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Boris Johnson accused Tucker Carlson of infecting people's minds with "bad ideas" about Putin. The former UK prime minister said Republicans seem to be "intimidated" by Carlson's perspective. Speaking on Wednesday during a panel discussion with the Atlantic Council, Johnson said: "I've been amazed and horrified by how many people are frightened of a guy called Tucker Carlson. "Has anybody heard of Tucker Carlson? In May 2022, Carlson baselessly claimed that the US government's involvement in Ukraine was aimed at deposing Putin as "payback for the 2016 election."
A Russian former senior lieutenant has defected and admitted the army tortures Ukrainians. Konstantin Yefremov told the BBC of horrific abuses, including threats of rape and castration. He is the most senior officer to publicly denounce his former army's abuses, per the BBC. On Wednesday, Ukraine's Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin alleged that his office had uncovered evidence of 65,000 Russian war crimes in newly liberated parts of Ukraine, as CNBC reported. His lawyer told Insider's Joshua Zitser that he feared for his life as he scrambled over the Russian border to Norway.
Russia is keeping dual-citizen migrant workers from leaving the country, UK military intel says. It cited a report that said Kyrgyz workers were stopped by border guards as they tried to leave. Russia is "keeping open the option" of another round of military call-ups, per the update. The UK defense ministry said these reports come as Russian authorities are "keeping open the option" of another round of military call-ups. But this latest UK military update said that Russia's leadership is "highly likely" to continue looking for ways to meet the huge numbers of personnel required to launch any future offensive in Ukraine.
Pedro Vilarva, who met Santos in 2014, said he lived with Santos' wife unaware that the pair were married. Pedro Vilarva, who was 18 in 2014 when he met Santos, described the living situation in an interview with Insider on Friday. Vilarva said that he eventually discovered the pair were married, but Santos told him that he was planning to divorce his wife. Vilarva and Santos met in 2014, and Santos announced an engagement party with Vilarva that same year. "He asked me 3x but I didn't accept it," Vilarva told the Beast via text.
People who worked on Rep. George Santos' 2022 campaign described it as a poor workplace. During a call with Insider, he said he had known Santos for around two years before joining the 2022 campaign. Gotesman Schneier ultimately left the campaign after a little under three months, and her time did not overlap with the other person interviewed by Insider. The New York Times and Gothamist also reported that Santos faced eviction cases in 2014, 2015, and in 2017. The unnamed former staffer ultimately decided to leave the campaign because something felt "very off," he said.
A Brazilian man claims a friend advised him not to go on a Grindr date with George Santos in 2013. The friend warned him that Santos had a reputation in New York for being a compulsive liar. Insider has seen screenshots that show Santos and Hagapto regularly tagging each other in Facebook and Instagram posts from 2014. The friend, Flavio Azzari, also told Insider that he advised Hagapto against a meet-up. At the time of the Grindr date, Azzari and Hagapto said, Santos was claiming to be a TV reporter for the Brazilian media outlet Globo.
Photos and videos have emerged of George Santos apparently dressed in drag as "Kitara Ravache." Jan Sport, a star of "RuPaul's Drag Race," rated Kitara Rivache's drag look for Insider. One Brazilian drag queen, Eula Rochard, claimed she knew Santos by drag name Kitara Ravache, and alleged that he competed in drag queen beauty pageants in 2008. "I've seen a lot worse first-time drag than Miss Kitara," Jan said. Santos, who initially denied claims he ever performed as a drag queen, later appeared to admit that he had dressed in drag, telling reporters: "I was not a drag queen.
Jan Sport of "RuPaul's Drag Race" had her TikTok account suspended. She said she was locked out after posting a video of her impersonating George Santos' drag persona. Initially, the video was well-received, getting positive comments from fellow drag queens, more than 400,000 views on TikTok, and 75,000 likes on Instagram. But she said after the video went viral, her TikTok account was suspended. "People are trying to make comparisons about drag queens sexualizing things," she said, referring to right-wing talking points that allege drag queens brainwash and groom children.
