Tag Archives: Hell

Trump says he’ll leave White House if electoral college votes for Biden, but he may never concede

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will leave the White House if the electoral college votes for president-elect Joe Biden, the closest he has come to conceding the Nov. 3 election, even as he repeated his unfounded claims of massive voter fraud.

Speaking to reporters on the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, Trump, a Republican, said if Democrat Biden — who is due to be sworn in on Jan. 20 — is certified the election winner by the electoral college, he will depart the White House.

But he also said it would be hard for him to concede under the current circumstances and declined to say whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration.

“This election was a fraud,” Trump insisted in a sometimes rambling discourse at the White House, while continuing to offer no concrete evidence of widespread voting irregularities.

Biden won the election with 306 electoral college votes — many more than the 270 required — to Trump’s 232, and the electors are scheduled to meet on Dec. 14 to formalize the outcome. Biden also leads Trump by more than six million in the popular vote tally.

WATCH | Trump says he will leave the White House if the electoral college votes for Biden:   

U.S. President Donald Trump, in a testy exchange with reporters, finally says he will leave the White House if Joe Biden is declared the winner of the electoral college vote. 1:06

Efforts to overturn results have failed

Trump has so far refused to fully acknowledge his defeat, though last week — with mounting pressure from his own Republican ranks — he agreed to let Biden’s transition process officially proceed.

Asked if he would leave the White House if the electoral college votes for Biden, Trump said: “Certainly I will. Certainly I will. And you know that.

“But I think that there will be a lot of things happening between now and the 20th of January. A lot of things,” he continued. “Massive fraud has been found. We’re like a third world country.”

Desperate efforts by Trump and his aides to overturn results in key states, either by lawsuits or by pressuring state legislators, have failed, and he is running out of options.

In the United States, a candidate becomes president by securing the most electoral votes rather than by winning a majority of the national popular vote. Electors, allotted to the 50 states and the District of Columbia largely based on their population, are party loyalists who pledge to support the candidate who won the popular vote in their state.

Several election law experts have pointed out that Trump does not have to concede

Trump says he’ll go to Georgia

During the news conference, Trump went on to denounce officials in battleground states he’d lost, including Pennsylvania and Georgia, as “communists” and “enemies of the state.”

State officials and international observers have repeatedly said no evidence of mass fraud exists, and Trump’s campaign has repeatedly failed in court.

Trump announced he’d be travelling to Georgia to meet with what he said would be tens of thousands of supporters on Dec. 5, ahead of two runoffs there that will likely determine whether Republicans or Democrats control the Senate.

Emily Murphy, the top official at the General Services Administration, declared Biden the “apparent winner” Monday, a procedural yet critical step that allowed for the transition to begin in earnest. She cited “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results.”


General Services Administration administrator Emily Murphy, pictured in 2019, declared Biden the ‘apparent winner’ of the election Monday, a procedural yet critical step that allowed for the transition to begin in earnest. (Susan Walsh/The Associated Press)

More lawsuits filed

But one day after Trump said his administration should begin working with Biden’s team, three more lawsuits were filed by allies attempting to stop the certification in two more battleground states.

In Minnesota, a judge did not rule on the suit and the state certified the results for Biden. Another was filed in Wisconsin, which doesn’t certify until Tuesday. Arizona Republicans filed a complaint over ballot inspection; the state certification is due Monday.

And the campaign legal team said state lawmakers in Arizona and Michigan would hold meetings on the election “to provide confidence that all of the legal votes have been counted and the illegal votes have not been counted in the November 3rd election.”

In Pennsylvania, where state Republican lawmakers met at Gettysburg on Wednesday to air grievances about the election, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani attended in person and Trump dialled in from the Oval Office.

“We have all the evidence,” Trump asserted. “All we need is to have some judge listen to it properly without having a political opinion.”

