The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Washington (AFP) — President Barack Obama spoke to Chancellor Angela Merkel for the first time since a row over U.S. spying prompted Germany to turf out the CIA station chief in Berlin.

The White House gave away little of the conversation about the latest espionage scandal to rock the crucial relationship between the US president and Europe’s most powerful leader.

A statement said that Obama and Merkel “exchanged views on U.S. -German intelligence cooperation, and the President said he’d remain in close communication on ways to improve cooperation going forward.”

Obama and Merkel have forged a firm working relationship, but successive revelations about U.S. spying and surveillance have strained U.S.-German ties and put the German leader under intense political pressure at home.

The call came on the eve of a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels which will consider toughening sanctions on Russia over what the West sees as destabilizing behavior in Ukraine.

The statement said neither leader had seen Russia take steps to stem the flow of weapons across the border of eastern Ukraine, or steps by Moscow to de-escalate the situation or to persuade separatists to lay down their arms.

Washington signaled on Tuesday that it would consider going ahead with its own new measures against Moscow should Europe remain reluctant to move forward.

A source in Brussels told AFP meanwhile that it was possible that the EU could decide to toughen measures against Moscow on Wednesday.

– Double agents –

Reports that two German government employees were being investigated amid claims they were double agents for the CIA rattled U.S.-German relations, which had barely recovered from claims that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) had tapped Merkel’s cellphone.

The row over espionage first erupted last year over revelations by fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden that the NSA was conducting massive Internet and phone data sweeps, including in Germany.

AFP Photo / Jewel Samad

Interested in world news? Sign up for our daily email newsletter!

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Rep. Ted Budd, left, and Cheri Beasley

On Tuesday, North Carolina Republicans selected Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC), a far-right extremist who has pushed false claims about the 2020 election, to be their Senate nominee. He will face Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley, a former chief justice of the state's Supreme Court.

As of Wednesday morning, Budd had received more than 58 percent of the GOP primary vote. Former Gov. Pat McCrory received just below 25 percent of the vote, while former Rep. Mark Walker received about nine percent of the vote.

Keep reading... Show less

Stephen Colbert

It seems we can't go even a week in America without some deranged white nationalist shooter taking the lives of decent people. Of course, this type of violence is propagated on a daily basis by the far-right sh*tweasals at Fox News and, worse yet, in the ranks of the Republican Party.

After returning to the Late Show helm, Stephen Colbert weighed in on the real culprit behind the mass shootings -- the Replacement Theory popularized by Tucker Carlson.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}