Celebrities Have A Lot Of Opinions On James Comey’s Testimony

Former FBI Director James Comey is currently testifying in front of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Given that the testimony is airing on major television networks, live-streaming on many websites and playing in various bars across the country ? there?s a good chance you?re watching.

Many celebrities are watching as well, and have a lot of opinions. Read some of the notable tweets below: 


Lorde knows you?re probably multi-tasking at work to watch this thing.


Lily Allen shares her conspiracy theory about the Russians. 


This hashtag by Alyssa Milano gets to the point.


Mike Birbiglia just wants to know who?s telling the truth.


Kevin Smith compares James Comey to Don Draper from ?Mad Men.? 


Chris Evans wants a new T-shirt.


John Cusack thinks Comey acts more presidential than Trump ever has. 


Also …


Joshua Malina (?The West Wing,? ?Scandal?) on Comey?s firing.


Paul F. Tompkins responds to Trump?s son.


Billy Eichner on Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).


Cusack wants that sweet ?impeach.?


George Takei speaks for ?literally all of us.?


Andy Daly on how this testimony is fun for the whole family.


Cusack ? seriously, impeach.


Comey ? knock, knock ? who?s there ? IMPEACH. 


Cusack ? but really this time, what if we impeached this Trump guy.


Rosie O?Donnell expressed frustration.


Nick Thune mocked the Republican questions.


Someone suggested an impeachment.




HuffPost will continue to add more tweets. 

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41 Human Rights Groups Urge Senate To Block Trump’s Saudi Arms Deal

WASHINGTON ? A group of prominent human rights groups is asking senators to use a Thursday vote to block President Donald Trump?s plan to sell Saudi Arabia a weapon shipment to be used in its controversial U.S.-backed campaign in Yemen.

A letter signed by Oxfam, the Center for Civilians in Conflict, CREDO, the Yemen Peace Project and more than 37 other humanitarian groups went to each Senate office Thursday morning. The message, provided exclusively to HuffPost, excoriates Trump?s approval of a $510 million munitions deal that had been blocked by the Obama administration. It is a small part of the $110 billion arms agreement with the Saudis that Trump announced last month.

?Moving forward with this sale will exacerbate the already dire humanitarian crisis in Yemen, which has left more than 7 million civilians on the brink of famine, at least 8,000 dead and 44,000 injured from conflict, nearly 20 million people facing extreme hunger, and 19 of the country?s 21 governorates facing an unprecedented cholera epidemic that is spiraling out of control,? the letter says. ?At a time when the president appears to have solidified a transactional approach to foreign affairs, it is incumbent upon Congress to ensure that moral concerns, particularly America?s commitment to defending human rights, remain a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy.?

The letter cites a legal analysis sent to the Senate by former military judge advocate Michael Newton. Further arms shipments to the Saudis would be illegal because of U.S. laws governing weapon sales, Newton wrote.

And the message says the supporters of the deal are being misleading when they say offering the Saudis more of the precision-guided munitions in the $510 million deal will lead to reduced suffering in the two-year conflict. ?Despite increased U.S. support in the form of training and smarter weaponry to lessen civilian casualties, it has become clear that several unaddressed flaws in Saudi Arabia?s targeting process, not the precision of the munition or targeting skill, are the principal cause of harm,? the letter continues.

Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) set up the resolution that would force a Senate vote on whether to block the precision-guided arms sale after the Trump administration told the Senate it would go ahead with the package last month. 

?It is time we pause and consider the repercussions before we continue to fuel arms races around the world,? Paul said at the time.

The same group forced a vote last fall on the sale of $1.15 billion worth of tanks. Back then, 24 other senators joined them to vote against the sale.

Now, with the Trump administration pulling the Saudis closer and amid greater worry about what they might do with more impunity, the measure?s opponents see an opportunity.

Murphy struck an optimistic tone in a Thursday afternoon call organized by Oxfam.