But the strongest legal rebuke yet came from a conservative Republican judge in federal court in Pennsylvania, who on Saturday dismissed the Trump team’s lawsuit seeking to throw out the results of the election. The judge admonished the Trump campaign in a scathing ruling about its lack of evidence. The campaign has appealed.

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Brett Caprioni Says He’ll ‘Always Be Grateful’ to Lisa Vanderpump After ‘Vanderpump Rules’ Firing (Exclusive)

Brett Caprioni Says He’ll ‘Always Be Grateful’ to Lisa Vanderpump After ‘Vanderpump Rules’ Firing (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight

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Lea Michele Apologizes Following ‘Glee’ Co-Star’s Accusations That She Made Her Time on Set ‘A Living Hell’

Lea Michele Apologizes Following ‘Glee’ Co-Star’s Accusations That She Made Her Time on Set ‘A Living Hell’ | Entertainment Tonight

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‘Tiger King’ Star Jeff Lowe Says He Will Leave Zoo a ‘Complete Hell’ for Carole Baskin (Exclusive)

‘Tiger King’ Star Jeff Lowe Says He Will Leave Zoo a ‘Complete Hell’ for Carole Baskin (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight

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Deep Space Nine Upscale Project Update: Variable Frame Rate DVDs Can Burn in Hell

The following unhinged rant article is the sole opinion of its author. ExtremeTech does not discriminate against variable frame rate media.

In my previous two Star Trek: Deep Space Nine articles, I’ve discussed my efforts to upscale the content, provided some video and image samples, and discussed the process of slowly attempting to remaster the show using commercially available software. I have continued to make real progress on the show in terms of overall image quality, to the point that I’m turning my attention to fixing some other problems I haven’t been sure how to deal with.

Specifically: The frame rate.

In Which My Barely Video-Literate and Underslept Self Attempts to Explain the Mechanics of Hell

Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager weren’t recorded in anything as sensible as a steady 23.976fps. When these shows aired in the 1980s and 1990s, they were constructed from at least two different types of content: 23.976fps progressive content and 29.97fps interlaced content. Episodes of these shows do not run at one frame rate; they run at different frame rates depending on what’s happening on-screen. A show that runs at one frame rate, start to finish, uses Constant Frame Rate encoding (CFR). Deep Space Nine, TNG, and VOY all use VFR. Stargate SG-1 and Babylon 5 do the same thing. Most of the best nerd content of the late 1990s and early 2000s is locked behind media that go for this kind of manipulation.

One of the things I haven’t talked about, but have been privately confused by, is why so many of the filters I deployed in an attempt to fix DS9’s frame rate weren’t producing the results I wanted. When I reported in my last article that DS9 used 3:2 pulldown, in which three progressive frames of data are followed by two interlaced frames, I was right — and I was wrong.

The Deep Space Nine episode “Sacrifice of Angels” absolutely contains video footage that was mastered with 3:2 pulldown applied. It is not made of this footage. It contains interlaced frames that were there when the videos were transferred to DVD in the first place. It isn’t made of this footage, either. No, Deep Space Nine, or at least “Sacrifice of Angels,” is mostly 23.976fps (which looks fine), but with enough 29.97fps footage spliced into it to make it jarring.

Part of the problem is that interlacing and 3:2 pulldown are a lot more visible on modern LCDs than they were on older CRTs. Issues like this have cropped up in gaming as well. If you look back at reviews of these DVDs, they were lauded for their quality when the show came out in the early 2000s — and probably reviewed on CRT monitors. This, at least, is what a long-suffering video editor friend told me when I pestered him to answer my questions for three months straight a few hours.

Part of the problem is that TVEAI does a really good job enhancing half-field interlaced frames when they appear on-screen. They’re far more visible when upscaled than at native resolution.

This is what a telecined or interlaced frame looks like. You can clearly see that it’s just half a field of visual information, not the full frame.

Here’s another issue: A lot of video editing applications, including AviSynth and TVEAI itself, are none too fond of VFR content.

