Squiz Today / 11 May 2017
Squiz Today – Thursday, 11 May
YOU’RE FIRED! TRUMP DISPATCHES FBI CHIEF
Yesterday US President Donald Trump “terminated and removed from office” the FBI Director James Comey. The White House said Trump acted on the advice of the Attorney General and senior Justice Department officials. But the key questions going around are these. Was Comey fired:
A. because he treated Hilary Clinton unfairly during the presidential election campaign bringing embarrassment to the FBI (which is the stated reason)? Or,
B. because Trump is removing the man who was investigating his campaign over accusations of links to Russia?
BACK IT UP A BIT…
Sounds all very House of Cards, doesn’t it? You might remember during the campaign there was a lot of talk about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was President Obama’s Secretary of State. The FBI investigated and in July last year announced it would not charge Clinton or her staff for their “extreme carelessness” in sending classified materials outside secure government channels. Long story short, in the fortnight before voters went to the polls to elect a new president, Comey announced the FBI was reopening the investigation into Clinton’s conduct. Clinton and her party (the Democrats) have maintained this materially damaged her election chances. The FBI is also currently investigating claims Trump’s campaign had links to Russia’s activities to influence the vote. Trump has consistently said the investigation is a “hoax”.
SO WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?
Well, for one, plenty of people are saying it’s the most alarming and unpredictable thing Trump has done in his presidency to date. And second, a President firing the head of America’s main domestic security and intelligence agency is extraordinary - in fact, it’s only happened once before. The Democrats find themselves in a bit of a spot: they were outraged over what Comey did to Clinton during the campaign, yet they are outraged Trump would fire him over it. And Trump is also conflicted: he has previously praised Comey for the behaviour he has fired him for. It’s been a bit of a frenzy since the announcement, reports say Press Secretary Sean Spicer even took to hiding in the bushes to avoid the media at one point. And what of Comey? He was speaking to agents in Los Angeles when the news popped up on a TV screen. Reports say he thought it was a joke. It wasn’t. The FBI certainly didn’t get the intel drop on that one…
SQUIZ THE REST
AFTER THE BUDGET
We’ll keep this real short. A lot of people said a lot of things. The highlights? Treasurer Scott Morrison told a personal story during his Press Club address about his brother-in-law who was a firefighter before he was incapacitated with MS. He said the NDIS will make his life, and the lives of thousands of others, better and that’s why the government will put up the Medicare Levy to 2.5% in a couple of years to fund it. He also pretty much told the banks to stop complaining about the $6.2 billion levy – “no one likes you” was the gist of his taunt.
ALAN JOYCE TO LAY CHARGES FOR THE PIE
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says he will press charges against Tony Overheu - the man who shoved a lemon meringue pie in his face during a public speaking engagement in Perth. Overheu, a devout Christian, yesterday said he did it to protest against corporate Australia broadly, but Qantas and Joyce specifically, for campaigning in support of same-sex marriage. Joyce said he would pursue the matter because it was important not to be bullied.
MASTERCHEF’S CALOMBARIS CHARGED WITH ASSAULT
Masterchef judge and fancy restaurant proprietor George Calombaris was charged with assault yesterday after an incident at the A-League soccer grand final on Sunday night. Calombaris, a Melbourne Victory fan, got a bit pushy and shouty with a Sydney FC supporter. He apologised for the incident on Monday. He’s had some apologising to do recently, just a few weeks ago news surfaced his restaurant business had underpaid staff by $2.6 million.
PALMER AND HIS SICK BAG APPEAR IN COURT
The incredible shrinking Clive Palmer appeared in a Brisbane court yesterday to give evidence about the whereabouts of his nephew Clive Mensink. Mensink previously failed to appear in court over the collapse of Queensland Nickel, and they really want to talk to him. It was a bit of a circus. Palmer said he was suffering from acute pancreatitis and the morphine was affecting his memory. Sceptics pointed to this behaviour as a well-worn road – bazillionaires under pressure often resort to a sick note. Remember Christopher Skase and Alan Bond? He didn't want to be there; "I can't remember my AMEX PIN number for example, so this is just confirmation that this is a political witch-hunt," he said.
DANCE MOMS – PRISON EDITION
Reality TV hit Dance Moms’ central character Abby Lee Miller has been sentenced to a year and one day in jail in Pennsylvania after pleading guilty to bankruptcy fraud and concealing money earned abroad. Some of the money in question was earned during a tour of Australia in 2014. Basically she stuffed suitcases with cash from the ticket sales and took it back to the US without declaring it. Oopsies! Those jailbirds will be jazz balleting in no time! We’ll choose to simply remember her for bringing student Maddie Ziegler to the fore. Maddie's performance in Sia’s Chandelier film clip is on of the most mesmerising things we’ve ever seen. And it’s not just us – it’s been viewed 1.5 billion times.
SQUIZ THE DAY
7.30pm - Federal Labor Leader Bill Shorten's Budget Address in Reply
ABS Data Release - Livestock and Meat, March
Corporate happenings - AMP Annual General Meeting and GrainCorp half year earnings announcement
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