Trump says election is rigged

MAKING A POINT: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina. (AFP)
Updated 15 October 2016

Trump says election is rigged

CHARLOTTE: Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning to go after Hillary Clinton and the media, and to claim again that the presidential race is looking like — in his words — “a rigged election.”

That’s an unprecedented assertion in a country with a history of peaceful democratic transition.
Earlier, Trump charged that the women accusing him of sexual misconduct fabricated their stories to damage his campaign after two more women came forward with allegations that he had groped them.
The new accusations were made by a contestant on his reality TV show “The Apprentice,” who cited a 2007 incident, and by a woman who described an incident from the early 1990s.
With the allegations against Trump dominating the campaign, opinion polls show Trump trailing Clinton.
A Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll showed Trump behind Clinton by 7 percentage points among likely voters in the Nov. 8 election.
Trump has spent more and more time at his rallies denying allegations of groping since a video from 2005 became public a week ago showing him bragging about groping and making unwanted sexual advances. On Friday, in addition to his denials, he suggested that he never would have found two of the women who have made allegations attractive.
Trump suggested that his accusers were fabricating their stories for publicity or to damage his campaign. “It’s not hard to find a small handful of people willing to make false smears,” he said.
Trump said the women may be motivated for financial reasons or political reasons or “the simple reason they want to stop our movement.”
Separately, newly released emails showed that Clinton’s campaign asked former President Bill Clinton to cancel a speech to a Wall Street investment firm last year because of concerns that the Clintons might appear to be too cozy with Wall Street.
Clinton aides say in hacked emails released recently by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks that Hillary Clinton did not want her husband to cancel the speech, but after a “cool down period” was eventually convinced that canceling was the right step.
Campaign manager Robby Mook said he realized canceling the lucrative speech would disappoint both Clintons but “it’s a very consequential unforced error and could plague us in stories for months.”
The Clintons’ paid speeches have been an issue throughout the campaign, particularly Hillary Clinton’s private speeches to Wall Street firms. Hillary Clinton earned about $1.5 million in speaking fees before launching her presidential campaign, while Bill Clinton reaped more than $5 million from banking, tech and other corporate interests, according to financial documents filed by Hillary Clinton.
The campaign has never released transcripts of Hillary Clinton’s speeches, but the hacked emails did reveal excerpts flagged by her advisers as potentially concerning.
In the excerpts, Clinton talked about dreaming of “open trade and open borders” in the Western Hemisphere. She also says politicians sometimes need to have “both a public and a private position” on issues.
Bill Clinton was scheduled to speak to Morgan Stanley executives in April 2015, a few days after his wife was set to launch her bid for president.
“That’s begging for a bad rollout,” Mook wrote in a March 11, 2015, email.
In a later email, Mook says he feels “very strongly that doing the speech is a mistake” with serious potential consequences for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. “People would (rightfully) ask how we let it happen.”
Hillary Clinton was scheduled to campaign in Iowa, “where caucus goers have a sharply more negative view of Wall Street than the rest of the electorate,” Mook wrote. “Wall Street ranks first for Iowans among a list of institutions that ‘take advantage of every day Americans,’ scoring twice as high as the general election electorate. ... This is a very big deal in my view.”
Clinton’s longtime aide, Huma Abedin, assured Mook the next day that Clinton was fine with canceling the speech, especially if Bill Clinton agreed. The candidate “just needed a cool down period,” Abedin wrote.
The emails were among thousands published this week by WikiLeaks, which has been releasing a series of emails hacked from the accounts of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
U.S. intelligence officials last week blamed the Russian government for a series of breaches intended to influence the presidential election. The Russians deny involvement.
Podesta’s hacked messages offer insight into the various strategies and responses considered by those close to Clinton as they grappled with pitfalls in her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, including the 2009 decision to use a private email server while serving as secretary of state.
In a separate email, Clinton aides discussed how to explain her 2001 support for an overhaul of the nation’s bankruptcy system. Sanders was citing past criticism by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., as evidence of Clinton’s favoritism to Wall Street.
Clinton defended the vote in a TV interview earlier this year, saying she pursued language to ensure women received child support if a spouse went into bankruptcy. In a Feb. 7 email, adviser Ann O’Leary noted that Clinton had overstated her case: “She said women groups were all pressuring her to vote for it. Evidence does not support that statement.”
Clinton spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri said Friday that the campaign has taken unspecified precautions to secure its emails. Asked whether officials were considering releasing all of Podesta’s emails at once, Palmieri said, “That is what the Russians would like us to do and we are not going to do that.”
Emails released Friday also show that Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, used a second alias to communicate with her mother’s campaign: Anna James. Chelsea Clinton also used the alias Diane Reynolds, according to emails previously made public.
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Associated Press writers Julie Pace, Catherine Lucey, Andrew Taylor and Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.
Follow Matthew Daly: http://twitter.com/MatthewDalyWDC