?I think it?s going to be a close vote. I don?t know if it?s going to prevail, but it?s going to be a closer vote ? a much closer vote ? than the resolution that was before the Senate last fall,? Murphy said. ?Senators are increasingly worried that the United States is participating in the creation of a famine inside Yemen.?

Even senators supportive of the Saudis? argument that they must fight in Yemen to tame Iran-backed militants now seem to see the value in imposing some limits, Murphy added. He said he expects many Democrats and some Republicans to vote against the arms shipment.

Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) is expected to be among the critical votes. Young exemplifies a more moderate position on the GOP side than Paul and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah): He wants to maintain the relationship with Saudi Arabia, but he believes there are strong humanitarian reasons to urge greater Saudi caution, he told reporters last month.

On Wednesday, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, announced that he would vote with Murphy and Franken ? giving them one high-profile supporter they did not have last fall.

Trump?s decision on the precision-guided munitions came a day before he arrived in Saudi Arabia and inked what he called a $110 billion package for the kingdom. On Monday, Brookings Institution analyst Bruce Riedel wrote that Trump overstated his claim. ?What the Saudis and the administration did is put together a notional package of the Saudi wish list of possible deals and portray that as a deal. Even then the numbers don?t add up. It?s fake news,? Riedel wrote. 

The vote comes at a time when the Saudis are especially sensitive to criticism from Washington. On Sunday, Saudi Arabia and other U.S.-aligned countries, including the United Arab Emirates, unexpectedly cut ties with Qatar, the U.S. partner nation that hosts the region?s largest American military base. 

Though Trump briefly appeared to weigh in on the Saudi side, his administration has largely tried to defuse tensions, and he personally called the Qatari ruler on Wednesday.

Experts on the region believe the Saudi-UAE move may have convinced more decision-makers in the U.S. that they need to hedge their bets ? and avoid being too wedded to the Saudis? often controversial foreign policy.

Murphy stressed that point Thursday.

?I think it?s a mistake for the United States to weigh in so heavily and so definitively on the Sunni side of the growing set of proxy wars between the Saudis and their allies and the Iranians and their allies,? he said. (The Sunni branch of Islam is the majority group worldwide but a minority in Iran; the Saudi leadership is Sunni, while that of Iran follows the rival Shiite branch.)

?President Trump just has a total lack of a nuanced understanding of the region. The Qataris are not perfect actors. But neither are the Saudis. Qataris have positioned themselves as one of the few countries that can act as a bridge between the Saudis and the Iranians,? Murphy added. ?Ultimately, it?s in the U.S. national security interest for there to be an end to hostilities between the Saudis and the Iranians.?

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Young is a Missouri senator. He is from Indiana.

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Leonardo DiCaprio’s Efforts Prompt Mexico To Commit To Saving Rare Porpoise

The Mexican government has announced new efforts to save the critically endangered vaquita from extinction, following a widespread advocacy campaign by groups including the World Wildlife Fund and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, actor Leonardo DiCaprio and billionaire Carlos Slim met Wednesday to mark the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that will spark new efforts to save the animal, which researchers worry could become extinct by next year. Last month DiCaprio launched a Twitter campaign aimed at Mexican officials to encourage them to take action, an effort that led Peña Nieto to declare the country was focusing ?all its efforts to prevent the extinction of the species.?

?Now more than ever, the world is looking for bold leadership at every level to tackle climate change and environmental conservation issues,? DiCaprio said in a statement after Wednesday?s meeting. ?This action is a critical step towards ensuring that the Gulf of California continues to be both vibrant and productive, especially for species like the critically-endangered vaquita.?

The memorandum includes a permanent ban on fishing nets that often unintentionally trap the animals and an increase in enforcement for such an effort.

?Mexico understands its responsibility as one of the countries with greatest biodiversity,? Peña Nieto said in a statement. ?That is why we have implemented an historic effort to avoid the extinction of a unique species in the world.?

The news was praised by groups including the WWF, which, alongside DiCaprio, began a signature campaign last month to urge increased protections for the vaquita. More than 200,000 people joined the call.

