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TPM has obtained what appears to be the draft opinion article that Paul Manafort allegedly helped to ghostwrite, getting him in hot water with federal prosecutors and potentially the judge in his criminal case.

The draft op-ed was provided t0 TPM by Oleg Voloshyn, a former spokesman for Ukraine’s ministry of foreign affairs under the strongly pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych. Voloshyn claims to be its author, a claim first reported Tuesday by Bloomberg.

“I wrote it myself upon my own initiative as I couldn’t stand the allegations by McClatchy that Manafort had tried to derail the European integration although in fact he was its staunchest supporter,” Voloshyn told TPM.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team alleged this week that Manafort and an associate with alleged ties to Russian intelligence —revealed by the New York Times to be Konstantin Kilimnik—ghostwrote the draft op-ed in violation of the judge’s gag order in Manafort’s criminal case. The judge has ordered Manafort to respond to Mueller’s allegations by Thursday.

Voloshyn told Bloomberg he sent a draft of the op-ed to Kilimnik last week. Kilimnik, he said, forwarded it to Manafort, who “advised me to add that the Yanukovych government also worked actively with the U.S. on nuclear disarmament and with NATO,” which Voloshyn said he already knew.

The draft op-ed was submitted to the English-language Ukrainian news outlet called the Kyiv Post, which declined to run it. Editor Brian Bonner called it “highly suspicious” and “blatantly pro-Manafort” in an interview with Bloomberg. TPM emailed Bonner late Tuesday and he had not responded by press time.

Voloshyn responded with further comment after this story was published, saying in strong terms that he had written the op-ed by himself. The Mueller probe, he said, had not even contacted him about his role. He promised to provide TPM with further evidence of the extent of his role in writing the article.

The draft op-ed, which can be read in full at the bottom of this article, could be described as a love letter to Manafort, crediting him with a number of pro-Western advances in Ukraine:

[O]ne shouldn’t ignore the fact that Ukraine under Yanukovych made a number of major steps towards the EU and the West in general. And that Manafort was among those who made those paradoxical accomplishments real.
It was that period when Ukraine finally met US requirements to get rid of the stocks of highly enriched uranium that could have potentially been used to produce nuclear weapons. Ukraine used to be the only non-NATO nation that took part in all peace-keeping and anti-terrorist operations of the Alliance world-wide.
With an eye towards 2015, the Yanukovych government – to the surprise of so many in Moscow – managed to negotiate with the EU huge list of terms of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). No other nation had accomplished this task over such a brief period of time. Yanukovych’s government had the Association Agreement initialed by March of 2012. This pace shocked Moscow.
This sense of commitment to the goal is actually the reason why Russia overreacted in the summer 2013 and imposed the trade blockade with Ukraine.
Following the European track created multiple challenges that would never had been solved by a Ukraine Government except for the consistent promotion of what had to be done by Paul Manafort.

The op-ed is strikingly similar to the way Manafort has defended himself from charges of propping up a tyrant: The US-led denuclearization initiative, the NATO exercises, and the free trade agreement.

“Anyone who takes the time to review the very public record will find that my main activities, in addition to political consulting, were all directed at integrating Ukraine as a member of the European community including assisting the Obama Administration’s effort to denuclearize Ukraine,” Manafort told CBS News’s Major Garrett earlier this year, “expanding military exercises between NATO and Ukraine, and engaging in the process of negotiating the documents which were the basis of Ukraine becoming a part of the EU – the DCFTA and Association Agreements.”

Manafort was instrumental in bringing Yanukovych to power. Yanukovych’s administration and his political party, The Party of Regions, was widely seen as not merely friendly to but controlled by Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Putin reportedly sent advisers to help Yanukovych with a previous, unsuccessful presidential bid. Where they failed, Manafort succeeded, and since then he has sought to explain his motives—beyond the millions of dollars he was paid—in terms that will seem familiar to anyone who reads the op-ed Voloshyn provided.

Manafort’s spokesperson did not respond to TPM by press time. Mueller’s office declined to comment.

============================

European Integration Unknown Soldier

By: Oleg Voloshyn, former spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

 EU – Ukraine Association Agreement might have never appeared but for a person now falsely accused of lobbying Russian interests.

The night of March 4, 2010 turned out to be a nervous one for the staff of Ukrainian embassy in Moscow where I used to be a press-attaché.

