Roger Stone, a longtime aide and confidant of President Donald Trump, was arrested Friday by the FBI after being indicted for allegations he lied to and obstructed the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. The Stone indictment marks Mueller’s biggest move yet against a Trump associate on grounds that the person allegedly worked with Russian operatives to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016.
The Senate blocked dueling bills to fund the government on Thursday, leaving no clear path to ending the longest government shutdown ever. Both a Republican-backed proposal and a measure supported by Democrats did not get the 60 votes needed to pass. Some bipartisan senators mounted calls for a bill to fund the government for three weeks while they find a larger immigration agreement. In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said a three-week continuing resolution “would only work if there is a large down payment on the wall.”
The United States is seeking to ensure that Venezuelan oil revenue goes to opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido, and to cut off money from increasingly isolated President Nicolas Maduro, a top U.S. official said on Thursday. Such a move would significantly strengthen the hand of Guaido, who swore himself in as interim head of state on Wednesday with the support of Washington and nations around the region.
Brazil’s first and only openly gay congressman has announced that he is leaving his job – and the country – after receiving death threats. Wyllys, who was re-elected in October and had been set to begin a third term in February, was a close friend of Marielle Franco, the gay Rio councilwoman who was shot and killed along with her driver in March. His departure is likely to add to fears among Brazil’s LGBT community that homophobia is set to rise even further under the government of president Jair Bolsonaro, who has won notoriety for his overt homophobia.
The “new abnormal” the world is facing from risks like nuclear war and climate change has led the symbolic Doomsday Clock to be frozen at the closest it has ever been to midnight. The clock, created by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) in 1947, intends to warn of impending disasters. Its 2019 setting was announced on Thursday – staying in the same perilous position it was set at last year. The BAS has warned we are “normalizing a very dangerous world”.