick of him!“
The judge decided Cosby can remain free on bail while he awaits sentencing.
Shrieks erupted in the courtroom when the verdict was announced, and some of his accusers whimpered and cried. Constand remained stoic, then hugged her lawyer and members of the prosecution team.
“Justice has been done!” celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, who represented some of Cosby’s accusers, said on the courthouse steps. “We are so happy that finally we can say women are believed.”
The verdict came after a two-week retrial in which prosecutors put five other women on the stand who testified that Cosby, married for 54 years, drugged and violated them, too. One of those women asked him through her tears, “You remember, don’t you, Mr. Cosby?“
The panel of seven men and five women reached a verdict after deliberating 14 hours over two days, vindicating prosecutors’ decision to retry Cosby after his first trial ended with a hung jury less than a year ago.
Cosby could get up to 10 years in prison on each of the three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He is likely to get less than that under state sentencing guidelines, but given his age, even a modest term could mean he will die behind bars.
Constand, 45, a former Temple women’s basketball administrator, told jurors that Cosby knocked her out with three blue pills he called “your friends” and then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay immobilized, unable to resist or say no.
It was the only criminal case to arise from a barrage of allegations from more than 60 women who said the former TV star drugged and molested them over a span of five decades.
“The time for the defendant to escape justice is over,” prosecutor Stewart Ryan said in his closing argument. “It’s finally time for the defendant to dine on the banquet of his own consequences.”
Another prosecutor, Kristen Feden, said Cosby was “nothing like the image that he played on TV” as sweater-wearing, wisdom-dispensing father of five Dr. Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show.”