When I feed a MakeMKV-derived source file directly into Topaz Video Enhance AI, it detects more than 80,000 frames in an episode that ought to contain around 65,000 frames. TVEAI exposes no encoding options to the end-user, and the default output from content scaled in this mode runs at 29.97fps. If you were the kind of kid who enjoyed playing 33 1/2 RPM records at 45 RPM, you’ll be very excited by this result. If you weren’t, Captain Benjamin “Alvin” Sisko is not an improvement on the original version. (Assuming, at least, that I was nuts enough to pitch-shift the audio to match it).

If you don’t want to run content at 29.97fps, there’s another option — re-encode it at 23.976fps. Convert the interlaced frames, lower the frame rate, and you’ll end up with imperfect, highly noticeable jerks and jumps during fast-paced space combat scenes — which are exactly the ones we are trying to preserve. This is known as judder. Judder sucks.

Topaz Video Enhance AI is not the only application that gets confused by VFR content. I’ve been using StaxRip as a front-end for AviSynth+ and have been mystified as to why the program constantly detects a frame rate of 24.66fps when loaded with MakeMKV source. It turns out that 24.66fps is the average frame rate over the entire episode if you average together the relatively small number of 29.97fps scenes with the much larger number of 23.976fps scenes.

So. The goal is to duplicate the smoothness of the 29.97fps content in the stream without judder. I’ve actually made some real progress towards that goal — enough to say I feel like I’m nearing the end of the first stage of this process. (Color grading is going to be the second stage, oh joy of my heart.)

Where I’m running into trouble, however, is figuring out to remux the audio. I haven’t yet figured out how to synchronize audio to video playback at new frame rates, and the judder management isn’t perfect yet. This (near) final video is from several days ago. I’ve actually improved further on this since I ran the encode. And since if you’re reading this, you’re probably wanting to see the content, so I’ve got an interim version of the credits I’m happy to share. You’ll have to ignore the misaligned audio and you need to set YouTube to 4K for best image quality, even if you don’t have a 4K monitor.

Let’s compare this new video with the video I created back in February. There are a few things I want to specifically call out. Both videos were upscaled using Topaz Video Enhance AI, but Topaz has updated the application in the intervening period. This does not seem to have had a large impact on image quality, but may have tweaked it in some ways. The top video is April, the bottom video is from February. Run both of them in 4K mode or as close to it as you can get.

Speed: The old video runs at 49.32fps, while the new one is encoded at 24.66fps. I’m still grappling with StaxRip / AviSynth+ to get this problem out of the video, but 24.66fps is close enough to see what it’s going to look like, where 49.32fps looks artificially smooth to eyeballs used to slower video refresh.

Blur: The February video is over-sharp when it passes through the comet, while this April video is too blurry. I’ve already cleaned this up substantially since I uploaded the video a couple of days ago, so no worries on that score.

Aliasing: The February edition of DS9 is heavily aliased in certain places, like when the runabouts approach the logo in the first part of the credits. The new version shows far less aliasing. With that said, there are certain shots, like the Defiant’s final approach into the wormhole, where the ship is badly aliased no matter what I do. Haven’t figured a solution for that yet.

Shimmer: The February video makes it look as if DS9 (the station, not the show) is crawling with ants in certain places. The reason the April video looks a bit blurred is that my efforts to lock that problem down were a little too enthusiastically applied. Watch the station pans to see the difference here.

Judder: My new, enthusiastic, and least-wanted best friend has been substantially improved, but you can see some clear instances of judder in the April video, including when the runabouts pass in front of the camera and the Defiant passes the outer docking pylon. I’ve already got an encode that improves sharpness and the Defiant’s passage while yanking the frame rate down to 23.976fps rather than this dorky 24.66 faux-hybrid thing.

Overall, you can see the rate of progression from February to April in these two videos. February represents the beginning of my work, when I was just running an application through TVEAI to upscale. The April video represents the application of additional filters.

