When she’s not serving as the mother of her country, the Queen loves driving, often taking her family for spins in her Range Rover. And on Sunday, the 91-year-old great-grandmother was spotted in her green Jaguar, taking a spin after attending church services in Windsor.
The Queen may be a noted car aficionado, but her solo outings may become more frequent. Last Thursday, Buckingham Palace announced that her husband, Prince Phillip, 95, will no longer carry out his public role starting this fall, though the Queen will continue to attend her full program of official engagements.
Elizabeth first learned how to drive during WWII, serving as a mechanic for the U.K’s Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, and she is the only person in the country who doesn’t legally need a license or official plates behind the wheel.
Related video: Princess Charlotte is the Queen’s mini-me (via Vanity Fair)
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) – The U.S. military’s experimental X-37B space plane landed on Sunday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, completing a classified mission that lasted nearly two years, the Air Force said.
The unmanned X-37B, which resembles a miniature space shuttle, touched down at 7:47 a.m. EDT (1147 GMT) on a runway formerly used for landings of the now-mothballed space shuttles, the Air Force said in an email.
The Boeing-built space plane blasted off in May 2015 from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard an Atlas 5 rocket built by United Launch Alliance, a partnership between Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co .
The X-37B, one of two in the Air Force fleet, conducted unspecified experiments for more than 700 days while in orbit. It was the fourth and lengthiest mission so far for the secretive program, managed by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office.
The orbiters “perform risk reduction, experimentation and concept-of-operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies,” the Air Force has said without providing details. The cost of the program is also classified.
The Secure World Foundation, a nonprofit group promoting the peaceful exploration of space, says the secrecy surrounding the X-37B suggests the presence of intelligence-related hardware being tested or evaluated aboard the craft.
The vehicles are 29 feet (9 meters) long and have a wingspan of 15 feet, making them about one quarter of the size of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s now-retired space shuttles.
The X-37B, also known as Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV, first flew in April 2010 and returned after eight months. A second mission launched in March 2011 and lasted 15 months, while a third took flight in December 2012 and returned after 22 months.
Sunday’s landing was the X-37B’s first in Florida. The three previous landings took place at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The Air Force relocated the program in 2014, taking over two of NASA’s former shuttle-processing hangars.
The Air Force intends to launch the fifth X-37B mission from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, located just south of the Kennedy Space Center, later this year.
Yahoo News Deputy Editor Dan Klaidman spoke with Yahoo’s Chief Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff about former Director of National Intelligence Director James Clapper’s testimony in front of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee. Clapper told the subcommittee that the U.S. did receive information from European allies confirming contact between the Trump campaign and Russians in the spring of 2016, but he also said the “specifics are quite sensitive.”
British and other European intelligence agencies provided “quite sensitive” reports about contacts between advisers to the then candidate Donald Trump and Russian agents starting in late 2015, James Clapper, former director of national intelligence testified today.
Clapper’s testimony before a Senate judiciary subcommittee represented the first public confirmation of such reports, providing important new context about ongoing investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
It came during a day of dramatic testimony in which former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates revealed fresh details about warnings she gave to White House counsel Don McGahn about Trump’s short-lived national security advisor Michael Flynn. Yates said she informed the White House that Flynn had given false accounts about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
While she refused to describe specifically the contacts with Kislyak — noting the matter was still classified — Yates emphasized she had two separate meetings with McGahn at the White House about the issue of Flynn’s “conduct” — on Jan. 26 and again the next day — as well as a follow-up phone call. During her talks with McGahn, she said, she told him this was a “matter of some urgency” and that she was concerned that Vice President Mike Pence — who had publicly defended Flynn — was “unknowingly making false statements.”
But at the second meeting, McGahn seemed to raise an objection, according to Yates’ account.
“One of the questions that Mr. McGahn asked me when I went back over the second day was essentially, Why does it matter to the DOJ [Department of Justice] if one White House official lies to another White House official?”
Yates said she explained that Flynn had “lied to the vice president and others, the American public had been misled and then importantly, that every time this lie was repeated and the misrepresentations were getting more and more specific, as they were coming out.
“Every time that happened, it increased the compromise, and to state the obvious, you don’t want your national security adviser compromised with the Russians.”
Yates refused repeatedly to discuss the underlying “conduct” at issue. But multiple current and former government officials have confirmed that it involved conversations Flynn had had with Kislyak on Dec. 29, including assurances he is believed to have given the ambassador that sanctions imposed by President Obama that day on Russia over its hacking of the 2016 campaign would be revisited when Donald Trump took office in January.
