Google Chromecast hits Home Depot shelves ahead of official launch, report says

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We’re just two days away from the new Chromecast, but some people have been able to buy it already. 


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Two days before Google’s Pixel 5 event, the company’s rumored new Chromecast has been spotted for sale at Home Depot for $50. People on social media as well as tech site The Verge said they were able to purchase the still unannounced streaming device at the home improvement retailer. The receipt listed the new Chromecast as “Sabrina-Abbey Rock Candy,” the hardware’s codename, according to The Verge. 

Read more: Best streaming device of 2020: Roku, Apple TV, Fire Stick, Nvidia Shield and more compared

CNET has reached out to Google for comment, and we’ll update when we hear back.

The new device apparently isn’t available at all Home Depot locations, so you might not have any luck if you try to score one early yourself. One Reddit user came across one on Sunday and posted a photo: 

After a leak earlier this year, Google’s Chromecast Ultra successor has been spotted at a host of retailers, including Walmart, for between $50 and $60. Earlier this month, Google’s yet-to-be-released Nest Audio device was also spotted at a Walmart. 

We should learn more about the new Chromecast with Google TV at the tech giant’s “Launch Night In” event on Wednesday. Stay tuned!


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Ex-NSC official alleges ‘unprecedented’ intervention by White House aides in Bolton book review

A former National Security Council (NSC) official says the White House intervened in “unprecedented” fashion in the prepublication review process of former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonJudge appears skeptical of Bolton’s defense of publishing book without White House approval Maximum pressure is keeping US troops in Iraq and Syria Woodward book trails Bolton, Mary Trump in first-week sales MORE’s book in an effort to deem information classified and prevent the memoir’s publication. 

Kenneth Wainstein, a lawyer for Ellen Knight, a career federal employee and a former NSC senior director who led the prepublication review of Bolton’s book, filed a letter in federal court on Wednesday detailing Knight’s concerns with the actions of White House officials in the review of Bolton’s memoir, “The Room Where it Happened,” earlier this year. He writes that she harbors concerns about the potential politicization of the prepublication review process.  

Wainstein conveys Knight’s view that NSC lawyers played “an outsize role in the review process” after she informed them of her receipt of Bolton’s manuscript.

For instance, NSC officials oversaw and dictated the timing of correspondence between Knight and Chuck Cooper, Bolton’s attorney, according to the letter. It says that, at one point, Michael Ellis, then the NSC deputy legal adviser, instructed Knight to “temporarily withhold any response” to Bolton’s attorney when he asked that a section of the book on Ukraine be prioritized so that it could become public during President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick ‘threatens’ Affordable Care Act MORE’s impeachment trial.

“These interactions with NSC Legal in the course of a prepublication review were unprecedented in her experience. She had never previously been asked to take the above described measures, and she has never heard that predecessors in her position ever received such instructions in the course of their prepublication reviews,” Wainstein writes. 

The letter, which stretches 18 pages, describes the prepublication review process that took place when Bolton’s more than 500-page manuscript was submitted to the NSC for review at the end of December. 

It says that Knight and her staff worked closely with Bolton, who served as Trump’s third national security adviser, to revise his manuscript and eventually determined that the book did not contain classified information in April.

But, according to Knight’s account, political appointees at NSC intervened, delaying the issuance of a clearance letter to Bolton and ultimately challenging her assessment of the book’s contents. Ellis had conducted his own review of the book, which Knight learned of in the weeks after she informed NSC lawyers that her review was completed. Knight says Ellis undertook a “flawed approach” because he conflated a classification review with a prepublication review.

The letter also claims that White House attorneys sought to persuade Knight to sign a declaration in the administration’s eventual lawsuit against Bolton about her role in the review process that contended

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Ben Carson notes reveal he’s ‘not happy’ with White House official: report

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonState AGs condemn HUD rule allowing shelters to serve people on basis of biological sex Biden cannot keep letting Trump set the agenda The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump heads to New Hampshire after renomination speech MORE unintentionally indicated that he is not satisfied with the White House’s Presidential Personnel Office (PPO) after his notes were visible to reporters at a Trump 2020 campaign event on Friday, Bloomberg reported

Ahead of President TrumpDonald John TrumpSteele Dossier sub-source was subject of FBI counterintelligence probe Pelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It ‘isn’t worth the paper it’s signed on’ Trump ‘no longer angry’ at Romney because of Supreme Court stance MORE’s remarks at a Black economic empowerment event in Atlanta Friday afternoon, Carson spoke at a podium while holding a piece of paper with typed out statements that at one point became visible to reporters. 