The first visit to Russia of newly elected president Viktor Yanukovych was on the brink of cancellation. The Kremlin wouldn’t grant the already scheduled visit an official status. Russian state media also cancelled earlier agreed interviews with members of Yanukovych team. The explanation was rather simple although possibly unusual for contemporary observers who had a mistaken and simplified perception of the fourth Ukrainian president: Russian leadership was annoyed at Yanukovych’s decision to pay his first visit after inauguration to Brussels before heading to Moscow.

Even Yushchenko in 2005 did the opposite. There was one person the Russians blamed for this “treason of special relationship with brother nation”: the political consultant to Viktor Yanukovych, American strategist Paul Manafort.Manafort persuaded Yanukovych that going first to Brussels would demonstrate to all that as President, Yanukovych intended to bring the changes required to allow Ukraine to apply for formal membership in the European Union.

Manafort brought to the Ukrainian political consultancy business a very important rule: An effective leader needs to be consistent as a President with his promises as a candidate. In his Presidential campaign VY made it clear that it was important for Ukraine to maintain its historical and cultural relationship with Russia. However, Yanukovich had also promised to implement the changes that would begin the modernization of Ukraine that would be necessary for Ukraine to become a part of the EU. The Brussels trip sent this signal loudly and clearly to all – including Russia.

I can’t but stipulate that Yanukovich was a bad president and crook who by the end of his rule had effectively lost credibility even of his staunchest supporters. And finally betrayed them and fled to Russia only to see Ukraine fall in the hands of other kleptocrats now disguised as hooray-patriots and nationalists. But with all that said one shouldn’t ignore the fact that Ukraine under Yanukovych made a number of major steps towards the EU and the West in general. And that Manafort was among those who made those paradoxical accomplishments real.

It was that period when Ukraine finally met US requirements to get rid of the stocks of highly enriched uranium that could have potentially been used to produce nuclear weapons. Ukraine used to be the only non-NATO nation that took part in all peace-keeping and anti-terrorist operations of the Alliance world-wide.

With an eye towards 2015, the Yanukovych government – to the surprise of so many in Moscow – managed to negotiate with the EU huge list of terms of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). No other nation had accomplished this task over such a brief period of time. Yanukovych’s government had the Association Agreement initialed by March of 2012. This pace shocked Moscow.

This sense of commitment to the goal is actually the reason why Russia overreacted in the summer 2013 and imposed the trade blockade with Ukraine.

Following the European track created multiple challenges that would never had been solved by a Ukraine Government except for the consistent promotion of what had to be done by Paul Manafort.

Legislation such as Criminal-Administrative Code built on fundamentally new principles consistent with the Western practices and lauded by the Western institutions is one of the vivid examples.

Even at the end of the process Manafort was engaged in helping the Europeans and the Ukrainians negotiate the final terms.

Just three months before the summit it was the EU, not Yanukovych, who hesitated whether to sign the document or not. And Manafort contributed a lot to change of mood in Brussels and major European capitals while at the same time keeping Ukraine focused on finalizing the details of the DCFTA and Association Agreement. He was doing this while Russia was imposing the trade embargo and threatening even more drastic punishment to discourage Yanukovych from getting into DCFTA with the EU.

With all that said I can only wonder why some American media dare falsely claim that Paul Manafort lobbied Russian interests in Ukraine and torpedoed AA signing. Without his input Ukraine would not have had the command focus on reforms that were required to be a nation candidate to the EU.

All listed here facts can be easily verified. If only one pursues the truth. Not tends to twist the reality in line with his or her conviction that the dubious goal of undermining Trump’s presidency justifies most dishonest means.

This post has been updated.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Freedom Caucus has been on its best behavior these past few months. The group of about three dozen hard-right Republicans has a penchant for fighting with GOP leaders over tactics and strategy, and helped topple Speaker John Boehner, but it has played nice in the party’s drive this fall to cut taxes.

Not anymore.

Washington’s agenda has shifted to the budget, immigration and other contentious issues — and that has set off alarm bells inside the Freedom Caucus, which fears being on the losing end as GOP leaders and President Donald Trump by necessity turn to Democrats to resolve those issues.

So on Monday night several members in the group, including its chairman, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., threw a brush-back pitch. On what normally would have been a routine — but crucial — vote to send the all-important tax bill to a House-Senate conference committee, Meadows and about a dozen other Republicans held back their support.