Afghan security forces confirm killing of top Al-Qaeda leader

Updated 26 October 2020

Afghan security forces confirm killing of top Al-Qaeda leader

  • Egyptian national Abu Muhsin Al-Masri was on the US most wanted terrorists list
  • Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) said he was killed in a special operation in Ghazni province

KABUL: Afghan security forces have confirmed the killing of a senior Al-Qaeda leader in Ghazni province, eastern Afghanistan, prompting the country's president to accuse the Taliban of having links with the terrorist network.

Egyptian national Abu Muhsin Al-Masri, alias Husam Abd-al-Ra’uf, was on the US list of most wanted terrorists. The US issued a warrant for his arrest in December 2018.

Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) in a tweet late on Saturday said that Al-Masri was killed “in a special national security operation.”

Following the announcement, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani accused the Taliban of having links with the terrorist group.

"The killing of this significant leader of Al-Qaeda's terroristic network proves that there is still the threat of terrorism and Taliban have ties with terrorists," he said on Sunday afternoon.

According to NDS sources in Kabul and Ghazni, he was one of the most senior leaders of Al-Qaeda.

“Al-Masri was one of the most senior Al-Qaeda authorities and was a financial and logistical facilitator of the network and had meaningful ties with Taliban,” the source in Kabul said on condition of anonymity.

He added that an Afghan affiliate of Al-Masri was arrested during the raid.

An NDS officer in Ghazni said that Al-Masri was killed in Andar district, where scores of foreign militants have settled in recent years and have been “protected by the Taliban.”

The Taliban deny the claim.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Arab News that Al-Qaeda has had “no ties with the Taliban” since the historic US-Taliban peace accord in late February. In accordance with the deal, the Taliban pledged to sever ties with foreign militants and deter them from using territories under the group’s control.

The US invaded Afghanistan and in late 2001 ousted the Taliban government, which refused to hand over Al-Qaeda leaders accused of being behind the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 that killed 3,000 Americans.

The terrorist network has been decimated over the years, but US officials believe its fighters are still operating in Afghanistan and some have deep ties with the Taliban.

Al-Masri’s reported killing comes a year after the NDS announced that in a joint raid with US troops it had killed Asim Omar, the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent. Omar was reportedly killed in southern Helmand province — a Taliban stronghold.

A former Afghan spy master, Rahumatullah Nabil, in a tweet said that Al-Masri and some other members of Al-Qaeda were frequently traveling between Ghazni and other parts of Afghanistan and a tribal region in Pakistan’s north in recent months.

The head of the US National Counter-Terrorism Center, Chris Miller, confirmed Al-Masri’s death in a statement, saying that his “removal” was “a major setback to a terrorist organization that is consistently experiencing strategic losses facilitated by the United States and its partners.”

According to Afghan analysts, however, a replacement for Al-Masri will soon be found within the terrorist group’s ranks.

“The killing will have some impact on the network’s activities and the war in Afghanistan, but not a drastic one as new leaders will jump up to fill the gap,” security analyst Ahmad Saeedi told Arab News.

The development comes as an uptick in deadly violence has been observed in Afghanistan despite ongoing talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar to yield a lasting peace and end decades of conflict in the war-torn country. 

At least 20 people were killed at an educational center Kabul on Saturday, hours after a roadside bomb killed nine civilians east of Kabul. Officials blamed the Taliban for the roadside attack.