“I am very loyal to you and after you win I hope to stay in your administration,” the notes said. “I am not happy with the way PPO is handling my agency.”

According to Bloomberg, Carson did not read those remarks publicly at Friday’s event. 

The PPO is responsible for vetting presidential appointments and hiring candidates to work throughout the White House’s various agencies. 

The office is led by John McEnteeJohn (Johnny) David McEnteeOPM chief abruptly resigns Meadows joins White House facing reelection challenges Trump administration hires another college senior for key role MORE, Trump’s former personal assistant who had been fired in 2018 for undisclosed reasons. Trump brought McEntee back on to oversee the PPO in February. 

In some of the images of Carson’s notes tweeted by reporters on Friday, a line appeared to say, “I like John and respect what he is doing, however I am sensing a severe [illegible] of trust,” with Carson’s microphone blocking the illegible words.

 

The White House declined to comment when contacted by The Hill. The Department of Housing and Urban Development did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Carson has continuously vocalized his support for Trump and the president’s reelection, challenging claims that Trump is racist in his address at the Republican National Convention last month. 

“President Trump does not dabble in identity politics. He wants everyone to succeed and

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White House ‘pressured official to say John Bolton book was security risk’



a person holding a sign: Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP


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Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP

A former National Security Council official who while working there reviewed John Bolton’s memoir for classified information before publication, has claimed that White House lawyers tried to pressure her into signing misleading statements to prevent the publication ofthe book.

The allegations come a week after the US Department of Justice launched a criminal investigation into whether Bolton, the former national security adviser, mishandled classified information in his book, The Room Where It Happened. Highly critical of Trump, the book was a bestseller when it was published in June, selling 780,000 copies in its first week.

In a letter filed in federal court in Washington on Wednesday, lawyers for Ellen Knight, the former senior director for records, access and information security management at the NSC, said that her prepublication review of Bolton’s book had actually cleared it in April.

According to the letter, Knight and her colleagues spent “hundreds of hours over the course of four months reviewing and researching information found in the over 500-page manuscript”.

Initially, they found the manuscript “contained voluminous amounts of classified information and that it would take a significant effort to put it into publishable shape”. But after a four-month consultation described as “regular, intensive and occasionally spirited”, Knight’s team determined that the “heavily revised” manuscript “would disclose no information that would cause harm to our national security”.

But Knight’s lawyers allege that White House officials then conducted their own review of Bolton’s revised manuscript and claimed it still contained classified information, in a process that Knight called “fundamentally flawed”. Knight alleges that the officials then tried “to get her to admit that she and her team had missed something or made a mistake”, which could be used to support their argument to block publication.



a person holding a sign: A copy of The Room Where It Happened outside the White House.


© Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP
A copy of The Room Where It Happened outside the White House.

Knight then declined to sign a declaration saying that Bolton’s book still contained classified information, intended to be filed in the lawsuit against Bolton. Despite efforts from what she described as “a rotating cast of Justice Department and White House attorneys … over the course of five days and a total of 18 hours of meetings”, she refused.

“Ms Knight asked the attorneys how it could be appropriate that a designedly apolitical process had been commandeered by political appointees for a seemingly political purpose. She asked them to explain why they were so insistent on pursuing litigation rather than resolving the potential national security issues through engagement with Ambassador Bolton and her team,” the letter reads. “The attorneys had no answer for her challenges, aside from a rote recitation of the government’s legal position that Ambassador Bolton had violated his contractual obligations by failing to wait for written clearance.”

The letter claims that when Knight “speculated that this litigation was happening ‘because the most powerful man in the world said that it needed to happen’, several registered their agreement with that diagnosis of the situation”.

Knight

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Ex-NSC official who reviewed Bolton book claims political intervention by WH

Washington — A former National Security Council (NSC) official who led the prepublication review of former national security adviser John Bolton’s book for classified information detailed in a new court filing “unprecedented” involvement by political appointees in the White House who “commandeered” what is supposed to be an apolitical process.