The conservatives were trying to get the attention of House leaders, who were marching ahead with a plan for a pre-Christmas budget agreement that has the potential for dealing conservatives losses on immigration, health care, and money for domestic agencies and hurricane recovery.

“One person says disruption. We like to say we’re doing what we told the voters we were going to do,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, former chair of the Freedom Caucus. “That’s what we’re doing.”

The current situation is down in the weeds even by Washington standards, but basically is featuring a lot of back and forth about tactics on a set of temporary spending bills to keep the government from shutting down this weekend and later in December. Those bills would buy time for budget talks but also are being eyed by Republicans and Democrats alike as unstoppable vehicles to carry unrelated legislation into law.

Conservatives fear they’re getting set up to absorb losses at the hands of Democrats such as Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who has a track record of taking advantage of GOP divisions to win victories for her party.

The add-ons conservatives fear most include protections for young immigrants brought into the country illegally and a budget pact providing tens of billions of dollars in spending for domestic agencies demanded by Democrats.

Basically, the Freedom Caucus is threatening to hold back votes on the stopgap bills to gain commitments that it won’t get burned later.

“There would have to be some very iron-clad commitments on behalf of leadership on how this will be different than the last five years,” Meadows said.

Meadows, serving in just his third term, served as a genial GOP back bencher for his first few years in the House. But he stunned the Capitol in the summer of 2015 by moving to oust Boehner, R-Ohio. Boehner left under his own power that fall, but the Freedom Caucus then denied Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s bid to replace him.

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., emerged from the chaos. He appears to eye the group warily but has stayed on relatively good terms with its members, especially during this fall’s tax debate. But Ryan also backs a bipartisan budget deal as the only means to get increases for the Pentagon through the Senate, where Democrats hold great leverage.

In fact, some more pragmatic Republicans fear the current divisions inside the GOP could be tying the hands of party leaders like Ryan, driving them toward a shutdown showdown later this month.

For his part, Boehner unloaded on the Freedom Caucus, including Jordan and Meadows, in interviews with Politico earlier this year.

“He’s an idiot,” Boehner said of Meadows. “I can’t tell you what makes him tick.” The former speaker called Jordan a “legislative terrorist.”

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Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on Tuesday donated to Alabama Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones hours after President Donald Trump doubled down on his support for Republican candidate Roy Moore, who stands accused of sexual misconduct.

“Country over Party,” Flake tweeted, along with a picture of his $100 donation to Jones’ campaign.

Hours earlier, Flake sat next to Trump as the President predicted that Moore, who numerous women have accused of sexual misconduct, will “do very well” for Alabama.

Trump also boasted about “unity” within the Republican Party. Flake, who announced in October that he will retire in 2018, has been an outspoken critic of the President, appeared to react to that claim with discomfort.

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It’s come to this.

Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore’s campaign has blocked his Democratic opponent Doug Jones on Twitter, Jones claimed on Tuesday.

Prior to the symbolic gesture — which bars Jones’ account from viewing or interacting with Moore’s — the Democrat had posted quotes from a speech earlier in the day, in which he said of Moore, “men who hurt little girls should go to jail — not to the U.S. Senate.”

A spokesperson for Moore’s campaign told TPM in an email: “We can’t believe that Doug Jones is still whining about being blocked on Twitter. Wait until we block him from the United States Senate.”

Moore has been accused by several women of sexual misconduct, including pursuing sexual relationships with teenagers when he was an assistant district attorney. Leigh Corfman accused Moore of initiating sexual contact with her when she was 14, and Beverly Young Nelson accused Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 16.

Moore has denied all wrongdoing and refused to grant interviews to mainstream news outlets. On Tuesday a campaign spokesperson, Janet Porter, refused to say in an interview with CNN whether she believed the women accusing Moore of wrongdoing.

The pair will compete in a special election to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat on Dec. 12.

This post has been updated.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Deputy White House chief of staff Kirstjen Nielsen as President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

Senators approved Nielsen’s nomination, 62-37, on Tuesday. Nielsen, 45, is a former DHS official who is considered a protege of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, a former DHS secretary.

Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Nielsen a qualified candidate with the talent and experience to succeed. As a former DHS chief of staff, Nielsen understands the department’s daily operations and is ready to lead on her first day, McConnell said.

Democrats complained that Nielsen lacks the experience needed to run a major agency with 240,000 employees. They also cited concerns about possible White House interference in a recent DHS decision to send home thousands of Nicaraguans and Haitians long granted U.S. protection.

