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Biden facing scrutiny for asking Ghani to spin ‘perception’ about Afghanistan before Taliban stormed Kabul

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By Jenny Goldsberry

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani warned President Biden about “a full-scale invasion” from the Taliban weeks before it happened. Reuters obtained the transcript and recording of the phone call between the two world leaders. A source provided both on the promise of anonymity. The two spoke on July 23rd.

“We are facing a full-scale invasion, composed of Taliban, full Pakistani planning and logistical support, and at least 10-15,000 international terrorists, predominantly Pakistanis thrown into this,” Ghani said. This was nearly a month before the suicide bombing at the Hamid Karzai International Airport, perpetuated by Pakistan’s ISIS K.

Instead of taking the warning seriously, Biden assured Ghani that the Afghan army would put up a good fight. “You clearly have the best military,” he told Ghani. “You have 300,000 well-armed forces versus 70-80,000 and they’re clearly capable of fighting well.”

When pressed by reporters to answer questions, Psaki refused.  

“Well, I’m not going to get into private, diplomatic conversations or leaked transcripts of phone calls,” Psaki said. “But what I can reiterate for you is that we have stated many times that no one anticipated … that the Taliban would be able to take over the country as quickly as they did or that the Afghan National Security Forces would fold as quickly as they did.” 

Later, Biden would claim that the Afghan forces were not willing to fight against the Taliban. He would afterwards be censured by the UK parliament for his claim he made in a national address and tweet.

But during the 14-minute phone call, Biden made it clear he cared most about perception. “I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things are not going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban”” Biden said. “And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.”

Ghani fled the country on August 15, and is reportedly hiding out in Uzbekistan.

Read the full article here.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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Stormy Daniels lawyer in Trump trial, Michael Avenatti, sentenced to prison for stealing millions from clients

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Lawyer Michael Avenatti, who represented porn star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against former President Donald Trump was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Avenatti was sentenced for stealing millions of dollars from his clients. He was also fined a whopping $10 million.

U.S. District Judge James v. Selna said “Avenatti’s sentence in Southern California will be served after he finishes a five-year term for separate convictions in New York” reported the Associated Press.

“This was the last of three major federal criminal cases to wrap up against the 51-year-old Californian. Avenatti is currently serving prison time for stealing book proceeds from Daniels — who sued to break a confidentiality agreement with Trump to stay mum about an affair she said they had — and for trying to extort Nike if the shoemaker didn’t pay him up to $25 million” adds the AP.

Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., used the news of Avenatti’s conviction to bring up an old Tweet of his. On October 11 2018, Avenatti predicted Trump Jr. would be going to prison: “Donald Trump Jr. will be indicted before his birthday on 12-31-18. If you doubt my prediction, please check my record over the last 7 months. #winning.”

Trump Jr. is getting the last laugh. Jr. tweeted Avenatti’s 2018 prediction with the Associated Press headline of the conviction: “BREAKING: Incarcerated lawyer Michael Avenatti sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for cheating clients out of millions of dollars – AP.”

Earlier this year Avenatti plead guilty to “four counts of wire fraud and a tax-related charge despite not reaching a plea deal with federal prosecutors, saying he wanted to be accountable and spare his family further embarrassment” added the AP.

“He was accused of negotiating and collecting settlement payments on behalf of his clients and funneling the money to accounts he controlled, and spending it on his own lavish lifestyle, including a private jet.”

The Associated Press  also went into further detail on Avenatti’s court hearing:

“Despite the significant advantages that this defendant had — a first-rate education, a thriving legal career — he chose to commit the deplorable acts in this case time and time again,” prosecutor Brett Sagel told the court in Santa Ana. “The defendant is just another criminal who thinks the law is something that applies to other people.”

His voice breaking, Avenatti apologized to the clients he bilked, including two who told the court about how losing the money and their trust in someone they thought had their back upended their lives.

“I am deeply remorseful and contrite,” Avenatti said. “There is no doubt that all of them deserve much better, and I hope that someday they will accept my apologies and find it in their heart to forgive me.”

Authorities in California said Avenatti carried out what amounted to a “sophisticated Ponzi scheme” by collecting settlement payments on behalf of vulnerable clients and using the money to fund his exorbitant lifestyle.

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