Connect with us

Business

Sondland to testify that Trump directed ‘no quid pro quo’ denial

Published

on


  • The US ambassador to the European Union will reportedly tell Congress next week that President Donald Trump relayed his message that there was “no quid pro quo” involved in withholding $400 in aid to Ukraine.
  • Gordon Sondland will tell lawmakers he doesn’t know whether Trump was being truthful when he denied the quid pro quo, The Washington Post reported Saturday.
  • A September 9 text exchange between Sondland and the acting ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, denied the quid pro quo, and has become a key focus of the House impeachment inquiry.
  • The House is looking into whether Trump inappropriately pressed Ukraine to investigate one of his top political rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The US ambassador to the European Union is reportedly planning to tell Congress that his infamous text message denying a quid pro quo with Ukraine was dictated by President Donald Trump himself — and possibly not truthful.

Gordon Sondland is set to testify Thursday as part of the House impeachment inquiry. He plans to tell lawmakers he doesn’t know whether Trump was being truthful when he denied a quid pro quo, The Washington Post reported Saturday, citing a person familiar with his prepared testimony.

The House is looking into whether Trump inappropriately pressed Ukraine to investigate one of his top political rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Read more: Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Rudy Giuliani violated foreign lobbying laws in Ukraine

One facet of the investigation is Trump’s withholding of $400 million in aid to Ukraine, and whether he sought to exchange it for the investigation into Biden.

A September 9 text exchange between Sondland and the acting ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, has become a key focus of the House impeachment inquiry.

FILE - In this July 10, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump is joined by Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, second from right, as he arrives at Melsbroek Air Base, in Brussels, Belgium. Sondland, wrapped up in a congressional impeachment inquiry, was a late convert to Trump, initially supporting another candidate in the Republican primary and once refusing to participate in a fundraiser on his behalf.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

In this July 10, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump is joined by Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, second from right, as he arrives at Melsbroek Air Base, in Brussels, Belgium.
Associated Press


“I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Taylor texted Sondland.

Roughly five hours later, after reportedly phoning Trump, Sondland responded to Taylor.

“The President has been crystal clear: no quid pro quo’s of any kind,” Sondland wrote. “The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelenskiy promised during his campaign.”

Read more: Familiarity with the Ukraine scandal is rising and so is support for impeaching Trump

Trump and his allies have used Sondland’s text as evidence that Trump wasn’t trying to withhold the aid for his own personal gain.

But Sondland plans to tell Congress that he does not know whether Trump was being truthful when he denied the quid pro quo.

“It’s only true that the president said it, not that it was the truth,” the person familiar with Sondland’s testimony told The Post.



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

1997 viral video of Jeff Bezos shows why he chose to build his Amazon empire on books

Published

on


  • A 1997 video of Jeff Bezos has gone viral on Twitter, giving direct insight into how the CEO went about building Amazon in its earliest days.
  • In the video Bezos explains why he picked books as the first product he ever sold on Amazon. He made a list of 20 products he could sell online, and landed on books because there’s greater choice than any of the other categories.
  • Amazon, of course, no longer just sells books but has become an $881 billion retail empire known as ‘the everything store.’
  • The video shows just how well Bezos understood the internet and the importance of giving consumers exactly what they want.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A video of Jeff Bezos dating back 20 years has gone viral with more than 1.2 million views on Twitter.

The video was circulated by analyst Brian Roemmele and is from the 1997 Special Libraries Conference in June,  three years after Bezos founded Amazon in 1994.

The video has been widely shared for its direct insight into how Bezos, now the world’s richest man, went about building what would become an $881 billion retail empire from scratch. It also shows how well he understood the internet and the importance of giving customers exactly what they want.

At the time of the video, Amazon would have been a newly public company. It went public in May 1997 at $18 a share. Its shares are now worth $1,778.

The video opens with a young (and distinctly pre-swole) Bezos explaining who he is.

Asked by the interviewer where he got the idea for Amazon.com, Bezos responded:

“Three years ago I was in New York City working for a quantitative hedge fund when I came across the startling statistic the web usage was growing at 2,300% a year so I decided I would try and find a business plan that made sense in the context of that growth and I picked books as the first best product to sell online.”

Bezos chose to start Amazon with books because there’s an almost infinite selection

Bezos explained why he originally settled on selling books as the first step in what would eventually become his online shopping empire.

He said: “I picked books as the first best product to sell online, making a list of like 20 different products that you might be able to sell.

“Books were great as the first best because books are incredibly unusual in one respect, that is that there are more items in the book category than there are items in any other category by far.”

There were more books than CDs, he argued.

“Music is number two, there are about 200,000 active music CDs at any given time,” he said.

“But in the book space there are over 3 million different books worldwide active in print at any given time across all languages, more than 1.5 million in English alone. So when you have that many items you can literally build a store online that couldn’t exist any other way,” he said.

Later in the interview Bezos also mentions a phrase that has since become a motto for him and for Amazon. “What’s really incredible about this is that this is day one, this is the very beginning,” he said.

Twenty years later Amazon warehouses bear signs saying “It’s still day one.” 

