According to the Washington Post, a secret CIA assessment found Russia made efforts to sway the the 2016 presidential election in Donald Trump’s favor. In a “closed-door briefing” detailed by the Post, agency officials told senators Russia aimed to put Trump in the White House. Here’s what the agency found.
A newly leaked memo suggests a bank formerly run by Steve Mnuchin — Trump’s pick for Treasury secretary — may have broken California foreclosure laws under his stewardship.
The 2013 prosecutorial memo alleges that the bank, OneWest, “rushed delinquent homeowners out of their homes by violating notice and waiting period statutes, illegally backdated key documents, and effectively gamed foreclosure auctions” between 2009 and 2015. Read more
“So, a special guest has been arranged today. May I present to you the personification of the United States of America, Alfred Freedom Jones!”
They were on Ellen, of course. She is possibly the most famous lesbian in the US, and that’s not even what she’s famous for. She’s generous, kind, hilarious, and the original voice actor for Dory in Finding Nemo. Of course she’s famous. She’s even had the president come by.
He walked over to the chairs, jumped over the back of one, and settled down at an angle, making him look playful and relaxed. He flashed his famous smile.
“Thanks, Ellen! It’s so great to finally be able to meet you! Really, I do adore you and what you do here.”
“Oh, thank you, but you don’t need to bother will all of that flattery, Mr. Jones.”
“Please, call me Al. I’m no more important than any of you.”
“Alright, then, Al. I asked the viewing audience last week to tweet questions that they had for you to us, and we took a few out to ask you. Is that alright?”
“Yep! Fire ‘em at me!” He smiled again, the crown laughing with his play.
“First, who has been your favorite president to work under?”
“I’d have to say Obama, if only because he lets me get away with the things I do in the White House. That, and he doesn’t hate me for being bisexual. He’s a lot of fun, too.”
“What do you do in the White House that he lets you get away with?”
“Nerf wars. And water balloons. Everywhere.” Everyone in the crowd laughed again.
“Another question: What is your favorite book?”
“Definitely Harry Potter. They currently hold four out of the top ten best-selling books of America, 2016!”
“I love Harry Potter too! But of course, who doesn’t? Alright, last question: who are you currently dating?” America paused for a second. Should he tell them? Well, why not! They are his people after all. It probably wouldn’t shock most of them. Hopefully.
“I guess… I’m dating a certain Russian with a scarf.” A loud ‘Called it!’ rang out from somewhere in the back of the room. Everyone laughed again. Ellen herself even started laughing. He never felt so welcome anywhere in his whole life, and it felt good. He could sense all of their overwhelming cheeriness, and it rubbed off on him.
“I guess some people thought it was appropriate,” he said.
“Alright, everyone. That’s about all the time we have today, but if you want to get on Ellen, tweet us at…”
Her voice blended into the background. He was just so content, knowing that his people supported him. He knew, however, that other countries weren’t so lucky.
The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.
Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances. …
By mid-September, White House officials had decided it was time to take that step, but they worried that doing so unilaterally and without bipartisan congressional backing just weeks before the election would make Obama vulnerable to charges that he was using intelligence for political purposes.
Instead, officials devised a plan to seek bipartisan support from top lawmakers and set up a secret meeting with the Gang of 12 — a group that includes House and Senate leaders, as well as the chairmen and ranking members of both chambers’ committees on intelligence and homeland security.
Obama dispatched Monaco, FBI Director James B. Comey and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to make the pitch for a “show of solidarity and bipartisan unity” against Russian interference in the election, according to a senior administration official.
Specifically, the White House wanted congressional leaders to sign off on a bipartisan statement urging state and local officials to take federal help in protecting their voting-registration and balloting machines from Russian cyber-intrusions.
Though U.S. intelligence agencies were skeptical that hackers would be able to manipulate the election results in a systematic way, the White House feared that Russia would attempt to do so, sowing doubt about the fundamental mechanisms of democracy and potentially forcing a more dangerous confrontation between Washington and Moscow.
In a secure room in the Capitol used for briefings involving classified information, administration officials broadly laid out the evidence U.S. spy agencies had collected, showing Russia’s role in cyber-intrusions in at least two states and in hacking the emails of the Democratic organizations and individuals.
And they made a case for a united, bipartisan front in response to what one official described as “the threat posed by unprecedented meddling by a foreign power in our election process.”
The Democratic leaders in the room unanimously agreed on the need to take the threat seriously. Republicans, however, were divided, with at least two GOP lawmakers reluctant to accede to the White House requests.