A lawyer for Ellen Knight, the former Senior Director for Records Access and Information Security Management at the National Security Council (NSC), made the revelations in a new filing with the federal district court in the District of Columbia, which is considering a legal battle filed by the Trump administration against Bolton over publication of his book, “The Room Where It Happened.” The book was published by Simon & Schuster, a division of ViacomCBS.

In a letter to Bolton’s legal team and the Justice Department, attorney Kenneth Wainstein said Knight raised concerns about the actions of White House and Justice Department lawyers after her review of Bolton’s manuscript had been completed but while the Trump administration considered litigation to block publication, contending it still contained classified information. Bolton’s attorney filed the letter in court on Wednesday.

Knight, Wainstein wrote, warned that a “designedly apolitical process had been commandeered by political appointees for a seemingly political purpose.” She also speculated to Justice Department and White House lawyers that litigation against Bolton was occurring “because the most powerful man in the world said that it needed to happen,'” an assertion some did not dispute, according to Wainstein.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec defended the White House and Justice Department in a statement.

“Ms. Knight’s letter confirms that Mr. Bolton did not receive the appropriate and required written, pre-publication approval, and it is undisputed that the process was not completed at the time Mr. Bolton’s book was released,” she said. “The publication of a memoir by a former National Security Adviser, right after his departure, is an unprecedented action, and it is not surprising that National Security Council staff would pay close attention to ensure that the book does not contain the release of classified information.” 

In the letter, Knight’s attorney detailed the chain of events that began December 30, when prepublication review of Bolton’s manuscript began, through the end of her detail with the NSC, which ended August 20. 

According to Knight, Bolton’s manuscript initially contained “voluminous amounts of classified information and that it would take a significant effort to put it into publishable shape.”

Former White House Nat'l Security Adviser John Bolton Speaks At Duke University Forum
Former national security adviser John Bolton speaks at Duke University on February 17, 2020, in Durham, North Carolina.

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After working closely and speaking extensively with Bolton and his lawyer, Charles Cooper, the prepublication review process concluded on April 27, when it was determined that “all classification concerns had been addressed and that publication of the manuscript, as heavily revised, would disclose no information that would cause harm to our national security.”

Knight told Bolton she had no more suggested changes, but said the process was still ongoing. In late April, Wainstein said Knight contacted lawyers

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White House intervened to halt release of Bolton book with flawed classification review, federal official says

The Trump administration unsuccessfully sued in June to block the release of Bolton’s White House memoir, “The Room Where It Happened,” after a review completed by Knight concluded in April it no longer contained classified information. At that point, however, an untrained Trump appointee undertook a new review and wrongly challenged hundreds of passages leading to the government litigation, Knight asserted.

Objecting that “a designedly apolitical process had been commandeered by political appointees for a seemingly political purpose,” Knight said several government attorneys agreed in a later debriefing when she speculated that the reason the Justice Department was suing Bolton was “because the most powerful man in the world said that it needed to happen,” Wainstein wrote.

Wednesday’s court filing is the latest revelation triggered by Bolton’s disclosures over his 17-month tenure as President Trump’s top national security official, in which he painted a withering portrait of Trump as an “erratic” and “stunningly uninformed” leader who repeatedly sought foreign leaders’ assistance for his personal benefit.

It comes after a June 20 ruling in which U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the District of Columbia denied the Trump administration’s request to halt publication, but said that government might be able to seize Bolton’s profits if the book’s release came without written White House authorization that it contained no classified material.

Bolton “exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability” in further litigation, the judge warned.

All sides are due back in court Thursday for further arguments. It is not clear what impact Knight’s disclosures may have. Lamberth said Bolton should have sued the government instead of“unilaterally” opting out of the review process if he was dissatisfied with it.

Separately, a federal grand jury has issued subpoenas to Bolton’s publisher as part of a Justice Department investigation into whether he criminally mishandled classified information in the book.