What Comes Next?

I figure it’s time I lay out a formal roadmap for where I’m going with this thing.

Video Quality: After three months of working on DS9 and literally hundreds of video encodes, I am hopeful that I’m nearing the end of the road, as far as video work. Judder is the last major problem to solve, to the extent that judder can be “solved” in the first place. I have attempted some rather … whacky experimentation to solve this problem. I launched 17 different encodes of the MakeMKV source file last night. The first 12 had serious names that reflected the settings I picked for them. #13 – #17 were named “F***It.mkv.” I’ll go downstairs later on and check the results before repairing to AviSynth documentation to attempt more testing.

I’d like to know more about antialiasing scripts than I do (most of them reference anime, not video content) and I need to run some tests to confirm that DAA is actually still getting me a visual improvement. I’d love to find a better AA solution to clean up a few niggling issues.

Color Reprocessing: I have decided to separate out any work I do on DS9’s color from the work I’m doing on the video. I haven’t dropped this aspect of the project, but I’m not picking it back up until I have the visual processing nailed down. Not everyone is going to want color tweaking in the first place, after all. Users should note that Topaz Video Enhance AI introduces some color shifting when it upscales. In the initial version of the application, this applied a subtle lightening effect in HQ-CG mode, as shown below:

It’s subtle, but you can see that the image on the right is slightly lighter than the one on the left.

Topaz recently updated the application to a new version that now appears to have a different impact on color, but I wanted to show the original. I’m keeping both the original and newer version of the application handy to cross-compare video output.

Audio: HELP WANTED: INQUIRE WITHIN.

More seriously, I expect to nail down the audio issues, too. I just can’t remember how I solved the problem last time.

Tools Used: Right now, MakeMKV, StaxRip 2.0.8 with AviSynth+, and Topaz Video Enhance AI itself. The front-end is a useful way to code AviSynth scripts. The goal is to create this project with as much free software as possible. Still evaluating a run through Handbrake, if only to try syncing the audio/video that way.

Once I’ve hammered the workflow into shape, I’m going to publish a step-by-step tutorial on how to do this on ExtremeTech. Honestly, it doesn’t take that much in terms of filters — well, not yet. I haven’t shared my specific settings yet because I’m still trying to figure out which variables and filters are the right ones to use. I don’t want to publish pieces of a guide that then become separated from the final product.

Finally: A great many people have reached out to me following the publication of my second article with encouragement, well wishes, and technical assistance. A longer list of thank-yous will accompany the final version of my article, once I’ve checked in with people and figured out how they want to be acknowledged. The help I have received from some of you has been vital to pulling off this project. Anyone with ideas on how to improve image quality or solve the judder problem is welcome to get in touch.

Once Deep Space Nine is complete, I’m moving on to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, another beloved show with an execrable 16:9 “conversion” that very few people seem to like. I’ll be using the 4:3 version of the show to see what kind of improvements I can bring to the Scooby Gang. We’ll also check in with the Blu-ray version of Firefly to see how Topaz Video Enhance AI handles upscaling already-HD content.

Now Read:

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‘We went through hell’: Trump defiant, unrepentant after impeachment acquittal

U.S. President Donald Trump took a victory lap on Thursday in a pair of speeches, including at the White House, lashing out at his perceived enemies and revelling in the acquittal the previous day in his Senate impeachment trial.  

Speaking from the East Room of the White House, Trump characterized his trials, including an earlier investigation into his campaign’s interactions with Russian officials in 2016, as a years-long campaign by Democrats to smear him. Trump, occasionally resorting to profanity, repeated a litany of grievances about Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) surveillance procedures and the intelligence document known as the Steele dossier.  

“We went through hell, unfairly, did nothing wrong,” said Trump, repeating the last phrase.  

The Senate voted on Wednesday to acquit Trump of abuse of power stemming from his request that Ukraine announce an investigation into Democrat presidential contender Joe Biden, as well as the charge of obstructing Congress by blocking witnesses and documents sought by the House of Representatives.  

