Big headlines for the news today:
- Laptop connected to Hunter Biden linked to FBI money laundering probe
- Trump targeted by Tehran as Russians and Iranians meddle in 2020 election, intel officials say
- Obama delivers a blistering rebuke of Trump in his return to the campaign trail
- Mitt Romney did not vote for Trump in 2020 election
- US Approves $1 Billion in New Arms Sales to Taiwan
- Volunteer in COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Dies: Health Officials
- Nasa to make major announcement of ‘exciting news’ about the moon
Laptop connected to Hunter Biden linked to FBI money laundering probe
The FBI’s subpoena of a laptop and hard drive purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden came in connection with a money laundering investigation in late 2019, according to documents obtained by Fox News and verified by multiple federal law enforcement officials who reviewed them.
It is unclear, at this point, whether the investigation is ongoing or if it was directly related to Hunter Biden.
Multiple federal law enforcement officials, as well as two separate government officials, confirmed the authenticity of these documents, which were signed by FBI Special Agent Joshua Wilson. Wilson did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
One of the documents, obtained by Fox News, was designated as an FBI “Receipt for Property” form, which details the bureau’s interactions with John Paul Mac Isaac, the owner of “The Mac Shop” who reported the laptop’s contents to authorities.
The document has a “Case ID” section, which is filled in with a hand-written number: 272D-BA-3065729.
Trump targeted by Tehran as Russians and Iranians meddle in 2020 election, intel officials say
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray held a surprise press conference on Wednesday evening, warning that Russia and Iran gained access to U.S. voter registration information.
Thirteen days before Election Day, President Trump’s spy chief also said that the Iranians were using that data to send spoofed emails to harm the commander in chief.
“We would like to alert the public that we have identified that two foreign actors, Iran and Russia, have taken specific actions to influence public opinion relating to our elections,” Ratcliffe announced. “First, we have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran and separately by Russia. This data can be used by foreign actors to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos, and undermine your confidence in American democracy.”
Ratcliffe, who has overseen the nation’s 17 spy agencies since May, said Tehran was making specific use of the U.S. voter data to harm Trump, but that the U.S. intelligence community has not yet seen similar deployment of the voter information by the Kremlin.
“We have already seen Iran sending spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump … Additionally, Iran is distributing other content to include a video that implies that individuals could cast fraudulent ballots, even from overseas. This video and other claims about allegedly fraudulent ballots are not true. These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries,” Ratcliffe said, adding, “although we have not seen the same actions from Russia, we are aware that they have obtained some voter information, just as they did in 2016. Rest assured that we are prepared for the possibility of actions by those hostile to democracy.”
Obama delivers a blistering rebuke of Trump in his return to the campaign trail
Former President Barack Obama delivered an often-incredulous and blistering account of his successor’s first four years in office on Wednesday in Philadelphia, making his most direct attacks on President Donald Trump to date both on substance and on a personal level.
The event is Obama’s first stump speech for his former vice president, a welcome sight to Democrats who see the former president as Joe Biden’s most potent character witness and a key factor in encouraging Black men, Latinos and younger voters to turn out and vote.
Obama’s speech represented his most direct attacks on Trump to date, with the former Democratic leader leveling both substantive critiques — like questioning Trump’s tax policy and handling of the coronavirus pandemic — and personal barbs, jabbing at shrinking ratings for the President’s speeches and town halls. The former President wasted no time lacing into Trump, opening the remarks by mocking him for telling an audience in Erie, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday night that he wouldn’t have visited the area if not for the coronavirus hurting his political fortunes.
The remarks drilled down on years of Democratic concerns about the President, with Obama arguing Trump’s presidency has not only changed the way other countries view the United States but remade the way Americans feel about politics.
“I never thought Donald Trump would embrace my vision or continue my polices, but I did hope for the sake of the country, that he might show some interest in taking the job seriously,” Obama said. “But it hasn’t happened. He hasn’t showed any interest in doing the work or helping anybody but himself and his friends.”
Mitt Romney did not vote for Trump in 2020 election
Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah has already voted in the 2020 election, and like in 2016, the former GOP presidential nominee did not vote for President Donald Trump, according to a report.
CNN’s Manu Raju posted on Twitter that he had a brief conversation with Romney on Wednesday in which the former Massachusetts governor disclosed he voted early.
Romney told the CNN reporter he had already cast a ballot, but did not disclose which candidate he voted for, other than to say he ruled out one man on the ballot.
“I did not vote for President Trump,” he said, per Raju.
Senate Democrats Block Republican’s COVID-19 Relief Bill
Democrats in the Senate voted to block the passage of a coronavirus stimulus package Wednesday after months of stalled negotiations between the two parties.
The vote was 51-44 and the measure needed 60 votes to pass. It was a party-line vote. The $500 billion bill would include a federal unemployment benefit, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding and additional money for more coronavirus testing. If the bill was passed, money would have been directed to schools. Every Democrat voted against the stimulus package.
“If this relief does not pass, it will be because Senate Democrats chose to do Speaker Pelosi’s political dirty work rather than stand up for struggling people… Let’s find our common sense, agree where we can, and advance this legislation while we debate the rest. The American people deserve action,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement before the vote.
US Approves $1 Billion in New Arms Sales to Taiwan
The Trump administration has approved the sale of more than a billion dollars worth of advanced weaponry for Taiwan in a move that will enrage China and further exacerbate tensions between Washington and Beijing that have are already heated over issues such as trade, Tibet, Hong Kong, and the South China Sea.
The State Department announced Wednesday it had greenlighted the sale of 135 precision land attack missiles, associated equipment, and training to Taiwan to improve its defense capabilities. The package is worth just over a billion dollars, it said in a statement. The missiles are made by Boeing.
“This proposed sale serves U.S. national, economic and security interests by supporting the recipient’s continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability,” it said in a statement. “The proposed sale will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability” as well as military balance and economic progress in the region.
“The recipient will be able to employ a highly reliable and effective system to increase their warfighting effectiveness as needed, which can counter or deter aggressions by demonstrated precision against surface targets,” it said.
Volunteer in COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Dies: Health Officials
A volunteer in AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine trial died in Brazil, the country’s health authority confirmed Wednesday.
Anvisa, the authority, said it wouldn’t stop the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccine trials for now and is investigating the death.
The volunteer died on Oct. 15 but Anvisa was informed of the death on Monday, the health authority said in a news release. In a statement, Anvisa said that “based on the ethical confidentiality commitments provided for in the protocol, the regulatory agencies involved received partial data related to the investigation carried out by this committee [and] they suggested to continue the study.”
An investigation is currently ongoing. No information was provided about the volunteer.
The health authority noted that “data on clinical research volunteers must be kept confidential, in accordance with the principles of confidentiality, human dignity, and protection of participants,” according to a news release.
Nasa to make major announcement of ‘exciting news’ about the moon
Nasa will hold a major event to announce an “exciting new discovery” about the Moon, it has said.
The space agency did not reveal details about the discovery but said that it “contributes to Nasa’s efforts to learn about the Moon in support of deep space exploration”.
It also said that the discovery had come from the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or Sofia.
Sofia is a modified Boeing 747 that flies higher than much of the atmosphere, allowing its built-in, 9-foot telescope to get a clear view of our solar system and the broader universe. The plane is able to get up above 99 per cent of the atmosphere’s water vapour, which normally obscures our view of space.
The telescope instruments at the centre of the flying observatory gather infrared light, meaning it can “pick up phenomenon impossible to see with visible light”, Nasa noted in its announcement.