Homeland Security oversees the nation’s borders, cybersecurity and response to natural disasters, among other areas.

Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said Nielsen brings valuable, practical experience to DHS. He called her an expert in risk management, with a focus on cybersecurity, emergency management and critical infrastructure.

Nielsen “is ready to answer this call to duty,” Johnson said. “She has been working in and around the Department of Homeland Security since its creation.”

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said Nielsen has played a role in several questionable Trump administration decisions, including a travel ban to restrict entry from six mostly Muslim countries, termination of a program for young immigrants and what Harris called a “feeble response to Hurricanes Irma, Maria and Harvey.”

Harris also said she was troubled by Nielsen’s failure to acknowledge at her confirmation hearing how human behavior contributes to climate change.

Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice Education Fund, which promotes immigrants’ rights, said Trump has worked to punish immigrants and refugees, from his call to build a wall along the Mexican border to the partial travel ban to raids against immigrants.

As a key Kelly aide, Nielsen is “one of the architects” of Trump’s immigration policies, Sharry said. He called Nielsen “a willing accomplice, helping to shape and implement this profoundly disturbing and un-American vision of our country.”

Nielsen said at her confirmation hearing last month that climate change is a crucial issue and said the Trump administration is revising its climate models to better respond to rising sea levels.

“I can’t unequivocally state it’s caused by humans,” she said. “There are many contributions to it.”

On other topics, Nielsen said she agreed with Kelly that a U.S.-Mexico border wall is unlikely to be a physical barrier from “sea to shining sea.”

She also condemned white nationalism, rejected Islamophobia and promised to make cybersecurity a top priority.

Trump repeatedly promised during the campaign that he would build the wall and that Mexico would pay for it, but the administration is seeking billions in taxpayer dollars to finance the project.

Homeland Security has been leading the charge on implementing Trump’s aggressive immigration agenda, and Nielsen pledged to continue that work.

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One of President Trump’s personal lawyers is pushing back on reports that Deutsche Bank had received a subpoena for information related to Trump and his family’s financial records in a statement that the White House is also pointing to, when asked about the reports.

“We have confirmed that the news reports that the Special Counsel had subpoenaed financial records relating to the president are false,” Jay Sekulow said in a statement. “No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources.”

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Police say they stopped a man from carrying out a planned mass shooting at a Florida Islamic center.

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams announced Monday that police arrested 69-year-old Bernardino Gawala Bolatete after he tried to buy a gun silencer from an undercover officer.

Police began investigating Bolatete after receiving a tip from a confidential source that Bolatete was planning a mass shooting at the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida.

An undercover officer contacted him and arranged the sale of the silencer. During taped conversations, Bolatete repeated his plans for the shooting.

He was arrested Friday after the silencer was delivered.

Williams said Bolatete already had the weaponry necessary to carry out the attack.

Bolatete is being held by the FBI and more charges could be filed. It was not known if he has an attorney.

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that she hadn’t spoken to President Donald Trump about the possibility of pardoning his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI.

“Yesterday, the President said that he felt very badly for Gen. Flynn,” ABC News’ Cecilia Vega said. “Would he consider pardoning him?”

“I’m not aware that that has come up, or any process or decision on that front,” Sanders said.

“You haven’t talked to him about it?” Vega asked.

“No, I haven’t asked the President whether or not he would do that” Sanders said, adding: “I think before we start discussing pardons for individuals we should see what happens in specific cases, too.”

“So is it fair to say it’s on the table?” Vega asked.

“No,” Sanders replied. “I just said I haven’t had the conversation with him because I don’t feel that it’s necessary until we get further down the the road and determine whether or not that’s even something needed.”

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NEW YORK (AP) — The top editor for the National Enquirer, Us Weekly and other major gossip publications openly described his sexual partners in the newsroom, discussed female employees’ sex lives and forced women to watch or listen to pornographic material, former employees told The Associated Press.

The behavior by Dylan Howard, currently the chief content officer of American Media Inc., occurred while he was running the company’s Los Angeles office, according to men and women who worked there. Howard’s self-proclaimed nickname was “Dildo,” a phallus-shaped sex toy, the former employees said. His conduct led to an internal inquiry in 2012 by an outside consultant, and former employees said he stopped working out of the L.A. office after the inquiry.