Trump on Thursday again insisted his controversial July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “perfect” and questioned the earnings of Hunter Biden from his sinecure on a Ukraine energy board. The younger Biden served on the board of Burisma for over two years while his father was U.S. vice-president.  

The president didn’t rule out the possibility that he would be investigated at some future point by Democrats in Congress.

 “We’ll probably have to do it again, because these people are stone-cold crazy,” he said.

Shots at Pelosi, Romney

Earlier in the day, Trump triumphantly held up copies of two newspapers with banner “ACQUITTED!” headlines as he took the stage at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.

Trump was keen to tackle the impeachment topic early on in his breakfast speech.  

“As everybody knows, my family, our great country and your president have been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people,” he said. “They have done everything possible to destroy us.”  


White House counsel Pat Cipollone, left, and Jay Sekulow, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, react as the president speaks on Thursday. Cipollone and Sekulow both advocated for Trump at the Senate impeachment trial. (Patrick Semansky/The Associated Press)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who led the impeachment charge against the Republican president, was also at the breakfast. Pelosi, who had torn up the text of Trump’s state of the union speech after his address on Tuesday night, preceded the president on the dais, asking for prayers for the poor and persecuted.

Trump did not acknowledge her. He then clearly took shots in his speech at both Pelosi and Mitt Romney, the only Republican senator to vote to convict Trump on one of the articles of impeachment.  

“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” said Trump. “Nor do I like people who say ‘I pray for you’ when they know that that’s not so.”

Pelosi often says she prays for the president, while Romney in his speech Wednesday from the Senate floor justifying his votes on the two articles of impeachment, said he “swore an oath before God to exercise impartial justice.”  


U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a newspaper with the headline that reads ‘ACQUITTED’ during the 68th annual National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton on Thursday. (Evan Vucci/The Associated Press)

Pelosi, at her weekly news conference later in the day, called the comments “so completely inappropriate, especially at a prayer breakfast.”  

“He’s talking up things he knows little about — faith and prayer,” she said.  

Trump, at the White House later, said he “meant every word of it,” regarding his breakfast comments. Later, he called Pelosi “a horrible person.”  

Pelosi said it was “up to him” if the two sides can work together on legislation going forward, pointing to the recent ratification of the trade deal with Canada and Mexico as an example.  

Aside from Romney, Republican senators voted to acquit Trump, relying on a multitude of rationales for keeping him in office: he’s guilty, but his conduct wasn’t impeachable; his July telephone conversation with Ukraine’s president was a standard example of politicians trading favours; and that there’s an election in 10 months and it’s up to voters to determine his fate.  

During his breakfast speech, Trump urged his audience to get out and vote on Nov. 3.  

Trump tweeted after the Senate vote on Wednesday that he would mark his acquittal with a statement at noon Thursday to “discuss our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax!” T


U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is shown as Trump delivers his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Overall, the tone contrasted that of Bill Clinton, the last president to be impeached.   Clinton, in a statement after being acquitted at a Senate impeachment trial in February 1999, said he was “profoundly sorry … for what I said and did to trigger these events and the great burden they have imposed on the Congress and on the American people.”  

At the White House, Trump did apologize to his family for what they had to endure, but put the blame squarely on the Democrats.

Trump at the prayer breakfast highlighted his administration’s record on the economy, citing historically low unemployment, as well as its efforts to champion pro-life policies and protect religious liberties around the world.

Pelosi shook her head at various points during Trump’s remarks.

U.S. President Donald Trump set his sights on re-election moments after surviving an impeachment trial in the Senate, but November is still a long ways away — especially in politics. 2:02

Just minutes earlier, Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy of California asked for prayers to help guide a divided Congress, while the conservative columnist Arthur Brooks implored the audience to not hold liberals in contempt.