?Today?s agreement marks a key step forward in the fight to save the critically endangered vaquita and ensure a sustainable future for the people and wildlife of Mexico?s Upper Gulf of California,? the group said in a statement.

Populations of vaquitas, small, elusive porpoises nicknamed ?pandas of the sea,? have plummeted in recent years following a spate of illegal fishing operations in their habitat, Mexico?s Gulf of California. It?s estimated there are fewer than 30 vaquitas left in the wild.

The animals are often caught in large gillnets used to catch a critically endangered species of fish called the totoaba, whose swim bladders are prized on the black market in parts of Asia. Called ?aquatic cocaine,? the bladders can sell for $10,000 a kilogram.

In recent months, scientists, conservationists and the Mexican government have waged a desperate battle to save the vaquita, including an increase in patrols and the outsourcing of some policing efforts to the activist group Sea Shepherd. Some researchers are preparing efforts to trap the few vaquitas that remain and breed them in captivity; however, such efforts have never been undertaken before, and some fear it could kill more vaquitas in the process.

While such plans have remained controversial, the WWF said any efforts to sequester the animals must include attempts to return them to the wild once populations recover, like initiatives to protect the California condor.

?WWF believes that any effort to capture and provide sanctuary for the remaining vaquita and breed them in captivity must be explicitly linked to a plan to return vaquita to the wild once their habitat is secure,? the group said.

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Midway: The Battle That Almost Lost the War

June 7 marked the 75th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Midway. The books and movies about this battle have been legion. They focus on the long odds facing the Americans, the luck and breathtaking courage, and the brilliance of American codebreakers that led to victory. They assert that the American victory sealed Japan?s fate in World War II. But they rarely consider in detail the consequences if America had lost the battle, which it might easily have done. The Japanese were also extraordinarily courageous. Had they been luckier, and had they changed the Japanese code well before the battle as they should have, Midway could have ended in the destruction of three American carriers, with the Japanese navy intact. On this anniversary, I want to consider the war had the battle gone Japan?s way.

The Pacific

The immediate consequence of a defeat at Midway would, of course, have been in the Pacific. The Japanese plan appears to have been to follow Midway with an assault on strategic islands in the South Pacific. They would have faced light forces on the islands and no naval threat. They would have taken islands, built airfields and constructed overlapping areas of air power that would have prevented merchant shipping from entering. The flow of U.S. troops and materiel to Australia would have slowed to a trickle or dried up altogether. This would have meant that the U.S. would not have taken Guadalcanal and New Guinea until much later. It also would have given Japan much more time to consolidate a line, for example, from Samoa to Midway to the Aleutians, which was also part of Japan?s Midway strategy.

The United States, lacking a sufficient carrier force, would not have been able to launch a Pacific offensive until mid-1943, and that offensive would have had to be focused on the South Pacific rather than the Gilberts, Marianas and Marshalls. The cost in time, men and materiel of bringing Japan into range of American bombers would have been substantial. Submarines would have had to launch from Pearl Harbor rather than Midway, which is 1,300 miles (2,100 kilometers) longer, and much of the time would have been spent on submarine operations to interdict supplies instead of attacking Japanese warships. Japan would have had time and materiel to increase its strength.

The Americans? problem in the Pacific would have been securing Hawaii as a forward base and maintaining the line of supply from the West Coast. The Japanese were unlikely to invade Hawaii, given that all operations there would take place within the range of U.S. air power. But the Japanese could have used submarines based in Midway to interdict supplies from the West Coast. If Hawaii ceased to be an effective base, then the Japanese would dominate the Western Pacific. They would have had options to strike the West Coast, and certainly to take Dutch Harbor in Alaska or even Anchorage. They already held the islands of Attu and Kiska. The Americans would have had to answer.