Howard quit soon after the report was completed, but the company rehired him one year later with a promotion that landed him in the company’s main office in New York. It was not clear whether Howard faced any discipline over the accusations. AP is not aware of any sexual harassment allegations involving Howard since he was rehired.

The AP spoke with 12 former employees who knew about the investigation into Howard’s behavior, though not all were aware of every detail. The outside investigator hired to examine complaints about Howard’s behavior also confirmed to AP that he completed a report.

In a brief phone interview with the AP, Howard characterized the ex-employees’ claims as “baseless.”

A lawyer for American Media confirmed Tuesday that an outside investigator was hired to look into two employees’ claims about Howard’s behavior.

The lawyer, Cam Stracher, said the investigation did not show serious wrongdoing. Stracher confirmed that one employee had complained that Howard said he wanted to create a Facebook account for her vagina, but Stracher said Howard said that never happened.

“It was determined that there was some what you would call as horsing around outside the office, going to bars and things that are not uncommon in the media business,” Stracher said, “but none of it rose to the level of harassment that would require termination.”

American Media publishes the National Enquirer, RadarOnline, Star and other gossip publications and websites. In March the company purchased the glossy Us Weekly magazine for a reported $100 million, significantly boosting its readership among women.

In his job, Howard oversees those newsrooms.

AMI spokesman Jon Hammond described the two employees who had formally complained about Howard’s alleged behavior as “disgruntled.”

“The investigation described an environment where employees mixed socially outside the office — sometimes at bars — but found no direct support for the allegations of harassment made by the two complainants,” Hammond said in an email.

Most of the former employees spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they had signed nondisclosure agreements, sometimes as part of severance packages.

Two former employees, one a senior manager and another a reporter in the L.A. office, agreed to be publicly identified to discuss Howard’s behavior.

“The behavior that Dylan displayed and the way he was and the way the company dealt with it — I just think that it has to be made public because it’s completely unacceptable,” said Maxine “Max” Page, a former senior editor at RadarOnline. She complained to the human resources department about Howard’s behavior on behalf of two female reporters.

Howard made inappropriate comments to and about one of those women, Page and six other ex-employees said. Howard told employees in the newsroom he wanted to create a Facebook account on behalf of the woman’s vagina, commented on her sex life and forced her and other female employees to either watch or listen to graphic recordings of sex involving celebrities despite there being no professional rationale for doing so, they said.

A former senior editor recalled Howard wrongly claimed during a newsroom meeting that the woman had had sex with a journalism source and praised her for it, saying she needed to “do what you need” to get a story.

The editor said: “He encouraged her to have sex with people for information.”

The woman Howard was discussing confirmed these and other incidents to the AP but declined to be identified.

Page and four other employees recounted instances in which Howard talked about his own sexual exploits, including descriptions of his partners’ physical attributes.

Stracher, the company lawyer, said no one interviewed by the outside investigator complained about Howard’s handling of pornographic material. Stracher said there was nothing inherently inappropriate about that in the celebrity news business.

Stracher also said no one complained to the investigator about Howard’s alleged encouragement of a reporter to sleep with news sources.

Another former reporter, Liz Crokin, said she was also harassed by Howard, including once when he asked whether she was “going to be walking the streets tonight” on a day she wore heels to work.

Page and Crokin, like many of the other former employees who spoke to AP, were laid off by the company during waves of downsizing at AMI. The others who left the company said they did so by choice.

American Media regularly asked exiting employees to sign nondisclosure agreements that prohibit them from disclosing confidential information or disparaging company executives.

Many of the former employees who described Howard’s behavior said they decided to do so after the New Yorker and other news organizations published emails in recent weeks showing that Howard had worked with movie producer Harvey Weinstein to undermine allegations of sexual misconduct by Weinstein.

The emails showed that Howard had dispatched a reporter to uncover derogatory information about an actress who had accused Weinstein of rape, and then shared that information with Weinstein. Howard has said he pursued the information as part of due diligence before entering into a business relationship with Weinstein. Weinstein, who has denied allegations of non-consensual sex, has maintained he was passing along a news tip to Howard that was never published.

After the 2012 investigation into Howard’s conduct in Los Angeles, two of the ex-employees said they were told by a manager that Howard was barred from the Los Angeles office. The employees said he worked from home after that. Stracher, the company lawyer, said Howard was given no such order to stay away from the office.

Shortly after the report was issued, Howard took a new job with another company.