A former roommate told New York magazine's Curbed that Santos made outlandish career claims. The ex roommate said Santos told him he was a successful model who was going to be in Vogue. He also said Santos claimed to be a journalist for a Brazilian news outlet. But according to a former roommate, Santos was making outlandish claims about his career long before then. (Insider contacted Globo to see if the news outlet had any record of Santos' employment, but did not receive a response.)
Fundraising committees associated with George Santos listed a new treasurer on Wednesday. But the man listed said he doesn't work for Santos, and his name was signed without his consent. A legal expert told ABC News that this could be against the law. But that treasurer, Thomas Datwyler, now says he doesn't work for Santos, informed the campaign that he didn't want to work for them, and was listed as serving in the position without his consent. "On Monday, we informed the Santos campaign that Mr. Datwyler would not be serving as treasurer," Datwyler's attorney Derek Ross told ABC News.
Russia has ordered the creation of 24 penal colonies in annexed parts of Ukraine, per Meduza. Conditions at penal colonies, which trace their roots to Soviet-era gulags, are famously harsh. The published decree outlines plans to create 12 new penal colonies in Donetsk, seven in Luhansk, three in Kherson, and two in Zaporizhzhia, Meduza reported. Ukrainska Pravda, a Ukrainian online newspaper, reported that there were 626 penal colonies in Russia as of November 2022. Ukrainian prisoners have previously been transported to penal colonies on Russian territory, according to research by Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny and, per Meduza.
The amended filings reveal that a $500k "personal" loan to his 2022 campaign wasn't personally funded. Experts say the amended filings add to the mystery of Santos' questionable financial disclosures. The initial filing showed a box for "personal funds of the candidate" was checked on the entry for the hefty campaign loan, whereas the amended filing leaves that box empty. Campaign-finance experts told The New York Times that the revised filings only add to the mystery of Santos' financial disclosures. Brett G. Kappel, an elections lawyer who focuses on campaign finance and ethics, told The Times that the amended filings raise the possibility of illegality.
George Santos claimed to have met Jeffrey Epstein in a resurfaced podcast interview from August 2020. "I met Epstein in a couple of private equity conferences," Santos said on the conservative podcast "The Rory Sauter Show" in August 2020. "I've never dealt with him personally, but I've met him, I've seen him." (At the time of his death, Epstein was awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking of minors.) Later in the podcast interview Santos entertained the implausible idea that Epstein could still be alive.
Donald Trump was pictured with a man who is a convicted mob boss, per The Philadelphia Inquirer. The ex mob boss, Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, said Trump wasn't aware of who he was. Trump, Merlino, and a third unidentified man are pictured in the photograph giving thumbs-ups while at the Trump International Golf Club West Palm Beach in Florida. The photo was widely shared online on Monday, prompting questions as to whether Merlino and Trump knew each other. "President Trump takes countless photos with people," a campaign spokesperson told The Inquirer.
George Santos initially denied dressing in drag before admitting that he did it for fun at a festival. Videos and photos, spanning 2005 to 2008, appear to show Santos as his drag persona Kitara Ravache. Santos initially denied the allegation of being a drag queen, writing on Twitter: "The most recent obsession from the media claiming that I am a drag Queen or 'performed' as a drag Queen is categorically false." Rochard told the news agency that in 2005 Santos was a "poor" drag queen who usually dressed in a simple black dress. Videos and photos, spanning from 2005 to 2008, indicate that Santos may have been dressing in drag at events for several years, despite his denial that he was ever a drag queen.
Russia's foreign minister said Russia was open to negotiating with Ukraine in the early months of the war. Sergey Lavrov blamed the US and other Western nations for blocking peace talks. In the weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine, a number of fruitless peace talks took place as Russia continued to bomb Ukrainian cities. Neither Russia nor Ukraine have shown signs that a diplomatic resolution to the war is now forthcoming. Russia, meanwhile, has said that Ukraine would need to accept Russia's annexation of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhia as part of any peace agreement.
Nikki Haley heavily hinted at a 2024 presidential bid in an interview with Fox News. Haley said politics need to go in a "new direction," adding that she could be the leader to do that. Nikki Haley dropped strong hints of a 2024 presidential bid on Thursday, calling for a "new direction" and more youthful leadership, despite a past pledge not to run against former President Donald Trump. In April 2021, Haley said she would not make a bid for the White House in 2024 if Trump was running. Though Trump is the only Republican to so far announce a 2024 presidential run, his influence on the GOP seems to be faltering amid political and legal troubles.