“They’re just Americans who disagree with us on public policy,” said Brooks.

“I don’t know if I agree with you,” Trump said to Brooks as he took the microphone.  

Trump praises surrogates

At his weekly news conference, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer called the trial result a “pyrrhic victory” for Republicans.

The New York Democrat targeted Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as having “failed to live up to what this country’s all about,” by marshaling his side to vote against hearing additional witness testimony during the trial.  

Schumer surmised that Republican senators feared the wrath of a “vindictive” Trump and conservative media outlets.


Trump at the White House implored McConnell to stand, praising his efforts on behalf of the White House.

“You did a fantastic job,” the president said.

Trump also singled out for recognition some of his most vociferous defenders on Capitol Hill, including Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley and members of congress Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan, Doug Collins, Debbie Lesko and Matt Gaetz.

“We’ve got your back,” said North Carolina congressman Mark Meadows, another Trump loyalist.

Trump spoke for over an hour at the White House, largely unscripted, but did not take reporter questions.

Pelosi said the House will continue to provide oversight of the Trump administration, but did not specifically address a question whether Democrats in the chamber would subpoena from John Bolton, the former national security adviser. Bolton has written a book alleging the president pressured Ukraine and withheld military to announce investigations helpful to Trump’s cause.

 

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Adam Sandler Says It Would Be ‘Funny as Hell’ If He Received an Oscar Nomination (Exclusive)

Adam Sandler Says It Would Be ‘Funny as Hell’ If He Received an Oscar Nomination (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight

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Lizzo Slays ‘Saturday Night Live’ Musical Debut With Festive Performances of ‘Truth Hurts’ and ‘Good As Hell’

Lizzo Slays ‘Saturday Night Live’ Musical Debut With Festive Performances of ‘Truth Hurts’ and ‘Good As Hell’ | Entertainment Tonight

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Malta PM says he’ll resign amid public pressure for truth on reporter’s slaying

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said Sunday night that he would resign in January following pressure from citizens for the truth about the 2017 car bombing that killed a journalist.

In a televised message, Muscat said he has informed Malta’s president that he will quit as leader of the governing Labour Party on Jan. 12 and that “in the days after, I will resign as prime minister.”

Hours earlier, thousands of Maltese protested outside a courthouse in the capital, Valletta, demanding that he step down.

“As prime minister, I promised two years ago that justice would be done in the case of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia,” Muscat said, beginning his speech, adding “today I am here to tell you that I kept my word.”

Muscat noted that in addition to three people arrested soon after the bombing for carrying out the actual attack, now there is “someone accused of being the principal person behind this killing.”

Muscat was referring to prominent Maltese businessman Yorgen Fenech, who on Saturday night, was arraigned on charges of alleged complicity in the murder and of allegedly organizing and financing the bombing. Fenech entered pleas of innocence.


Maltese businessman Yorgen Fenech leaves the Courts of Justice in Valletta on Friday. (Yara Nardi/Reuters)

Muscat’s former chief of staff Keith Schembri was linked to the killing. Schembri was among government members targeted by Caruana Galizia’s investigative reporting. Schembri, who resigned last week, was arrested in the probe but later released. He denies wrongdoing

The prime minister insisted that he will see to it that “justice is for everyone,” and said the investigation is still ongoing.

Labour has a comfortable majority in Parliament, indicating that a new party leader could become premier without the need for a national election.

Watch: Malta tycoon charged in journalist’s car bomb killing

Close to 20,000 Maltese citizens jammed Republic Street outside the courthouse in what was by far the largest turnout so far in weeks of public outpouring of anger and disgust aimed at Muscat’s government.

The slain reporter had written extensively about suspected corruption in political and business circles on the European Union nation, which is a financial haven for many investors.

Among her targets were those in Muscat’s political inner circle, including members of his Cabinet. Caruana Galizia was the subject of lawsuits by some of her subjects, including some in government. While many celebrated her as an anti-corruption champion, some on the island whose dealings she exposed scorned her work.