According to several officials, McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics. … McConnell’s office did not respond to a request for comment. After the election, Trump chose McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, as his nominee for transportation secretary.
so it’s #BiWeek so i decided to post something i wrote about my favourite fluffy-haired bisexual jewish cop (in other words, i’m just Projecting™)
Jake Peralta pulls his car up outside the coffee shop which
his girlfriend frequents. In the passenger seat, Amy Santiago is clad in
multiple sweaters and coats in a vain attempt to protect herself from the
unforgiving cold. She looks miserably at the frosted cityscape outside the warm
confines of the car before steeling herself to head out into the sub-zero
chill. She gives him a quick peck on the lips in parting, promising she’ll
return with hot chocolates, the kind with extra whipped cream and marshmallows.
Jake sits and waits for a while, watching strangers walk by
and inventing elaborate backstories for them. The short stocky guy with
glasses, whose jacket makes him look almost as wide as he is tall, is a double
agent, feeding federal secrets to Russia. The tall, dark-haired woman with
striking features is an expert jewel thief, and by selling the diamonds she
carries in her purse, she’ll be able to pay for treatment for her sick sister.
The curly haired kid standing in the window of a brand new comic book store
Jake has never seen before…
He throws a glance at the coffee shop but he can’t see Amy,
so he guessed (or hopes) she’s still waiting to be served. Then he gets out the
car, and makes his way down the street to the little storefront wedged between two
larger, flashier restaurant chains. Inside the store there are shelves stacked
up to the ceiling with comics and merchandise. After a few minutes of browsing
and waiting for his fingers to defrost, he shoots his girlfriend a text to let
her know where he is. That’s when he hears someone calling his name.
“Jake? Jake Peralta?” Recognising the voice, Jake looks up
from his phone to see a smiling Asian man, about his age. It takes him a few
seconds to identify the stranger who is, of course older and longer haired, but
his sharp jawline and kind eyes are familiar.
Turn the clock back twenty years and Jake is lying on
his back on his best friend’s bedroom floor and talking. Talking, in fact,
isn’t the most accurate description; words have been pouring out of his mouth,
unfiltered, for approximately thirty minutes. Gina isn’t fully listening, she’s
bracing herself between her bed and her wardrobe in an attempt to find the best
angle at which to paint her toenails, but she knows that if she doesn’t
interrupt him soon he might never stop,
As silently as possible, she moves to the foot of her bed,
sticking her head over the edge suddenly and shouting: “JAKE!”
His entire body lifts itself a good few inches off the floor
in shock, his limbs flapping wildly. “What?!”
“Boy, can you hear yourself?”
“No- wait- what are you talking about?”
Gina clears her throat and begins a surprisingly accurate
impression of a sixteen-year-old boy. “I wonder if Jonny likes Die Hard? He’s
got to like Die Hard. Wait- what if he hasn’t seen it? Maybe I could lend him
Jake grabs a sandal from beneath her bed and throws a sandal
at her. It misses by a very long way and almost knocks over a glass of juice.
“I do not sound like that!”
“Uh, yeah you do. And, more importantly, you’ve been
talking about Jonathan Barnett for… ooh, close to 27 minutes now.”
“I have not.”
“You have.” Gina dangles the stopwatch she stole from gym
class from her right hand. “I timed you.”
He reaches up to
snatch it from her; it reads 26 minutes and 49 seconds exactly.
kid,” she says, her tone bored.
He frowns. “Isn’t that the fish from ‘The Little Mermaid’?”
and you know it. Anyway, stop trying to distract me from the fact you have a
crush on Jonny Barnett.”
He takes a sip of
juice from his cup and promptly spits it back out again and onto the carpet.
“I do not!” He
“Your do, son.”
“But… I can’t have a crush on Jonathan, he’s a boy. I like girls,” explains Jake, more creases appearing in his
“You can like girls and like boys. Haven’t you ever heard of
Gina props herself up with her elbows. “Yeah it’s a thing,
Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Frida Kahlo, probably a ton of other people too.
I must admit, I haven’t done my research.”
“So you think I’m
bisexual?” Jake enquires.
She shrugs. “You might be. Do you think you are?”
“Possibly? I don’t know. I just think Jonny has really good
“Boy, I know he does, I know.”
After a few years of mostly unrequited crushes on girls and
boys alike, Jake Peralta meets Liam Huang when they’re both sophomores in
college. The two of them are partnered together in biology. Liam has spiky hair
and is perpetually smiley, whereas Jake’s hair looks like it’s trying to eat
his head. They get on well, swap notes (Liam’s are far more detailed than
Jake’s which frequently include what can only be described as Die Hard fan art)
and at the end of the semester, Liam asks Jake on a date.
He responds by dropping the muffin he’s eating on
the floor and then saying, “I’m sorry?”
Liam buries his face in his hands. “Oh god,” he groans,
“Have I got this wrong? Have I totally misread the signals?”
“You’re asking me on a date?”
“Yeah, that was kinda the plan. Sorry.” He replies
“No,” Jake furrows his brow in confusion before saying:
“don’t be sorry.” Then: “This is really happening?”
“You want to go on a date with me?”
“Absolutely.” Liam affirms. “But only if you want to?”
Jake cracks his signature grin. “Of course I want to.”
A date is set for them to have coffee on Thursday afternoon
and then they wind up having a beer on Saturday night. The more they discuss,
the more they realise they have in common. They’re both only children with
divorced parents and a marginally older best-friend-come-sister-figure
(although Gina and Aline would certainly murder each other if they ever had the
misfortune to meet). They keep meeting for beer or to study and they frequently
wind up talking late into the night. It’s two AM and they’re both bleary-eyed
from studying when Liam leans in to kiss Jake for the first time and a short while
after they fall asleep in their chairs at his desk, still hand in hand.
Jake’s dad contacts him for the first time in eighteen
months in the spring that follows. They go out to dinner to some cheap fast
food restaurant and things seem almost like old times (before Roger cheated on
Jake’s mom and abandoned them both), but that’s before he brings up his son’s
“So how’s college treating you?” He raises an eyebrow. “Lots
of hot girls?”
Jake shrugs. “It’s alright and yeah, I guess some of them
are quite pretty.”
“Haven’t managed to bag yourself a girlfriend yet then,
Jake takes a deep breath. “Actually dad, I am seeing
“Really? Who’s the lucky lady?”
He clears his throat, wipes his sweating palms on his jeans
and says: “His name is Liam.”
There’s a long, uncomfortable silence and Jake’s feet are
itching to bolt out the door and carry him, far, far away from the consequences
of his confession.
Roger emits half a laugh. “You’re not gay, Jake.”
“No, I’m not. I’m bi.”
Jake wants nothing more than to run away but he stays
seated, his voice unwavering. “I’m bisexual.”
“What the hell is that?” There’s confusion in his father’s
voice, mixed with just a drop of disgust.
“It’s when someone’s attracted to both men and women.”
“No one’s attracted to men and women. If you fancy men you’re gay, son, and you are not gay. Unless this is all a bit of a
“Dad, no, it’s not like that I l-”
He’s interrupted mid-sentence by the bleeping of Roger’s
phone. “Listen, Jake, I’ve got to go. Buddy of mine has food poisoning so I’ve
got to co-pilot on an early flight tomorrow.”
And with that he leaves, without saying another word to his
Jake keeps his head down, devoting all of his attention to
his meatball sub. It’s too late though, he’s already been spotted.
He looks up to see Liam hurrying towards him. There’s no
avoiding him now.
“Dude, are you okay?” There’s concern in his voice.
“Yeah, of course,” Jake lies. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
“You haven’t answered any of my calls.”
“Yeah, sorry about that I’ve just been really busy with,
y’know…” He trails off.
“Busy with what?!” His boyfriend questions, before saying,
more softly: “Is this about your dad?”
Jake gapes at him as though he’s being ridiculous. “What?!
No! Why would it be anything to do with him?”
“I just thought that, because you guys went to dinner last
week, he might have done something to upset you, like he usually does.”
“No, no, it was all good.” He wonders if there’s a way Liam
can tell that he’s lying.
“If you’re sure.” He doesn’t seem entirely convinced but he
doesn’t press the issue. Instead he asks: “So, wanna go for a drink tomorrow
Jake looks apologetic. “Sorry, I can’t I have a thing… a…
you know… I have a thing.”
“A thing, sure.”
After three more cancelled dates, Jake finds Liam knocking
on his door. He almost reluctantly invites him inside, offering him a beer- he
declines. Liam tells Jake that he’s only come to talk and asks again if he’s
okay and offers discuss his issues with his dad. But, every time he tries to be
open with Jake, to get him to express his emotions, Jake constantly puts
barriers up between them and attempts to distract him with any other topic. Not
long after arriving, Liam leaves, telling Jake that he thinks it’s best if they
return to being friends. When the door shuts behind him, Jake drinks every beer
in his fridge as well as the ones he keeps under his bed.
