December 01, 2017
Key players in the Michael Flynn investigation

WASHINGTON – A list of key players relevant to the special counsel investigation into former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn:

MICHAEL T. FLYNN
A retired U.S. Army Lt. General and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration, Flynn served for less than a month as President Donald Trump's first national security adviser. Flynn was fired in mid-February by Trump for misleading Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his phone discussions with Russia's ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. Flynn's misleading statements about his Russia contacts and his 2016 consulting work for a Turkish client both came under scrutiny by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Flynn admitted Friday to one count of making false statements about his contacts with Kislyak.

SERGEY KISLYAK
As Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Kislyak attended the 2016 Republican national convention in Cleveland, where Trump was nominated as the party's presidential candidate. During the campaign, Kislyak met several Trump aides, including then-Sen. Jeff Sessions and foreign policy adviser Carter Page. After Trump's election, Kislyak spoke by phone several times with Flynn in late December, and reportedly discussed economic sanctions put in place by the Obama administration. The calls were monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies and days after Trump took office in January, Flynn reportedly lied to FBI agents interviewing him about the Kislyak talks. Kislyak was replaced as Russia's ambassador in July.

VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE
After media revelations in mid-January of Flynn's talks with Kislyak, Flynn told Pence that his conversations with the Russian did not address U.S. sanctions against Russia. In several television news show appearances, Pence said that Flynn had assured him that he and Kislyak did not discuss sanctions. The White House later explained Flynn's firing by saying he had lost the trust of both Trump and Pence.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP
After naming Flynn to head the National Security Council in January, Trump reluctantly fired him less than a month later for misleading Michael Pence and other officials about whether he discussed Russia sanctions in post-election phone calls with Kislyak. Trump had known about the misstatements for nearly three weeks, but did not take action until the Washington Post reported Feb. 9 that Flynn and Kislyak had discussed sanctions. FBI Director James Comey later testified that during an Oval Office meeting the day after Flynn's firing, Trump appeared to ask him to end the FBI's inquiry, reportedly saying: "I hope you can let this go." Trump has repeatedly denied the comment or that he tried to interfere in the probe.

JAMES COMEY
The former FBI director, whose firing in May precipitated the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel, has said that Trump asked him during a private Oval Office encounter if he could see his way to letting the Flynn investigation go, and told him that Flynn was a good man. Comey has said he found the request concerning and documented it in an internal memo, summaries of which were later disclosed to members of the media. The White House has denied that the conversation occurred as Comey described.

SALLY YATES
As acting attorney general, Yates and another Justice Department official went to the White House on Jan. 26 to warn White House counsel Don McGahn that Flynn was potentially compromised and vulnerable to blackmail because of discrepancies between the public accounting of the Kislyak conversation and what actually occurred. White House officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, had stated publicly that Flynn had not discussed sanctions with Kislyak but Yates has said she advised McGahn that there were problems with that account. She has said she expected the White House to take action.

MICHAEL G. FLYNN
Michael Flynn Jr., as he is known, accompanied his father on his 2015 trip to Moscow. Flynn Jr. worked for his father's company as part of its 2016 research aimed at developing a criminal case against Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Muslim cleric whose extradition from the U.S. has been sought by Turkey's government. Flynn's son was paid $12,000 for unspecified "administrative support" under the Turkish contract. Flynn Jr. also acted briefly as his father's chief of staff during the transition, but was forced to resign after his frequent tweets on conspiracy theories.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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