In 1942, the Battle of the Atlantic was at its peak, and that summer and fall, an extraordinarily high 10 percent of all Allied shipping in the Atlantic was being sunk. It is at this point that the United States would have had to decide whether to risk the isolation of Hawaii or reduce the number of destroyers based in the Atlantic. It couldn?t do both ? U.S. production of naval vessels wouldn?t really be able to surge until mid-1943.

The shipping of supplies to Britain was meant to support Britain and the Soviet Union, an excellent long-term strategy for pursuing American interests. But this was a political problem. The immediate threat to the American homeland would likely trump long-term strategy.

Given the stakes in the Pacific, the odds against U-boats in the Atlantic and the delay in increased production of naval vessels, the U.S. would have had little choice but to transfer destroyers to the Pacific. But that wouldn?t be enough. It would also greatly increase land-based aircraft on the West Coast. The aircraft production program was beginning to gain steam in 1942, but most of that at the time was being assigned to the Royal Air Force, the U.S. Air Force buildup in Britain or the Soviet Union. That would have changed.

An Unthinkable Treaty

We must consider the impact of all this on Allied powers. Australia would have depended on its own resources. The Japanese were unlikely to invade, but the Australians couldn?t be sure of that. For things to change, the U.S. would have to launch a new Navy, fight its way through the South Pacific and then launch operations northward to push the Japanese away from Australia. To that point, neither the British nor the Americans appeared very effective allies. At the very best, the U.S. was a year away from offensive operations, and opening the line of supply to Australia might not happen until 1944, if ever.

Immediately upon the U.S. defeat at Midway, Australia would have had to demand that the last Australian forces in North Africa return home while the Suez Canal was still open. The battle of El Alamein was being fought from summer 1942 until the British victory in October. A British defeat would have enabled the Germans to take the Suez Canal and likely control the Mediterranean. Australian troops had been critical to this victory, and though the Australians had withdrawn many troops after Pearl Harbor, the 7th Division remained. The 7th Division proved to be the critical force in the final, victorious phase of El Alamein. Had the Australians withdrawn the 7th in summer 1942, which they would have had Midway been an American defeat, it is altogether possible that the British still would have won at El Alamein, but it would have been substantially less likely than with the Australians there.

But the homeland would have to take precedent. The Australians wanted to be certain that Australia was not occupied by the Japanese, but they had no military way to prevent it and no reliable allies. Their national strategy was hoping the Japanese had other plans. The Japanese had no real interest in Australia except for making sure it didn?t become a base for the Americans. The Japanese also wanted Australia?s raw materials. A peace agreement was possible. Australia, isolated and with no options, would have done what was unthinkable before Midway: signed a friendship pact with Japan guaranteeing neutrality, with a mutually beneficial trade agreement included.

Soviet Vulnerability

At about the same time of Midway, the Germans launched an offensive in the south that would evolve into the Battle of Stalingrad. The offensive surprised the Soviets, who were expecting the assault to come on Moscow. The Soviets had also underestimated Germany?s strength. At the same time, the Soviets would have seen the American defeat at the Battle of Midway and understood that it would mean a decrease in lend-lease, if not its complete disruption. The British, who also depended on lend-lease, would be in no position to replace it, and Soviet industrial production was not yet capable of providing for a powerful defense at Stalingrad by itself.

And the Soviets had a second problem. Prior to Pearl Harbor, the Soviets had feared, and the Japanese had considered, an alternative strike into Siberia. Russia?s maritime region had oil, and Japan needed oil. The Japanese attacked south toward the Dutch holdings instead, but the interest in Siberia was still there. With a victory at Midway, the Japanese could have halted operations in the Pacific and focused on building defenses on Pacific islands that would bog down the American counterattack in mid-1943 in island-to-island fighting, with a vast Japanese fleet to challenge the landing party.

But Siberia was open. Right after Pearl Harbor, the Soviets shifted to Moscow the force that had been protecting Siberia from Japan. It was this force under Gen. Georgy Zhukov that stopped the Germans. A Japanese victory at Midway would have reopened the possibility of a Japanese invasion. But the Soviets would not have been able to send Zhukov back. Until the defeat of the German southern thrust, which would happen in early 1943, everything had to go there.

