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EX-FBI CHIEF JAMES COMEY SAYS TRUMP 'MORALLY UNFIT
TO BE PRESIDENT'
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Former FBI director James Comey has said Donald Trump is a man "morally unfit to be president", who treats women like "pieces of meat".
Mr Comey was giving his first major television interview since he was was fired by President Trump last year. He told ABC News that Mr Trump was someone "for whom the truth is not a high value".
Hours before the interview aired, the president went on the offensive, accusing Mr Comey of "many lies".
"I don't buy this stuff about him being mentally incompetent or early stages of dementia," Mr Comey told ABC's 20/20 program on Sunday night.
"I don't think he's medically unfit to be president. I think he's morally unfit to be president."
"Our president must embody respect and adhere to the values that are at the core of this country. The most important being truth. This president is not able to do that," Mr Comey said.
After the interview aired, Mr Trump's party - via the Republican National Committee - released a statement saying Mr Comey's publicity tour for his new book showed "his true higher loyalty is to himself."
"The only thing worse than Comey's history of misconduct is his willingness to say anything to sell books," it said in a statement.
How did we get here?
It is the latest development in a long-standing feud between the two men, further fuelled by the upcoming publication of Mr Comey's memoir A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership.
The ex-FBI chief is on a publicity blitz for the book.
President Trump has said the" badly reviewed book" raises "big questions". He also suggested Mr Comey should be imprisoned, and in recent days, began referring to him as a "slimeball".
The story dates back to the 2016 presidential election, when Mr Comey was FBI director. In October, days before the vote, he sent a letter to Congress telling them the FBI was reopening an investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails. The letter went public - and Mrs Clinton says it handed Donald Trump the election.
But once Mr Trump became president, Mr Comey says he tried to extract a pledge of personal loyalty from him - something the president fiercely denies.
In March 2017, when alleged links between Mr Trump's campaign and Russia were being investigated by the FBI, Mr Trump allegedly pressured Mr Comey to publicly declare that the president was not personally being investigated - something the director says he declined to do.
Some Democrats blamed Mr Comey for costing Mrs Clinton the election, while Trump supporters felt he was targeting the president with the Russia investigation.
He was fired by President Trump in May, finding out about his dismissal from TV news.
Media captionTrump's love-hate relationship with Comey over a tumultuous year
What else did Comey say?
In the primetime TV interview, Mr Comey suggested that the president had surrounded himself with people loyal to him - comparing Mr Trump to mob bosses he had investigated as a younger man.
"The loyalty oaths, the boss as the dominant centre of everything, it's all about how do you serve the boss, what's in the boss' interests," he said.
Asked if those around the president were "enabling bad behaviour", Mr Comey said: "The challenge of this president is that he will stain everyone around him."
Mr Comey, however, said he did not believe President Trump should be impeached.
"I hope not because I think impeaching and removing Donald Trump from office would let the American people off the hook," he said.
Instead, he said, it was something the American people were "duty bound to do directly" at the voting booth.
During the extensive interview, Mr Comey also said:
"I don't think he's medically unfit to be president. I think he's morally unfit to be president."--BBCi
DONALD TRUMP ATTACKS JAMES COMEY'S FBI MEMOIR OF 'LIES'
US President Donald Trump has attacked former FBI director James Comey over his "many lies", suggesting he be jailed over his testimony to Congress.
"Why did he lie to Congress (jail)," Mr Trump said, adding: "How come he gave up classified information (jail)."
He also criticized Mr Comey's forthcoming memoir, saying the "badly reviewed book" raises "big questions."
His comments come ahead of an ABC News interview with Mr Comey to be aired on Sunday as part of his book tour.
According to excerpts of the book obtained by US media, Mr Comey writes that interactions with Mr Trump gave him "flashbacks to my earlier career as a prosecutor against the Mob. The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview".
In the ABC News interview to be broadcast in full later on Sunday, Mr Comey discusses his handling of the FBI investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state under then-President Barack Obama.
He states that his assumption that Mrs Clinton would win the 2016 presidential election was a factor in opening the inquiry.
Mr Trump said this decision was "stupid" in a series of tweets on Sunday in which he referred to Mr Comey as "slippery" and a "slimeball".
He also said that the former FBI boss was "not smart" and "will go down as the worst FBI director in history - by far!", adding that his book was "self-serving and FAKE!".
The excerpts from Mr Comey's memoir have infuriated the US president, who insisted that he "never asked Comey for personal loyalty" and the he "hardly even knew this guy".
Following the president's tirade, Mr Comey tweeted explaining that his memoir was about "ethical leadership" and that Mr Trump was not the only subject of the book.
Mr Trump's allies have also mounted an online campaign to discredit Mr Comey's book, with a website that brands the nation's former top law enforcement official as "Lyin' Comey".
However, preview sales of the book have already made the memoir a bestseller on Amazon. --BBCi
ISRAEL DESTROYS 'LONGEST AND DEEPEST' GAZA TUNNEL
The tunnel had been under observation for some time, Israel said, BBCi
The Israeli military has disabled a major tunnel dug by militants which reached into Israel from the Gaza Strip, officials say.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said it was the longest and deepest tunnel of its kind Israel had discovered. A military spokesman said it had been dug since the 2014 Gaza war, when Israel destroyed more than 30 tunnels which it said were meant for attacks.
Israel is using sophisticated measures to thwart tunnels dug by militants. Military spokesman Lt Col Jonathan Conricus said the tunnel had been dug by Hamas and began in the area of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip. He said it penetrated several metres into Israel in the direction of Nahal Oz, but did not yet have an exit.