It’s unclear what the report concluded or whether Howard faced any disciplinary action.

The AP was unable to obtain a copy of the report. Its author, Philip Deming, confirmed he wrote a report but said he could not talk about what he found or the recommendations he made.

Page, the manager whose complaint prompted the company to hire Deming, said she was skeptical the company properly investigated Howard’s behavior.

Deming said he produced a 25- to 35-page report with 18 exhibits, and interviewed between 15 and 20 employees. He declined to describe his findings without AMI’s authorization. Stracher, the company lawyer, declined to release the report.

Deming said he was not aware that American Media re-hired Howard a year after his report.

“I did have recommendations and I don’t know what happened after those recommendations were made,” he said.

Stracher said Howard was “cautioned when he returned that what I would characterize as horsing around was not appropriate.”

Howard openly discussed the investigation with some reporters and editors, one former employee said. A January 2012, email provided to the AP by another former employee said, “There is an investigation going on of my boss right now and it’s made everyone awkward and uncomfortable. You could cut the tension with a knife.”

Crokin, the former reporter, said she believed Howard retaliated against her after Deming interviewed her, taking away serious work and assigning her menial tasks. She was laid off a short time later.

The company lawyer, Stracher, said any employees who witnessed or had concerns about Howard’s behavior should have raised them at that time.

Another ex-employee who was interviewed by Deming recalled being anxious about speaking with the HR consultant.

“I told the investigator I didn’t know anything,” said the former employee, acknowledging that answer was not true. “It’s almost like I had Stockholm syndrome.”

Yet another former employee, who said she was present when Howard showed a handful of reporters pornography that was not newsworthy, said Deming never interviewed her.

Howard, 35, came to the U.S. in 2009, months after being fired from a sports reporting job in Australian television news, following a police investigation about how he had obtained athletes’ medical records. Police did not bring charges against him. He was then hired by Australian broadcaster Craig Hutchison’s CrocMedia to report in the United States.

In a recent podcast, Hutchison praised Howard’s talent but said he quickly parted with Howard under rocky circumstances.

“His methods make me uncomfortable, that’s probably the best way to put it,” Hutchison said.

Howard then began working for American Media Inc. in Los Angeles.

During his time there, Howard blurred the lines between his role as a manager and his personal life, throwing parties in Las Vegas and in Malibu, inviting female reporters to accompany him in the evenings and regularly discussing his late-night partying in the newsroom, six former employees said.

For his 30th birthday party, Howard invited a dozen employees to Las Vegas in January 2012 for an all-expenses-paid, three-day party he dubbed “Dildo’s Dirty 30,” according to a copy of the professionally designed invitation obtained by the AP.

A week later, ex-employees said, Deming, the HR consultant, began conducting interviews.

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Alabama Senate Democratic nominee Doug Jones came out swinging at Republican Roy Moore on Tuesday, drawing a sharp contrast between his career as a prosecutor and Moore, who faces allegations from multiple women of initiating sexual encounters when they were teenagers.

“I damn sure believe and have done my part to ensure that men who hurt little girls should go to jail — not to the U.S. Senate,” Jones said in a Tuesday campaign speech that took on a more combative tone than in the past.

Jones is best known for reopening a cold case and successfully prosecuting KKK members who bombed a black church in Birmingham, Ala. in 1963, killing four young girls.

Nine women have come forward to accuse Moore of inappropriate sexual actions, including one who was 16 when she says he violently sexually assaulted her and another who was 14 when she says he initiated a sexual encounter. Before those accusations, he was best known for getting thrown off the Alabama Supreme Court twice for failing to follow the rule of law — and for his hardline theocratic views that his interpretation of the Bible supersedes the Constitution and harsh anti-gay and anti-Muslim statements.

In spite of that, he’s climbed back into a virtual tie with Jones in recent public and private polls — and President Trump doubled down on his endorsement of Moore on Monday, possibly further boosting his campaign.

Jones’s pointed line wasn’t his only broadside against Moore during the speech.

He also warned a Moore win would “be bad for business in Alabama, bad for the economy, and bad for our country” — and attacked Moore for coauthoring a classroom curriculum that taught women shouldn’t run for public office.

“Roy Moore was already an embarrassment to this state before nine courageous women chose to share their deeply personal and disturbing encounters with him from a time when he was a thirty-something year old Assistant District Attorney and they were only teenagers, one as young as 14,” he said.

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