In a statement last week, Bolton’s lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, said, “Ambassador Bolton emphatically rejects any claim that he acted improperly, let alone criminally, in connection with the publication of his book, and he will cooperate fully, as he has throughout, with any official inquiry into his conduct.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said, “Mr. Bolton chose to publish a manuscript that four senior National Security officials have stated, under penalty of perjury, contains classified information,” and that “Ms. Knight’s letter confirms that Mr. Bolton did not receive the appropriate and required written, pre-publication approval.” Kupec added, “The publication of a memoir by a former National Security Adviser, right after his departure, is an unprecedented action, and it is not surprising that National Security Council staff would pay close attention to ensure that the book does not contain the release of classified information.”

Deputy Assistant Attorney General David M. Morrell in June acknowledged in court that he knew of no precedent in which high-level officials intervened in classification reviews, but said, however irregular, the process was entirely

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Ex-White House official warns of risks that U.S. election outcome will be disputed

Joe Biden and Donald Trump

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SINGAPORE — Markets need to pay attention to the “high risk” of a disputed U.S. presidential election outcome as dynamics shift ahead of the vote, a former White House trade official said on Tuesday.

Such an election outcome could happen if a candidate deemed to have lost refuses to concede, or if he questions the legitimacy of the results. U.S. President Donald Trump declined to say whether he would accept the election results, which gave rise to concerns of a messy transition of power if Trump loses.

“I think it’s a high risk and I do think markets need to pay attention to it. I’ve detected a real shift in the election dynamics in the last six to eight weeks,” Clete Willems, a former deputy director of the National Economic Council, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”

“In early August, I think the president … felt like he was behind, I think right now he feels like he has the wind at his back for a couple of different reasons,” he said.

I do think, unfortunately, we may not have an outcome immediately, probably going to be litigation that follows…

Clete Willems

former deputy director of the National Economic Council

Willems, now a partner at law firm Akin Gump, explained that there’s a general perception that the U.S. economy is improving and the president has “done well in some of the law and order issues” — and that likely works in Trump’s favor.

In addition, Trump is pressing ahead with nominating a new Supreme Court justice to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg ahead of the November election. That would also help the president’s chances, said Willems, adding that it’s especially so if the nominee is Amy Coney Barrett, who’s someone that excites the conservative base.  

“So, I think this is going to be an incredibly tight race. And I do think, unfortunately, we may not have an outcome immediately, probably going to be litigation that follows and I just hope that we can get this resolved in relative short order so there isn’t uncertainty come January,” he said. “I really do think that this is something we’re going to have to deal with.”

Stimulus negotiations neglected

Republicans and Democrats have fought over the Supreme Court vacancy in the last few days, which looks likely to further stall negotiations for a much-needed fiscal stimulus package, said Willems.

The passing of Ginsburg set up a battle over the Supreme Court which had a 5-4 majority of Republican appointed justices. If Trump’s nominee were to be confirmed, a 6-3 majority could have a huge influence on the shape of the law in the U.S. for a generation to come. 

Economists have said that the U.S. economy, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, needs further support. But negotiations for the next round of stimulus hit an impasse as both sides cannot agree on what programs to fund.

“I think the fiscal package and the

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Defense Department Official Says ‘Victory Garden’ Approach Could Aid AI Effort > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Defense Department News

Americans bolstered the war effort during World War II by planting “victory gardens.” Every citizen’s small contribution to the war effort added up to a lot of support. The same can be done to further the Defense Department’s efforts to advance artificial intelligence, said the acting director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.

“The first step in doing this involves thinking critically about the work that you do,” said Nand Mulchandani yesterday during the opening session at the DOD AI Symposium. “Can you do it more efficiently? Can you rethink it? Could it benefit from automation, analytics or predictive capabilities? Is it ‘data-rich?’ If so, it might be a perfect candidate to build your own AI victory garden around.”

Mulchandani said DOD employees can plant “technological seeds” by learning more about AI, defining areas within their own work environment where AI could help solve problems, developing business strategies to implement AI capabilities, organizing and preserving data, starting an AI project, and sharing lessons learned from their own AI efforts with others across the department.

“The good news is that you’ll have support from the JAIC and the AI community that we’re building across the government, industry and academia,” Mulchandani said.

The JAIC was begun in 2018 to accelerate DOD’s adoption and integration of AI. From the start, Mulchandani said, the JAIC was meant to serve as an AI center of excellence and to provide resources, tools and expertise to the department.

Today, the JAIC is involved in pathfinder technology projects, coordinating with industry and academia on AI, training and education, AI governance and policy, testing and evaluation, international engagement, and AI ethics implementation.

