October 14, 2019

Trumps Botched Attempt to Hire Gowdy
For 24 hours last week, Trey Gowdy, the former South Carolina congressman best known for leading congressional investigations of Hillary Clinton, was the new face of President Donald Trump's outside legal defense and a symbol of a streamlined effort to respond to a fast-moving impeachment inquiry.A day later, the arrangement fell apart, with lobbying rules prohibiting Gowdy from starting until January, possibly after the inquiry is over. Now, according to two people familiar with events, Gowdy is never expected to join the team. And Trump advisers are back to square one, searching for a different lawyer.How a celebrated announcement quickly ended in disarray offers a rare public glimpse into the internal posturing -- and undercutting of colleagues -- that has been playing out in the West Wing on a daily basis since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry last month. Even as the White House confronts a deepening threat to Trump's presidency, it has struggled to decide how to respond, and who should lead that response.This article is based on interviews with a half-dozen aides and other people close to Trump.The official story, circulated by senior administration aides to a handful of reporters, was that Gowdy, who retired from Congress last year, had agreed to reenter the fray Tuesday. Gowdy's name began circulating on Twitter as the new Trump defender, prompting a number of aides to the president to claim credit privately for the idea of bringing him on board.But by Wednesday evening, aides were distancing themselves from the bungled personnel maneuver, which was made public before all the usual procedural boxes had been checked. Several pointed fingers at Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, suggesting he had botched the rollout.For weeks, aides had been pushing Trump to add another lawyer to the outside team, and Mulvaney had suggested Gowdy, a former prosecutor. Trump needed another voice on television defending him, and Mulvaney wanted someone who understood how Congress works.Some White House officials checked whether Emmet T. Flood, the lawyer who oversaw the administration's response to the investigation by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, would get involved. He was not available.As Mulvaney pushed for Gowdy, a former House colleague and fellow South Carolinian, he swatted away questions from several aides about whether Gowdy would be curtailed in his role by lobbying regulations. Both men assured people that there would be no problem, according to the people briefed on what took place.Not everyone was on board with the idea. Among those generally concerned about someone working specifically on impeachment outside the White House Counsel's Office was the White House counsel himself, Pat Cipollone, according to three people involved in the discussions. Mulvaney and Cipollone have repeatedly been at odds since the impeachment inquiry began, with one disagreement about hiring an additional lawyer taking place in front of Trump, according to a person familiar with the discussion.Trump told the two aides to work it out on their own. A person close to Cipollone denied that there was concern about bringing aboard another outside lawyer.Before Gowdy could be added, however, Trump needed to meet with him. So the two sat down for lunch at the White House on Tuesday; Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, joined them for part of the meal.It went pleasantly enough, people briefed on what took place said, despite Trump's skepticism of Gowdy, who has often tried to distance himself from the president. But by late in the day, Trump signed off on hiring Gowdy. Still, there were procedural issues to be dealt with before he could formally be announced, and some advisers to the president wanted to wait to make the move public. Those advisers were stunned to see the news emerge from the White House on Tuesday night.But for Mulvaney -- who has never been fully empowered in the Trump administration, with "acting" always part of his title -- it was a rare internal victory. And the announcement that a well-known fighter like Gowdy was joining the team hinted that the Trump operation was finally organizing around an impeachment strategy.On Wednesday, Trump's personal lawyers worked on a letter for Gowdy to sign to cement their agreement. Around 8 p.m. they released a statement announcing that Gowdy was formally on board."Trey's command of the law is well known, and his service on Capitol Hill will be a great asset as a member of our team," Trump's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow said in the statement.But within 30 minutes of that statement's going public, Gowdy alerted Trump's lawyers to a problem. His law firm, Nelson Mullins, had concerns that his work would involve lobbying activity. There was a discussion about whether Nelson Mullins could still be used, but a Trump adviser said that decision had been put off until January, when Gowdy's lobbying ban concludes."Trey Gowdy is a terrific guy," Trump told reporters on Thursday, on his way to a campaign rally in Minneapolis, breaking the news himself. "He can't start for another couple of months because of lobbying rules and regulations. So you'll have to ask about that."In the meantime, Trump's team is searching, again, for help.Without Gowdy, who lost his paid contributorship at Fox News after the announcement, and with another of Trump's lawyers, Rudy Giuliani, sidelined from appearing on television for the moment as he is drawn increasingly into the Ukraine matter at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, the president's team remains outgunned in the fight for public opinion.Even Trump -- who for the most part has been operating as a one-man war room, setting the tone of grievance from the top -- appears confused about which of his staff members is in charge.The president, at one point, asked Mulvaney who was leading the effort. Mulvaney, who often invokes Kushner's name around Trump to show that he has a good relationship with the family, passed the buck to Kushner.Kushner, who aides said had been spending many hours on impeachment as part of his broader portfolio of defending the president, has told some people he is running the inquiry response and played down that idea with others.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company
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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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