A federal judge ordered Donald Trump and his attorney to pay nearly $1 million in sanctions. The pair were fined for filing a "frivolous" lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and 30 others. The case was dismissed in September, with the judge deciding it had no merit as a lawsuit. The pair were fined for filing a "frivolous" lawsuit against former Secretary of State and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, as well as 30 other perceived political enemies. In November, Middlebrooks fined a group of Trump's lawyers over the lawsuit.
Former President Donald Trump accused evangelical leaders of disloyalty for not yet endorsing him in 2024. Evangelical Christian leaders appear to be holding back on supporting Trump for the GOP nomination. In October, Trump praised evangelicals for being more "appreciative" of his work than American Jews. During an interview on the right-wing fringe network Real America's Voice, Trump was asked about the lack of endorsements from evangelical leaders for his 2024 presidential campaign. In 2021, Trump also told an Israeli journalist that "evangelical Christians love Israel more than the Jews in this country."
George Santos used a fake Jewish last name to raise money on GoFundMe, a former roommate told CNN. Using the name Zebrowski would encourage Jews to "give more," Santos said, per the roommate. Gregory Morey-Parker, who previously lived with Santos, told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday that Santos used several aliases during their time as roommates. Morey-Parker said he primarily knew Santos, who has listed his full name as George Anthony Devolder Santos, as Anthony Devolder. Santos later told the New York Post that he is Catholic and only claimed to be "Jew-ish."
Greene accused Boebert of taking money from Kevin McCarthy but not voting for him, sources said. The argument reportedly took place on the day of the first ballot to select the House speaker. One source said that Greene confronted Boebert as she was coming out of a bathroom stall. Greene accused Boebert of taking money from McCarthy for her re-election bid but then not backing him in the House speaker race, the source said, per The Beast. The bathroom disagreement ended with Boebert running out of the bathroom "like a little schoolgirl," the first source told The Beast, adding that Boebert told Greene before leaving the bathroom: "Don't be ugly."
"Mar-a-Lago is a highly secured facility, with Security Cameras all over the place, and watched over by staff & our great Secret Service," wrote Trump. In the post, Trump compared Mar-a-Lago to President Joe Biden's "flimsy, unlocked, and unsecured" private residence in Wilmington, Delaware. This was recently spotlighted by the Justice Department investigation into the mishandling of classified documents and presidential records at Mar-a-Lago. The New York Times reported that of the more than 100 classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago, most were located in a non-secure storage area. During its August 2022 raid, FBI agents found classified documents in Trump's "45 Office" — located above Mar-a-Lago's main ballroom.
A former commander for the notorious Wagner Group fled Russia and is now seeking asylum in Norway. Andrey Medvedev left Russia fearful for his life after leaving the group, his lawyer told Insider. Risnes told Insider that Medvedev enlisted with the Wagner Group last summer. The Wagner Group, which is increasingly recruiting from Russian prisons, is alleged by a variety of organizations to have committed actions in Ukraine that would constitute war crimes. The Wagner Group has previously been deployed in Libya, Syria, and in other destinations across the world.
Russian actor Artur Smolyaninov told Novaya Gazeta he is willing to fight for Ukraine. Smolyaninov, who is living in exile, starred in one of President Vladimir Putin's favorite movies. Smolyaninov was once a beloved actor in Russia, known as Russia's "Rambo," a reference to the action movies starring Sylvester Stallone. Last summer, he told a journalist that Russia's war was a catastrophe. US-born actor Steven Seagal has regularly advanced Russian talking points, notably when visiting the site of a destroyed Ukrainian prison in Donetsk last August.
Matteo Messina Denaro, the boss of Sicily's Cosa Nostra mafia group, was arrested on Monday. He became a fugitive on Italy's most-wanted list in 1993, tied to a series of murders and bombings. His capture followed the arrests of other crime kingpins who had been on the run for decades. He is the last of Italy's three most-wanted mafia bosses who eluded capture for decades, per Sky News. Mafia "boss of bosses" Salvatore Riina, who spent 23 years as a fugitive, was captured in 1993.
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