Flynn was finally fired as national security adviser on Feb. 13, a full 18 days after Yates first warned McGahn. This prompted Democrats, led by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, to note that while the country was focused on an 18-minute gap in Oval Office tapes during Watergate, there was an equally mystifying “18-day gap” before Flynn was fired — a period during which he continued to serve as national security adviser and even participated in an hour-long phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Even before the hearings began, Trump was focused on another issue: How the news about Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak, and Yates’ concerns, made its way into the media. “Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Council,” he wrote in one tweet before the hearing began, later correcting the spelling of the position to “Counsel.” Yates was asked by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, if she had ever leaked classified information, and she denied it.
But even bigger news may have come shortly later in the hearing when Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., questioned Clapper, who was sitting next to Yates, about a report in the Guardian newspaper about intelligence that the British and other foreign services had passed along to the U.S. government starting in late 2015 about “suspicious interactions” between advisers to then candidate Trump and Russian intelligence agents.
Sally Yates told the White House that Flynn was vulnerable to Russian blackmail
Yahoo News Deputy Editor Dan Klaidman spoke with Yahoo’s Chief Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff about former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence Director James Clapper’s testimony in front of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee.
“Is this accurate?” Feinstein asked.
“Yes it is, and it’s also quite sensitive, the specifics are quite sensitive.”
Clapper provided no details about the nature of these reports, what “interactions” were being alluded to or how reliable the U.S. government believed them to be. But he took note of FBI director James Comey’s testimony in March that the bureau began a counter-intelligence investigation into Russian operations, including possible links to the Trump campaign, in July of 2016.
Clapper somewhat confused the issue a moment later when he said, “I’m not sure about the accuracy of that article,” apparently referring to the Guardian report which he had just seemingly confirmed.
He then added: “Clearly, going back to 2015, there was evidence of Soviet — Russian, excuse me, Freudian slip — Russian activity mainly in an information-gathering or in a reconnoitering mode, where they were investigating voter registration rolls and the like. That activity started early and so we were monitoring this as it picked up, [and] accelerates in the summer and fall of 2016.”
After the hearing, Trump returned to Twitter. “The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax,” he wrote; “when will this taxpayer funded charade end?”
Flynn’s lawyer said there would be no comment on the testimony.
(Sally Yates.Eric Thayer/Getty Images) Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas got into a heated exchange Monday over President Donald Trump’s stalled executive order barring travel from several majority-Muslim countries.
Yates was removed as acting attorney general in late January after she publicly refused to defend the initial version of the executive order, which has since been revoked and replaced with a slightly scaled-back proposal that is also tied up in the courts.
Cruz began an exchange during a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing by citing a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which provides the president with broad power to suspend the entry of foreigners he believes would be detrimental “to the interest of the” US.
“Would you agree that that is broad statutory authorization?” Cruz asked.
“I would, and I am familiar with that,” Yates responded. “And I’m also familiar with an additional provision … that says no person shall receive preference or be discriminated against in issuance of a visa because of race, nationality, and place of birth. That I believe was promulgated after the statute that you just quoted. And that’s been part of the discussion with the courts … whether this more specific statute trumps the first one that you described.”
She said her original concern was not whether the executive order fit within the act, but whether it was constitutional.
Cruz fired back, saying her points would be the “arguments that we can expect litigants to bring — partisan litigants who disagree with the policy decision of the president.”
He then cited a Department of Justice issuance from the Office of Legal Counsel that approved the order “with respect to form and legality.”
“That is a determination from OLC on January 27 that it was legal,” Cruz said. “Three days later, you determined, using your own words, that ‘although OLC had opined on legality, it had not addressed whether it was wise or just.'”
Yates added that she said in the same directive that she was not convinced the executive order “was lawful.”
“I also made the point that the office of OLC looks purely at the face of the document and again makes a determination as to whether there is some set of circumstances under which some portion of that EO would be enforceable, would be lawful,” she said. “They importantly do not look outside the face of the document. And in this particular instance, particularly where we were talking about a fundamental issue of religious freedom, not the interpretation of some arcane statute, but religious freedom, it was important for us to look at the intent behind the president’s actions.”
“And the intent is laid out in his statements,” she said.
Cruz then added a final question, asking Yates if she was aware of any similar situation in the DOJ’s history in which an attorney general ordered the department not to follow a policy that had been approved by the OLC.
“I’m not,” she said. “But I’m also not aware of a situation where the OLC was advised not to tell the AG about it until after it was over.”