While the mission of the JAIC is broad and far-reaching, Mulchandani said the JAIC alone can’t make AI happen across the department.

“This is a massive effort and is one that the JAIC embraces because we understand that all of these initiatives will help create the conditions for us to achieve victory with AI,” he said. “But we cannot do this alone … no single organization can tackle the challenges of fielding AI on their own — it will take our entire community.”

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IHC chief justice berates interior secy on failure to recover SECP official Sajid Gondal – Pakistan

Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Monday berated the interior secretary, police and capital authorities after they failed to produce Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Joint Director Sajid Gondal, who has been missing since last week.

IHC had directed authorities to recover Gondal, who had gone missing on Thursday night, by today. The court was hearing a petition filed by Gondal’s mother, seeking recovery of her son from “unknown” abductors.

During today’s proceedings, Justice Minallah noted that authorities had been unsuccessful in producing the SECP official before the court and said: “Give court one example of [a case] in which missing citizen was recovered.”

“Someone should accept responsibility for this,” the high court top judge remarked.

He asked interior secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar if the prime minister had been “told what is happening in the federal capital”.

“I am sure you have not told the prime minister about this [case]. As soon as the prime minister gets to know about this, the state’s response would be different,” Justice Minallah said, adding that the court had “complete confidence” in the prime minister.

Khokhar tried to assure the court that a “high-level” investigation was underway.

“A first information report has been lodged and investigation has started,” he said.

“You [should] accept your failure,” the judge remarked, adding that “everyone in the federal capital was feeling insecure”. He observed that the current situation was a product of “misgovernance”.

“We are doing everything we can,” Khokar said.

“Your efforts are not visible,” the judge said. “For the [past] three days, only meetings are being held, the SECP official could not be found.”

“How would you have acted if such a thing happened with a federal minister’s son?” Justice Minallah asked. He directed Khokhar to notify the federal cabinet about the matter. The interior secretary told the court that the prime minister will be informed and the matter will be placed before the federal cabinet in the next meeting.

Justice Minallah said that there were reports that the commission for missing persons had taken notice of Gondal’s “abduction”.

“Has it been established that this is a case of enforced disappearance that the commission took notice?” he asked. He inquired if the commission’s chairperson had found some information that indicated that this was a case of enforced disappearance, adding if the investigators have contacted the missing persons’ commission.

“Is this a case of enforced disappearance?” the judge asked.

“Nothing can be said about this right now,” Khokhar responded. Justice Minallah said that the police’s investigation team should have contacted the chairperson of the commission to ask if the latter has some “personal information”.

The judge also lamented that investigation officers were not properly trained and that there was not even a prosecution branch in Islamabad. What should a constitutional court do in such cases, he asked.

Khokhar urged the court to “let state departments do their job”.

Justice Minallah noted that the court was the “protector of people’s constitutional right” while adding

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Volkswagen shows off ID.4’s interior ahead of official debut

Volkswagen is giving us a glimpse of the ID.4, its first all-electric crossover, before the vehicle’s official reveal later this month. The automaker has released photos of ID.4’s interior, showing its touchscreen displays — yes, it has more than one — dials and an intuitive lighting strip. One of the displays serves as the infotainment center, while the other serves as the dash panel behind the wheel.

The second one appears to be floating, because it’s not attached to the center console. In the photos VW published, that display also shows us what the EV could look like from the outside:

Volkswagen
Volkswagen

The ID.4 will also feature 30-color ambient lighting and a light strip below the windscreen that can signal drivers, say, when the vehicle’s drive system is active and when the car has been locked or unlocked. It will also signal braking prompts and incoming phone calls. Volkswagen has released a photo of its updated fob, as well, which has three buttons: two to lock and unlock the doors and one to open the trunk.

Volkswagen
Volkswagen

Volkswagen’s ID.4 is second electric vehicle based on the automaker’s MEB platform, which will serve as the basis of of all its future EVs, after the ID.3. It’s also the first MEB-based EV to be available outside Europe and will be manufactured and released in China and the US. The company has already started ID.4’s production at its plant in Zwickau, Germany, while its plants in China and the US will start manufacturing the vehicle later this year and in 2022, respectively.

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