The tunnel stretched "several kilometres" into Gaza and connected with other tunnels from which attacks could be launched, he said. Israel disabled the tunnel over the weekend, according to the military. "We filled the tunnel with material that renders it useless for a very long period of time," Col Conricus said.
It was the fifth Gaza tunnel to be destroyed by the Israeli military in recent months, Col Conricus said. Some of the tunnels have been built by Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad and others by Hamas, the Islamist group which controls Gaza.
Since last year, Israel has been using special equipment to detect the presence of tunnels, and is building a hi-tech barrier above and below ground along its border with Gaza to prevent new tunnels being dug.
The tunnel had been under observation for some time, Israel said, --BBC
ISRAEL HAS SAID THE IRANIAN DRONE IT SHOT DOWN IN FEBRUARY WAS LOADED WITH EXPLOSIVES AND "TASKED TO ATTACK"
On Friday, Israel's military said that it came to the conclusion after "flight path analysis" and an "intelligence-based investigation" of the remnants.
Israel said its "combat helicopters prevented the attack Iran had hoped to carry out in Israeli territory".
The drone was launched from an airbase in Syria, against which Israel later carried out air strikes.
Israel lost one of its F-16 planes in the counter-offensive - a rare loss for the Israeli air force, though both crew members survived after ejecting.
The same airbase - known as T4 - came under attack again on Monday, two months after the Iranian drone was allegedly launched from the area.
Syria and Russia said the latest attack, which killed 14 people, was also carried out by Israel, which declined to comment. Seven Iranians were among those killed.
In an interview with the BBC in late February, Iran's deputy foreign minister refused to confirm that Iran had sent the drone into Israel and said that the drone belonged to the Syrian army. It was shot down on 10 February in the country's far north, once it crossed the border.
"It should be noted that the UAV was identified and tracked by Israeli defense systems until its destruction, effectively eliminating any threat the Iranian aircraft posed while flying towards Israeli territory," the Israeli military said in its statement.
Iran and Israel are long-standing enemies, and Iran has been accused of deliberately building up a force inside Syria, Israel's north-eastern neighbor. Iran is the major regional ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It has also been accused of supplying weaponry to Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah, an enemy of Israel which has a strong force in Syria.
In late 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "Iran wants to establish itself militarily in Syria, right next to Israel."
He added: "Israel will not let that happen." --BBCi
BRITISH PHILANTHROPISTS PARTNER WITH FRIENDS OF YEMIN ORDE TO BUILD NEW AUDITORIUM AND CULTURAL CENTER IN ISRAEL
BETHESDA, Maryland – Friends of Yemin Orde (FYO) has announced that it has received a $4.5 million pledge from British philanthropists, Manny and Brigitta Davidson, to build a state-of-the-art auditorium and cultural arts center at Yemin Orde Youth Village in Israel, provided FYO raise $1 million from donors in the United States. The proposed new building would serve to greatly enhance the communal living experience for the Village’s 430 at-risk youth, and provide a safe and comfortable space for people of all abilities. Friends of Yemin Orde is the U.S. philanthropic partner of Yemin Orde Youth Village and Village Way Educational Initiatives. The Village provides a home, school and safe haven for at-risk youth who have experienced trauma; the Educational Initiatives expands the successful educational methodology at Yemin Orde, called the Village Way, to 36 other youth villages, therapeutic residential communities and public high schools in Israel.
“This challenge gives our donors an opportunity to be part of an exciting and transformational project,” said Karen Sallerson, Executive Director, Friends of Yemin Orde. “This opportunity will go a long way in helping support our mission of providing Israel’s at-risk youth an excellent education and a supportive environment so they may look to their future in Israel with hope.”
Currently, Yemin Orde uses its gymnasium as a multi-purpose structure. This building, while suitable for basketball and other sports, has inadequate seating facilities, and no heating or air conditioning. The proposed auditorium will accommodate the entire Village population at community-wide gatherings and celebrations such as religious and cultural holidays, school performances, and year-end graduation, among others.
The Village also serves as a central hub for Village Way Educational Initiatives. The proposed auditorium would provide a comfortable and suitable space to host Israel-wide conferences, seminars and lectures that would draw experts and educators from around the country.
The proposed building’s design reflects the cultural identity of the Yemin Orde community with its open design, natural elements and deep respect for the land – all elements embraced by the global population of the Village’s youth. Establishing a safe space that is comfortable, relaxing and conducive to creativity validates fragile teens’ worthiness and reinforces self-esteem and confidence.
The proposed building’s plans are by Knafo Klimo Architects, an award-winning Israeli architecture firm that specializes in designs that preserve environmental and social values. Naming opportunities are available.
Yemin Orde Youth Village is a residential educational community located just south of Haifa on Mount Carmel in Israel. Originally established in 1953 as a haven for orphan survivors of the Holocaust, Yemin Orde has been home to waves of immigrants since that time, and is now home to over 400 disadvantaged immigrant youth ages 14-19 from around the world. The majority of the children are from Ethiopia, countries of the Former Soviet Union, France and Brazil. Some are orphans, some have families in their native countries but came to Israel alone, others are from single-parent or dysfunctional families. All are defined by social services as “at-risk”.
Village Way Educational Initiatives (VWEI) was created to extend Yemin Orde’s successful educational methodology, called the Village Way, to other youth villages, therapeutic residential communities and public high schools in Israel, including schools in Arab communities. Today, VWEI partners with 36 educational communities in Israel and has touched the lives of 14,200 youth and 1,775 educators. The goal is to expand to 59 educational communities by 2021 and reach 25,500 youth and 2,800 educators.