Predictably, they lose contact after college. Liam gets a
job, moves out to California and Jake hears very little more about him. Jake
becomes graduates the police academy, becomes a detective and has mostly brief
relationships with women, and occasionally men he meets in bars or through work.
Then he meets Sophia. They don’t date for long enough for him to tell her about
his sexuality, but he’s certain it wouldn’t have horrified or surprised her.
And after Sophia, there’s Amy. Jake never really manages to understand how he
lived his life before he met her. He keeps meaning to tell her about Liam (and
the others who all followed at some point down the line) but there never really
seems to be a good enough time.
“So, how are you?”
Liam enquires, running his hand through his hair -an old nervous tic. It’s
shoulder length now, as opposed to the short and spiky style he had in college
and Jake has to admit it’s a good look on him.
“I’m… I’m good, yeah. How are you?”
“I’m wonderful. Actually, I just got married.” He grins,
holding up his hand so Jake can see the ring.
“No way! That’s awesome, dude.”
At that moment Jake feels a hand on his arm and he gives a
small start until he realises it’s Amy.
“Hey babe, are y…” She trails off, noticing Liam. “Oh, I’m
sorry, I didn’t realise I was interrupting a conversation.”
Liam smiles. “That’s okay. I’m Liam, by the way, Jake’s-”
Panicked, Jake cuts in. “College friend. Liam’s my friend
His ex-boyfriend raises an eyebrow but says nothing.
“Lovely to meet you.” Amy stretches her hand out to shake
his. “I’m Amy, Jake’s girlfriend.”
“Nice to meet you too,” Liam replies, then he continues: “I
was just telling Jake that I got married.”
Amy’s smile widens. “Congratulations.”
“Thank you!” He checks his watch quickly. “Look, I better
get going, my husband’s waiting in the car (he’s not really a big fan of comic
books), but we should definitely get coffee whilst I’m in New York.”
“Yeah, absolutely.” Jake says, cheerfully.
Liam scribbles his number quickly on the back of a business
card and hands it to him. The three of them part with smiles outside the shop,
heading in opposite directions down the street.
“Liam seemed nice.” Amy mumbles sleepily, inching closer to
Jake as they watch TV that evening.
He pauses to put his arm around her before answering. “Yeah,
“Are you going to text him about coffee?”
Jake takes a deep breath. “Amy.”
She turns her head to look at him, smiling contentedly.
“There’s something I haven’t told you.” His voice is
She takes his hand in hers; his racing heartbeat slows just
a little. “Jake, are you okay?”
“Yeah, I just…”
“What is it?”
“Liam isn’t my friend from college.” He breathes.
Amy frowns up at him. “No? Who is he then? He isn’t linked
to the Iannuccis, is he?” Thank god for Amy Santiago and her tendency to
presume the worst.
“No, no, no. Nothing like that Ames.”
“Who is he then?”
Jake opens his mouth, then pauses to take a few deep
“He’s my ex-boyfriend.”
He looks at her in disbelief. She doesn’t say anything else.
“Okay? Amy, I drop a bombshell on you, I tell you a secret
I’ve hidden from you for eight years, and all you can say is okay?”
“So, you’re bisexual. It’s not a big deal.”
“It’s not?” He trails off for a moment.
“It’s absolutely not. Why, how were you expecting me to
“I didn’t really know. I’ve never told anyone else I’ve
dated about the whole bisexual thing before. Well, besides Liam.”
“Well you didn’t need to worry about it. I survived six
months of you being in witness protection, so dealing with a few of your
ex-boyfriends will be breeze.”
Jake grins. “Really?”
[A/N: this fic is not as good as it could be and i’m really sorry but i’ve got a lot to do for uni and i still wanted to publish this this week. i tried really hard. well, i kinda tried. i’m sorry about any british terms used which aren’t used in america and all of that. however, i’m not sorry that i just projected my sexuality and experiences onto one of my fave fictional characters]
As kid, I never missed an episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Vaughn, as Napoleon Solo, was television’s version of James Bond. Like lots of
kids growing up, it made me want to be a secret agent. Cold War intrigue. Russia
was our enemy then. Now, they help us elect presidents. Mr. Vaughn, you and
Napoleon Solo will be missed.