Close to 20,000 Maltese citizens protested outside the courthouse on Sunday. (Associated Press)

“I reiterate my deepest regret that a person, with all her positive and negative qualities and contribution toward the democracy of our country, was killed in such a brutal way,” Muscat said.

“The sensations of genuine sadness and anger for this murder are justified. And I will never accept that someone conveys a signal that in any way he or she is justifying this murder.”

European Parliament lawmakers are due to visit Malta in coming days, amid concerns about the functioning of rule of law on the Mediterranean island nation.

Muscat struck a defensive note.

“Our institutions are strong and they function. Shame on anyone who ridicules them as he or she is ridiculing our country.”

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Trump doesn’t think he’ll be impeached, continues to push ‘Ukraine server’ conspiracy

President Donald Trump on Friday promoted a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election, a day after a former White House adviser called it a “fictional narrative” and said it played into Russia’s hands.

Trump called in to Fox & Friends and said he was trying to root out corruption in the Eastern European nation when he withheld aid over the summer. Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is at the centre of the House impeachment probe, which is looking into Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate political rivals as he held back nearly $ 400 million.

He repeated his assertion that Ukrainians might have hacked the Democratic National Committee’s network in 2016 and framed Russia for the crime.

“They gave the server to CrowdStrike, which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian,” Trump said. “I still want to see that server. The FBI has never gotten that server. That’s a big part of this whole thing.”

Trump’s claim on Ukraine being behind the 2016 election interference has been discredited by intelligence agencies.

CrowdStrike is an internet security firm based in California. They investigated the DNC hack in June 2016 and traced it to two groups of hackers connected to a Russian intelligence service — not Ukraine.

One version of the debunked theory holds that CrowdStrike is owned by a wealthy Ukrainian. In fact, company co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch is a Russian-born U.S. citizen who immigrated as a child and graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

On the final day of witness testimony, former Russia adviser Fiona Hill and State Department adviser David Holmes testified the U.S. president and his lawyer, Rudy Guiliani, both pushed for Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden. 3:00

Continues to criticize former ambassador

The president repeated his claim one day after Fiona Hill, a former Russia adviser on the White House National Security Council, admonished Republicans for pushing unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did,” Hill testified before the House impeachment inquiry panel. “This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”

Democrats have said the so-called Crowdstrike theory makes little sense, the latest being Ted Lieu of California.

“Emails stolen from that server hurt Clinton & HELPED TRUMP,” said Lieu.


Trump in the interview also worked to undercut witnesses at the hearings, including the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, whom Trump recalled from her post in Kyiv. The president called her an “Obama person” and claimed without evidence that she didn’t want his picture to hang on the walls of the embassy.

“There are a lot of things that she did that I didn’t like,” he said, adding that he asked why administration officials were being so kind to her. “‘Well, sir, she’s a woman. We have to be nice,’ he said they told him. Without providing details, Trump said he viewed her differently. “She’s very tough. I heard bad things,” he said.

He previously lashed out at Yovanovitch on Twitter while she was appearing before the House intelligence committee on Nov. 15, leading intelligence committee chair Adam Schiff to get her reaction in real time.

The final day of hearings is over. Catch up with a recap of the day’s testimonies  21:06

Trump said he does not expect to be impeached, claiming Democrats have “absolutely nothing” incriminating, despite days of public testimony by witnesses who said Trump withheld aid from Ukraine to press the country to investigate his political rivals.

“I think it’s very hard to impeach you when they have absolutely nothing,” Trump said, adding that if the House did vote to impeach him, he would welcome a trial in the Senate.

Trump told Fox & Friends that “there was no quid pro quo,” in his efforts to push Ukrainian President Zelensky to open investigations of former Vice-President Joe Biden and his son’s dealings in Ukraine.

The president’s assertion is at odds with sworn testimony by impeachment witnesses.

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