They are the elevators that scale the tower of power.
Through their gold-hued doors step courtiers and critics, job-seekers and publicity hounds. Punching the “up” button over the last several weeks have been all manner of celebrities, from the worlds of politics, entertainment and sports — united by their desire to enter the private offices of President-elect Donald J. Trump.
China agreed Saturday to return an American sea drone it had captured after the Pentagon demanded it back, defusing tensions at the end of a week of confrontations over Beijing’s territorial ambitions in the South China Sea.
China’s Defense Ministry said it would return “in an appropriate manner” the U.S. sea vessel seized this week by the Chinese navy.
But the ministry also accused the U.S. of “public hyping” that was “not conducive to solving the problem smoothly.”
Here in the desert hills of the West Bank, near the Palestinians’ principal city of Ramallah, a group of Orthodox Jews has built the town of Beit El, a place that most of the world considers an illegal settlement constructed on occupied Palestinian land.
For decades, U.S. policy has opposed such settlements as harmful to the peace process. But theIsraeli settlers now have some well-placed American supporters.
Funds to help construct Beit El came partly from a U.S.-based foundation run by President-elect Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and the Kushner family.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was almost certainly directly involved in the decision to stage cyberattacks aimed at the U.S. election, President Obama said.
"The intelligence that I have seen gives me great confidence" in the assessment by U.S. agencies "that the Russians carried out this hack" aimed at the Democratic National Committee and senior aides to presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Obama said at his final scheduled news conference of the year.
"Not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin," he added. "This is a pretty hierarchical operation. Last I checked, there’s not a lot of debate and democratic deliberation, particularly when it comes to policies directed at the United States."
There is "strong consensus" among U.S. intelligence services that Russia orchestrated hacks and online leaks in part to help Donald Trump win the White House, the head of the CIA told agency employees in a message Friday.
FBI Director James B. Comey and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. agree with a CIA assessment that top Russian officials oversaw a covert plan to expose internal communications from Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee and influence the outcome of the U.S. elections, CIA Director John Brennan wrote in a message, according to a U.S. official.
“Earlier this week, I met separately with FBI [Director] James Comey and DNI [Director] Jim Clapper, and there is strong consensus among us on the scope, nature, and intent of Russian interference in our presidential election,” Brennan wrote. The message was first reported by the Washington Post.
More than 670,000 people signed up for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, marking the busiest single enrollment day since the healthcare law’s coverage expansion began three years ago.
The record tally, announced by President Obama at his year-end news conference Friday, continues the strong enrollment this fall following Donald Trump’s Nov. 8 election victory.
And it underscored again the challenge that Trump and his Republican congressional allies face in repealing Obamacare, as the law is often called.