The Soviet Union faced two problems. One was that it didn?t know that it could win at Stalingrad with the absence of lend-lease shipments. The other was that critical Soviet lands were at serious risk. If the Soviets couldn?t contain the Germans? southern thrust, the best they could do was retain a rump state in the north. If they won but Japan attacked Siberia, they would still have lost the east, and the Japanese would control the Western Pacific, China and Siberia.

In 1943 and 1944, there were discussions between Germany and the Soviets on a peace agreement that never worked out. I don?t know that either side took these talks seriously. The Germans certainly wouldn?t have considered talks had Japan won at Midway, forcing the U.S. to shift its grand strategy away from the Atlantic, putting lend-lease in jeopardy and exposing the eastern Soviet Union to Japanese attack. I think without the assistance of the Americans in 1942, the Soviets would have lost the war. In our alternate history, the Americans probably would have thought the Soviets were going to lose anyway, but history proved them wrong.

Freak Outcomes

It is true that in the years after Midway, American productivity would grow to be enormous, but the enemy doesn?t wait for production to rise. Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto?s intention was to destroy the U.S. naval force in the Pacific and to create an impregnable belt of islands to block American advances. That was the purpose of Midway, and had it worked, I think there would have been a different outcome in the global war. This is because the United States was the industrial foundation of the Allies, but in 1942, that production had not really gotten underway. A defeat at Midway would have forced a reallocation of industrial production and warships. This would have left key allies, Australia and the Soviet Union, in an impossible position.

The U.S. would have had towering production by 1943 or 1944. But the Soviets would not be there anymore. Nor, I suspect, would Australia. Britain would have made it so long as it won at El Alamein without Australia?s help. The problem was that massive production without Allied forces and forward bases would have left the U.S. fighting alone. And given the distances and multiple enemies, that wasn?t possible.

This all raises a serious question for me. My work is in finding the order and predictability in history. There was nothing predictable at Midway. The Japanese should have won even with the U.S. breaking their code. The numbers were so lopsided in their favor that their defeat was a freak. And that freak created the world we live in. The Japanese were as brave and as smart, their weapons as good if not better, and they had far greater numbers. They should have won, and the things I have described should have happened, and the history of the world should have been quite different.

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Reckless Peacock* Trashes Liquor Store, Becomes Ultimate Party Fowl

A wild animal, glass bottles and a giant net create a cocktail for disaster.

A female peacock – technically called a ?peahen? – smashed up an Arcadia, California liquor store on Monday.

According to the Associated Press, the peahen strolled through the open door of Royal Oaks Liquor Store and was unnoticed by the store?s manager, Rani Ghanem, until a customer asked him about ?el pollo,? or ?the chicken? in Spanish.

Ghanem then tried to guide the bird out of the store, but his advances ruffled her feathers.

Spooked, the peahen flew directly at Ghanem and then to the top shelf of the store.

?This was really out of my comfort zone,? Ghanem told CBS Los Angeles. ?I was kind of scared, I didn?t know what to do.?

So, the 21-year-old manager decided to call 911 and an animal control officer wearing protectives gloves and carrying a comically large fishing net arrived on the scene.

And that?s when the rager began.

?He was trying to get it with the fishing net, and [the bird] jumped on the first wine bottle. When that happened, I was like, ?Aw, this is about to be a big mess,?? Ghanem told the AP. ?He tried to get it again with the net … It just went straight diving into all the bottles. The more he kept on trying to use the net, the more it kept on flapping its wings and knocking everything over.?

Realizing that the animal control officer was unintentionally acting as the peahen?s destruction wingman, Ghanem decided to intervene. He put on a sweatshirt to protect his arms from the bird?s claws and eventually apprehending the animal.

After about 90 minutes in the store, the bird caused about $500 worth of damage, per CBS.

Ghanem told the AP:

?Yeah, [she]?s got expensive taste.?

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