The Amazon founder concludes the interview by saying: “I think a millennia from now, people will look back and say ‘Wow, the late 20th century was really a great time to be alive on this planet.”

It certainly would be for Bezos, who has become the richest man in the world with a net worth of $111 billion at time of writing.

You can watch the full interview here:

Do you work at Amazon? Contact this reporter via email at ihamilton@businessinsider.com or iahamilton@protonmail.com. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Chrissy Teigen reacts to People naming John Legend sexiest man alive

Published

on


  • People magazine named singer John Legend as 2019’s Sexiest Man Alive Tuesday night, to which his wife Chrissy Teigen tweeted: “all downhill from here.”
  • Teigen is known for her snarky and relatable quips on Twitter, some of which revolve around making funny jokes about Legend.
  • “She’s proud of me,” Legend told his fellow coaches on NBC’s “The Voice.” “You know, she makes fun of me almost all the time, but she hasn’t even been snarky about this. She’s like legit proud of me. I finally impressed my wife!”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Chrissy Teigen had the most on-brand reaction to People magazine naming her husband John Legend as 2019’s Sexiest Man Alive.

Teigen tweeted: “all downhill from here.”

She wrote in a follow-up tweet that she “cannot WAIT for people to get mad about John being the sexiest man alive. it’s my new Starbucks holiday cup.”

 

It also seems like Teigen and Legend’s children, Luna and Miles, were not impressed with their dad’s new title, according to a video Teigen tweeted.

 

Not all of her tweets about Legend’s status were negative, however. Teigen boasted her husband’s #EGOTPSMA status, a nod to “The Voice” coach’s Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards alongside People’s Sexiest Man Alive title. She also noted that she has “fulfilled her dream” of “having boned @people’s sexiest man alive.”

“An honor!!!!!” she wrote on Twitter.

Teigen is known for her snarky and relatable quips on Twitter, some of which revolve around making funny jokes about Legend.

“She’s proud of me,” Legend told his fellow coaches on NBC’s “The Voice.” “You know, she makes fun of me almost all the time, but she hasn’t even been snarky about this. She’s like legit proud of me. I finally impressed my wife!”



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Marshall Islands nuclear waste dome could open due to sea-level rise

Published

on


In the Marshall Islands, locals have a nickname for the Runit Dome nuclear-waste site: They call it “The Tomb.” 

The sealed pit contains more than 3.1 million cubic feet of radioactive waste, which workers buried there as part of efforts to clean hazardous debris left behind after the US military detonated nuclear bombs on the land.

From 1977 to 1980, around 4,000 US servicemen were tasked with cleaning up the former nuclear testing site of Enewetak Atoll. They scooped up the contaminated soil, along with other radioactive waste materials such as military equipment, concrete, and scrap metal. It all went into the Runit Dome, which the servicemen then covered with concrete. 

In total, the crater holds enough radioactive waste to fill 35 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Most of that is irradiated soil carrying plutonium, an isotope that can cause lung cancer if inhaled.

But as seas have gotten higher in the area — the water has risen about 7 millimeters per year since 1993 — water has begun to seep into the soil beneath the dome. Unlike the sealed dome on top, the bottom of the pit was never lined with concrete. So now, rising tides threaten to submerge the tomb — or crack it open. 

The Runit Dome is chipping and cracking

Prior to the nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s, residents of Enewetak Atoll were exiled from their homes and relocated to nearby islands. Today, only three of the atoll’s 40 islands have been dubbed safe for human habitation. They are currently home to around 650 residents.

The island that hosts Runit Dome remains unoccupied. 

Marshall Islands ENEWETAK ATOLL

An aerial view of the Runit Dome.
The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images


In 2013, the US Department of Energy reported that radioactive materials could be leaking from the dome into the marine environment, but said such an occurrence would “not necessarily lead to any significant change in the radiation dose delivered to the local resident population.”

But sea levels around the Marshall Islands are rising. By 2030, they could be between 1.2 and 6.3 inches higher than they are now, resulting in more storm surges and coastal flooding. By 2100, the dome could be submerged in water.

Locals fear that mounting damage to the structure could present a new set of health risks. 

The dome recently began to crack and chip, increasing the odds that strong waves could force the structure open. A disaster like that would send even more radioactive waste into the nearby ocean or lagoon, which could even force locals to leave the island once again.

“If it does [crack] open, most of the people here will be no more,” Christina Aningi, a teacher on Enewetak Atoll, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “This is like a graveyard for us, waiting for it to happen.”

Scientists don’t know if the dome’s radiation levels are harmful 

Ken Buesseler, a marine radiochemist who is planning to sample the soil near the dome, recently told Insider that the concern about radiation levels could be overblown. 

“There is cesium in everything you eat, plutonium in everything you eat and drink,” he said.

Residents of Enewetak Atoll would have to inhale the leaked plutonium, or be exposed to contaminated water through an abrasion, to experience adverse health consequences.

But scientists are still studying the effects of radiation exposure on the islands overall.

“You can’t taste or smell or touch or feel it,” Buesseler said. “So it’s kind of this invisible thing that can harm you, and no one wants that.” 



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending